Title: The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
You Love Him. You Trust Him. So Why Are You So Scared?
Twenty years ago, Dennis Danson was arrested and imprisoned for the brutal murder of a young girl. Now he’s the subject of a true-crime documentary that’s whipping up a frenzy online to uncover the truth and free a man who has been wrongly convicted.
A thousand miles away in England, Samantha is obsessed with Dennis’s case. She exchanges letters with him, and is quickly won over by his apparent charm and kindness to her. Soon she has left her old life behind to marry him and campaign for his release.
When the campaign is successful and Dennis is freed, however, Sam begins to discover new details that suggest he may not be quite so innocent after all.
But how do you confront your husband when you don’t want to know the truth?
The winner of the Daily Mail First Novel Competition, Amy Lloyd’s The Innocent Wife is gripping psychological suspense from a brilliant new voice in crime fiction.
The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd is a suspenseful character study of a women who becomes obsessed with then marries a convicted killer who is on death row.
In her thirties, Samantha is a British schoolteacher who is reeling from a bad breakup when she becomes fixated on death row inmate Dennis Danson. After watching an earlier documentary which highlights inconsistencies in his original conviction, she becomes his penpal and their letters quickly jump into romantic territory. After months of writing back and forth Sam decides to travel to Florida to meet Dennis and participate in the filming of the latest documentary extolling his innocence. After her arrival, things move quickly once Dennis proposes to her and they marry while he is still in prison. Dennis is then exonerated and Sam is now living with a husband she barely knows and soon wonders if she can trust.
Sam is insecure with low self esteem which probably explains how easily she becomes devoted to Dennis. Life in the United States is definitely out her comfort zone but she stands by the choices she makes once she arrives. Sam blindly follows her new husband as he makes the rounds granting interviews on TV, newspapers and magazines. After his father dies, Dennis and Sam return to Red River County, FL to make burial arrangements and put his affairs in order.
Sam’s marriage to Dennis does not exactly proceed the way she imagined but she is committed to him. She excuses some of his idiosyncrasies but she cannot help but wonder about the reasons behind some of his decisions. Dennis is definitely charming and initially seems quite taken with her but soon after their arrival in Red River County, Sam begins to see a different side to her husband. However, she continues to overlook these troubling aspects of his personality but doubts do gradually begin to creep in the longer they spend at his family home.
The Innocent Wife is a fast-paced and engrossing novel with a compelling storyline. While Sam is not exactly the most likable character, her choices do reflect her personality and lack of self-worth. The cracks in Dennis’s facade appear fairly quickly and a lot of his behavior is sinister enough to question events in both his past and present. Amy Lloyd does an absolutely brilliant job keeping the truth about Dennis closely under wraps until the novel’s tension-filled conclusion.