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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sweet Lamb of Heaven: A Novel

This was one of the hot books of this spring, so I picked it up from the library and I swear to you that I whipped through it faster than you can breathe. Seriously -- two days. It was that good. This is Lydia Millet's Sweet Lamb of Heaven.

A woman decides to leave her neglectful husband with the child he didn't want. He only married her for her family money, which wasn't even that much to begin with. It's fine -- ever since her daughter's birth, she's been hearing voices. Sometimes she feels like she's going crazy, but how much of it is her marriage? She leaves him, only to have him hunt her down in her various incarnations. She's done a good job of hiding from him for a while now, until she suddenly hears about his new political campaign. She knows he's coming for her, and he does. He will stop at nothing to find her and bring her back to be a political prop. He says he will let her go when he's finished -- but will he ever really let her go? Or will her life be in danger, because it's better, politically, to be a widower than a divorcee?

Like I said, I whipped through these pages like high-end butter. It was fascinating the way that Millet wove her story with the protagonist such a strong, yet broken, woman. Even as the story went deep into her relationship with the voices, never once did I think that our protagonist was crazy; in fact, I couldn't wait to keep reading to figure out the explanation as to why these voices occurred, because it was clear to me that she was *sane*. I loved her as a character; so rounded and developed yet with such a full character arc in the story, and I adored her daughter as well. She was such a three-dimensional character that added to the story.

I have been attracted lately to stories of sociopaths, and the husband was absolutely one. Throughout this story I felt like I was going crazy in the same sense that our protagonist was. How was he hearing her conversations, and how did he know what was actually going on? Where was the bug, and where would she be safe? This book gripped me tightly and wouldn't let me go, and I found myself spiraling with the character. Millet writes such strong prose coupled with strong woman characters, and I can't wait to go back to pick up more of her work.

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