Century | December 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Purchased

Dennis Danson was arrested and imprisoned for the brutal murder of an eleven-year-old girl Holly Michaels. He was barely eighteen years old then and the news had caused an uproar in his small hometown in Red River County, Florida. Dennis's adolescence years were considered an unhappy one. Living with an abusive father and a mother who could barely help herself, his only friend was Howard Harries, whose father is a police officer. Officer Eric Harries doesn't trust Dennis; he thinks he is a bad influence to Howard and whatever bad things Howard did, he would blame it on Dennis's responsibility in leading his son astray. It is also Officer Harries who was the first who interviewed Dennis after Holly's body was found. Whether if he has a personal grudge against Dennis, nobody knows.  

Now an adult and still serving time for murder on Florida's Death Row, Dennis is the subject of a true-crime documentary and while there are people who detest what he had done, there are also supporters who feel he is wrongfully convicted. Samantha, a schoolteacher who lives a thousand miles away in England, is both fascinated and obsessed by Dennis's case. She begins to write him letters, while on the other hand campaigning for his release with the other supporters. And Dennis replies to all her letters; soon their relationship takes on to another level and Samantha decides to leave her old life in England to be with Dennis, even if they are separated by a pane of glass. Soon, Dennis ask Samantha to marry him and she say yes. Thereafter, the campaign is a success and Dennis is released but Samantha begins to notice a new side of him which have her wondering if she has made a terrible mistake in supporting the campaign and marrying him. 

The Innocent Wife is Amy Lloyd’s debut and is the winner of the Daily Mail First Novel Competition. While I'd enjoyed this gripping psychological suspense, I also have a few issues with it. To avoid spoilers, I won't go into the specifics but here are a few issues which bugged me generally. For starters, I don't understand why Samantha is attracted to Dennis, or a convict in that particular? (Sure, he is handsome and charismatic, but...) Whether if Dennis is guilty or not, Samantha gave me the impression as being reckless and compulsive for leaving everything at home to meet a stranger. Even at the point where Samantha is suspicious, she doesn't leave right away. While I understand this is part of and allure of the plot, in reality it is totally a different thing. These aside, it was a compelling read - both character-driven and plot-driven. The ending threw me off a little, but then it wasn't too hard to guess if given much thoughts to it. I'm curious to know what Ms. Lloyd will have in store for her next book. 

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11 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    An interesting premise. I'd want to know whether or not Dennis was guilty, and the way it sounds there are other possibilities.

  2. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Yes, it has an interesting premise and I was sucked into the story.

  3. Jenny Says:

    A very interesting sounding story. I’d be a annoyed with Samantha the whole time I’m afraid.

  4. Kay Says:

    I read about this one and decided I wouldn't like it. Whether he is guilty or not, I don't understand women who write to, fall for, and get involved with men in prison. Just don't understand it. Working to solve their case to prove innocence is one thing, but becoming romantically involved. Nope. Not for me. LOL

  5. Melody Says:

    Jenny - Lol. Apart from Samantha's obsession with Dennis's case, I think she's OK in general.

  6. Melody Says:

    Kay - Totally understand this is not a book for everyone, especially with a theme like that with the female character obsessing with a male convict. I'm with you on your views about working to solve the case to prove innocence though, I think I'm still OK with that but to be romantically involved really boggles my mind.

  7. Lark Says:

    I don't get women who are attracted to inmates on death row either. That would bug me, too.

  8. Iliana Says:

    There always seem to be stories about women who fall in love with men on death row and aside from the story I find the women interesting in themselves. I mean, what makes them think there is a future?! So I'm already intrigued by this one!

  9. It's so interesting--these women who write to and fall in love with prisoners. I can see something like this really happening! I haven't really heard much about this one before, but I will keep it in mind.

  10. The Bookworm Says:

    The Innocent Wife sounds intense and yes, I've seen tv documentaries where women fall in love with prisoners and ones on death row too.

  11. Melody Says:

    Lark- I'm glad to note I'm not alone when it comes to this. :)

    Iliana - It'd be great if there's a book which is focused more on the women's perspectives instead of the men's one.

    Wendy - Yes, I can never understand why they do it, unless they're someone they know and they're trying to prove their innocence.

    Naida - It was an intense read. I can't wait to find out what the author will write next.

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