BOOK REVIEW: The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd

You love him. You trust him. So why are you so scared?
Her obsession started eighteen years after the first documentary… As the story unfolded on screen everything else started to fade away. At the heart of it the boy, too young for the suit he wore in court, blue eyes blinking, confused at the camera, alone and afraid. It hurt her to look at him…barely eighteen years old, alone on Death Row.
You’re in love with a man serving time for a brutal murder on Florida’s Death Row. He’s the subject of a true-crime documentary that’s whipping up  a frenzy online.
You’re convinced he’s innocent, and you’re determined to prove it. You leave your old life behind.
Now you’re married to him. And he’s free, his conviction overturned. But is he so innocent after all?
How do you confront your husband when you don’t want to know the truth?
Publisher: Century
Pages: 377

The Innocent Wife is Amy Lloyd’s debut novel; she was the winner out of 5000 entries for a national novel writing competition. The Innocent Wife shows Amy’s talent and she will clearly be an interesting new voice in this genre.   
Sam first hears about the case of Dennis Danson from her now ex-boyfriend Mark. He shows her a true-crime documentary showing how Dennis was sentenced to the death penalty for the brutal murder of one teenage girl and the disappearance of several others. Just eighteen at the time, Dennis has spent many years on Death Row protesting his innocence and highlighting how little evidence there was. Sam becomes obsessed with Dennis; she begins writing him letters and then leaves her life behind to travel to Florida to meet him in person. Everything moves very quickly, suddenly they are married and Dennis is free which is exactly what Sam wanted but what if your husband doesn’t seem as innocent anymore? What happens if you have made a huge mistake?
If you are a fan of shows such as Making a Murderer then this book is for you. We have all read true-life accounts of women who have married men on death row. Completely sure of their innocence and determined to be part of their life. Amy Lloyd explores this through her character of Sam; she’s very normal, works as a teacher, nothing too extraordinary in her past yet she pursues Dennis and gives up everything for him.
I really enjoyed the way Amy Lloyd interspersed the story-telling with transcripts from interviews, police statements and newspaper articles. It gave the book a realistic edge and provides the reader with a chance to build up their own gradual picture of events. I felt there was a small lull about half way through but I’m so glad that I stuck with it as Amy Lloyd ramps up the pace in the final third of the book, throwing in several plot twists to keep you guessing.

I think The Innocent Wife is an assured and thrilling debut, Amy Lloyd is one to watch out for.

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