Such a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd today. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the opportunity and the review copy.
Author : Amy Lloyd
Title : The Innocent Wife [previously published as Red Run River]
Pages : 356
Publisher : Cornerstone Digital
Publication date :
Twenty years ago, Dennis Danson was arrested and imprisoned for the brutal murder of a young girl in Florida’s Red River County. 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.
But when the campaign is successful and Dennis is freed, 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?
I have always been curious and fascinated by the women who would contact a convicted killer, sentenced for unspeakable crimes, and even go as far as to marry them. What drives someone to do a thing like that? Why would you ever think that sounds like a good idea?
Samantha is lonely, insecure, jealous and has a very low self-esteem. Obsessed with the case of Dennis Danson, she spends a lot of her time online and ends up writing Dennis letters while he’s on death row. They have some kind of connection and Samantha leaves her life, job and family in England behind to travel to Florida and meet Dennis. Eventually they even marry. But when a documentary about Dennis suddenly reveals new evidence, Dennis is released from prison and their fairytale romance is anything but.
Cue this little voice in my head saying “Ha! You didn’t think this one through, did you?”. It’s all fine and dandy when there’s a screen between you and your convicted husband but when he’s suddenly in a room with you and the doubts start creeping in, it’s a whole different kettle of fish.
None of these characters are particularly likeable. I spent many a moment rolling my eyes at Samantha’s actions and behaviour and I had a hard sympathising with her. As for Dennis, I couldn’t put my finger on him at all. Obviously, having been sent to prison at such a young age damaged him but I couldn’t quite figure out if that’s why he acted so strangely or if there was more to it. It was however interesting to see how their marriage worked. Or didn’t.
I actually, rather foolishly perhaps, assumed The Innocent Wife would be completely predictable. Luckily, I was proven wrong and this intriguing story held my attention throughout. The only minor issue I had was with the ending. For the entire book, we have a sustained and suspenseful pace but the last few pages felt rather rushed for me, although it wasn’t what I expected at all so I can’t complain too much! Ultimately, this is more about the question whether Dennis is guilty or not so it didn’t quite have that thrill-a-minute I expect from a psychological thriller. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to more from Amy Lloyd.
The Innocent Wife is available for purchase!
Amy Lloyd studied English and Creative Writing at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
She won the Daily Mail First Novel competition for The Innocent Wife in 2016.
She lives in Cardiff, Wales, with her partner and two cats.