Friday 5 January 2018

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd @AmyLloydWrites @PenguinUKBooks @ClareJKelly #TheInnocentWife

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 ...

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd is published in Hardback by Century / Penguin and is the author's debut novel. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

There's nothing new about women writing to Death Row prisoners, it's been happening for many years and has always been something that has fascinated me. What is missing in their lives that makes them reach out to a person who has been convicted of a terrible crime? Do they really believe that prisoner is innocent? Do they really have so little self-belief that they think that their only chance of friendship, or love is from a man behind bars?

Amy Lloyd takes this premise in The Innocent Wife and deals with it very well. Samantha is a British school teacher who becomes obsessed with Dennis Danson and his conviction. She watches the documentaries, she joins online discussion forums and she then decides to write to him. His responses are lucid, and intelligent and warm, and it doesn't take long for Sam to fall in love with him.

They meet, they marry. Sam continues to campaign for Dennis' freedom and eventually, his conviction overturned, they begin life as man and wife. This is when Sam begins to have questions. This is when Dennis begins to show other facets of his personality.

Sam is a character who would be very easy to loathe. She's often weak, impulsive and appears blind to certain aspects. Dennis, on the other hand, is a bag of contrasts; sometimes plausible, often charming, but with an edge that slowly and surely shows through. This author has created a story that is fascinating and confidently created. Whilst there were times, especially towards the end that I felt it could turn into the predictable, the author is skilled enough to increase the pace and tension to ensure that the reader is compelled to read on.

The Innocent Wife is a story that will raise questions and could create much debate, it's fresh and exciting and the cast of complex and incredibly flawed characters help to create a pacy and thought-provoking novel.

Amy Lloyd is a new author to watch out for and The Innocent Wife is a recommended read from me. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with for her next novel.

Amy Lloyd studied English and Creative Writing at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Her writing combines her fascination with true crime and her passion for fiction.

The Innocent Wife is her first novel and was borne out of a course module in University

She lives in Cardiff with her partner and two cats.

Follow her on Twitter @AmyLloydWrites 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds so plausible. Always wondered why women are attracted to men like this. Sounds like a good read.