Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Innocent Wife

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd
Hanover Square Press: 3/6/18
eBook review copy: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 9781335952400

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd is a so-so thriller where a lonely woman falls in love with an imprisoned killer.

Samantha (Sam), 31, is a British school teacher who became obsessed with an old true crime documentary called "Framing the Truth: The Murder of Holly Michaels." The man convicted for the murder is Dennis Danson. He was eighteen at the time of his conviction and has been on death row in Florida's Altoona Prison for twenty years. Sam frequents message boards and online sights about his case and his innocence before she takes the next step and writes to him. The two exchange letters and fall in love.

Sam, who ardently believes in his innocence, flies to to the US to meet him, fight for his freedom, and perhaps help with the new documentary being filmed about his case. Dennis proposes to her and the two are married in the prison. When his conviction is overturned and Dennis is released to a media frenzy, Sam is full of doubt and scared that she made a mistake. The couple are now living together, but share no intimacy and Dennis doesn't seem to be who she thought he was, unless it is just her own self-doubt. Adding to the mix is Carrie, the director of the first film and who is a friend of Dennis and working on the second documentary.

I'm conflicted on my feelings for this book. At first it held my attention, then it became... different. Believing that a lonely, emotionally insecure woman could write letters to and fall in love with a convicted killer is doable. Then they declare their love for each other and marry, huh, okay, but with raised eyebrows. He is then released from prison and their relationship is awkward. Well, duh, what exactly did you expect?  And you have to accept this premise because the rest of the story builds on it. The story is presented with excerpts from a biography of Danson that portrays his troubled past. Sam also shares a bit of her past, which helps explain some of her insecurities. As the story continued, it became boring and felt too contrived. I had no empathy for Sam. Finally, I felt early on that the hefty number of pages between action was daunting.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Hanover Square Press.

No comments: