The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
L. M. Montgomery is best known for her Anne of Green Gables books. My favorite of these is Rila of Ingleside. If you never made it that far in the series, make the effort. You can even read the Kindle version for free.
This post, however, is about The Blue Castle, which is far and away my favorite Montgomery book. Valancy Stirling lives a dreary life, unloved even by her mother, until the day she learns a fatal heart condition leaves her only a year to live. Realizing she has never lived, she embarks on a personal journey. She is no longer afraid. After shocking all her family by suddenly saying what she's been thinking all her 29 years, she leaves them completely dumbfounded when she hires herself out to care for a dying disgraced young woman. While there, she comes to know Barney Snaith as more than the resident ne'er-do-well.
Is it predictable? Absolutely. Even the twist at the end is entirely expected. Would many people today be disappointed that Valancy's courageous struggle to be independent of her family includes a desire for marriage? Probably, but we must remember it was first published in 1926. Many of Valancy's actions were quite unladylike at that time.
In high school and college, I read this book about once a year. I even tried to convince Kansas Dad to name one of our children Valancy. (He refused.) I read it one day recently (a day in which I spent a great many hours in a waiting room) and found it as lovely as ever.