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Inside These Walls [Kindle Edition]

Rebecca Coleman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

There is only one day, and I live it over and over…

For Clara Mattingly, routine is the key to enduring the endless weeks, months and years of a life sentence in a women's prison. The convicted murderer never looks back at who she once was—a shy young art student whose life took a sudden tragic turn. And she allows herself no hope for a better future. Survival is a day-to-day game. But when a surprise visitor shows up one day, Clara finds that in an instant everything has changed. Now she must account for the life she has led—its beauty as well as its brutality—and face the truth behind the terrible secret she has kept to herself all these years.

Critically acclaimed author Rebecca Coleman brings you the haunting story of a woman's deepest passions, darkest regrets and her unforgettable and emotional journey toward redemption.

Product Details

  • File Size: 516 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (January 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DSX3O72
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,384 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Read! January 2, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Rebecca Coleman’s latest release, Inside These Walls, is an incredibly compelling and fascinating character driven novel. Narrated in first person by protagonist Clara Mattingly, this insightful story is a candid portrayal of a life gone tragically wrong.

When Inside These Walls first opens, Clara has served 25 years of a life sentence for murder. Although a movie has been made about the crimes and despite numerous media requests, she has never granted a single interview. An unexpected visitor is the impetus behind her decision to cooperate with Karen Shepard, the journalist who is writing a memoir about Clara’s long ago boyfriend and partner in crime Ricky Rowan. Clara’s past is slowly exposed through her letters to Karen and her own unflinchingly honest reflections. She takes full responsibility for her past mistakes but some truths are revealed a little too late and a relationship Clara has grown to cherish is threatened.

Clara is a reliable narrator and genuinely likable character. Her time in prison has not been easy but she has carved out a comfortable routine for herself. Clara does not dwell on the past nor does she examine long ago memories that are best forgotten. But once she has no choice but to recall her painful past, she does so with surprising candor. Clara remembers Ricky with fondness and despite how badly her life with him ended, she has no regrets about their relationship.

Completely captivating from beginning to end, Inside These Walls is a beautifully written story of love, forgiveness and ultimately, redemption. Rebecca Coleman broaches difficult topics with sensitivity and the resulting story is realistic, gritty and occasionally, heartbreaking. The novel’s ending is low-key and rather anticlimactic yet intensely satisfying.

I received a complimentary copy for review.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's About the Journey More than the Ending January 15, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story begins after Clara has been in prison 25 years for murder. She is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for murder. She seems to be a pleasant woman who cares for her blind cell mate and is often beat up by other prisoners. She is an artist and her job in the prison is to recreate drawings in braille. Clara has never granted interviews, but she decides to do so after she gets an unexpected visitor. It is through her letters and interviews that we learn about Clara's life outside the walls and about the murders.

I felt like I came to know Clara well. She was not a one-dimensional character. That is, she was not all good nor was she all bad. On occasion, I thought her behavior was highly inappropriate or not the best way to handle a problem. That is true of everyone of course and made her seem more human.

What I liked best were a couple of unanticipated twists in the last half of the book. They were not those kind of twists that make you roll your eyes. They involved information that Clara had not known previously but helped explain behaviors of others.

I debated giving this book 4 or 5 stars. I like it a lot, but it did not grab me as emotionally as her previous book, "The Kingdom of Childhood," did. Perhaps that is because her past, the important part of the story, was revealed through letters and interviews rather in real time. Nonetheless, I really do recommend reading this novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very good read of a woman doing life in prison March 26, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Quick read about a woman in prison for murder with no chance of parole. As the story unravels, though, we learn more about her daily life "inside These Walls", and through letters, and memories of what actually lead her to her crime, it is not all as black and white as it seems. It all comes out 25 years after the crime is committed, due the curiosity of an unexpected visitor. She accepted her punishment, and refused to do interviews all this time, despite a TV movie and pleadings for interviews, but this one visitor leads it all to unravel. If you like the book or Netflix "Orange is the New Black", I think you will like it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, poignant, riveting read February 20, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Rebecca Coleman’s INSIDE THESE WALLS is absorbing, compelling, incredibly detailed and very well-drawn. It was the sort of story that prompted me to email the author immediately after finishing, so eager was I to express my crazy mixed bag of emotions at everything that came to pass.

Clara is a character you don’t feel you should like (being a convicted killer and all), but we get the sense there’s more to her story than court documents and a sensational Lifetime movie have shown. She’s so empathetic, quiet and introspective that we bond with her immediately, reliving her ill-fated romance with Ricky and getting the saga of their inevitable downfall in bits and pieces. As Clara’s tale unravels, it’s hard not to feel incredibly sad for her. As the story’s narrator, she guides us through the truths and half-truths and lies as she retreads old territory, and I found myself feeling . . . very protective of her.

Given the novel takes place within a prison, it would be easy to tire of Clara’s pinhole world — but Coleman takes us so deeply into the mind and heart of her narrator, I never felt bored or claustrophobic. Quite the opposite, in fact. Through her memories and confessional chats with a friendly Catholic priest, we’re privy to such a complicated, emotional back story that I had to keep reminding myself of all that actually came to pass.

This book was awesome. Up-til-3-a.m. awesome.

Fans of contemporary fiction and prison dramas as well as bold, complicated characters will find much to love in Coleman’s latest. Clara isn’t a character I’ll soon forget, and I love that INSIDE THESE WALLS drops us at the beginning of a new era. I was very satisfied with the ending . . . and only wish I could have stayed with Clara a little longer.
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More About the Author

Rebecca Coleman is the author of "The Kingdom of Childhood," an ABNA 2010 semifinalist. She received her B.A. in English literature from the University of Maryland at College Park and speaks to writers' groups on the subjects of creative writing and publishing. A native New Yorker, she now lives and works near Washington, D.C. Visit her at

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