With Love from the Inside by Angela Pisel
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release date: August 9, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“Grace Bradshaw knows the exact minute she will die. On death row for murdering her infant son, her last breath will be taken on February 15 at 12:01 a.m. Eleven years, five months, and twenty-seven days separate her from the last time she heard her precious daughter’s voice and the final moment she’d heard anyone call her Mom. Out of appeals, she can focus on only one thing—reconnecting with her daughter and making sure she knows the truth.
Secrets lurk behind Sophie Logan’s big house and even bigger bank account. Every day when she kisses her husband good-bye, she worries her fabricated life is about to come crumbling down. No one knows the unforgivable things her mother did to tear her family apart—not her husband, who is a prominent plastic surgeon, or her “synthetic” friends who live in her upscale neighborhood.
Grace’s looming execution date forces Sophie to revisit the traumatic events that haunted her childhood. When she returns to her hometown, she discovers new evidence about her baby brother William’s death seventeen years ago—proof that might set her mother free but shatter her marriage forever.
Sophie must quickly decide if her mother is the monster the prosecutor made her out to be or the loving mother she remembers—the one who painted her toenails glittery pink and plastered Post-it notes with inspiring quotes (“100 percent failure rate if you don’t try”) all over Sophie’s bathroom mirror—before their time runs out.”
This book was absolutely heartbreaking in so many ways. I won’t spoil the book, but I will say that the characters and the situations they’re put in are extraordinary. I can’t even imagine what I would do if my mother were on death row. Sophie has lost her whole family in one way or another, and the choices she makes to cope with that are so sad. Grace’s situation is also difficult, with no one to support her or love her or visit her for years, and with her execution date looming. Despite the absolutely depressing nature of this book, I really loved reading it.
Why? Well, first, I loved how well-rounded the characters were. From Grace and Sophie to Grace’s fellow death-row inmates to Sophie’s housewife friends, every character seemed to have dimension. No one was all good or all bad, which is so important in a book like this. I also loved the way the story was told, alternating between Grace’s and Sophie’s perspectives, giving us flashes of each of their states of mind as well as moving the story forward from each woman’s point of view.
This book is about a death row inmate and her daughter, yes, but it’s also about forgiveness, friendship, and family. It’s about the difference between justice and the factual truth. In short, it’s about life, death, and everything in between.
I really enjoyed reading this and gave it four stars. It isn’t exactly a light summer read, but it’s thought-provoking and well-written, and definitely worth a read.
*ARC from NetGalley