Book Review: The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd

Samantha lives a quiet and lonely life in England. Bored with her job as a schoolteacher and disillusioned with love after a messy break-up, she develops an obsession with US convict Dennis Danson, currently on Death Row for the brutal murder of a child in Florida’s Red River county. Handsome and charismatic, he claims he is innocent, and has a huge following of those who believe him. Caught up in the maelstrom, Sam begins a letter correspondence with him and eventually they fall in love. She decides to travel to the US to meet him in prison, and once there her old life fades into the past. They marry, and she becomes embroiled in the campaign for his release.

It happens sooner than she anticipates, when a man confesses to the killing, and Dennis is exonerated. Sam is both nervous and excited in equal measures, but life with Dennis isn’t exactly what she expected it to be.

After Dennis’ estranged Dad commits suicide, the newly-married couple escape from the media storm surrounding his release and return to his childhood home in Red River, under the pretence of clearing the house. But Dennis appears to have unfinished business in the town..

Upon arrival, Sam realises she is out of her depth, and she desperately clings to the belief that Dennis is the man she loves even as doubt and distrust cloud her brain.

I really enjoyed this book, despite a strong dislike for the characters. Sam has major self-esteem issues, and idolises Dennis despite his mood swings and cruelty. There were quite a few moments in the book when I could have reached into the page and shook some sense into her. Dennis is a master of manipulation, and she is very malleable. The relationship between them is definitely one of control, with Dennis having the upper hand at every turn.

A dark psychological thriller of my favourite kind, with a sinister atmosphere. I would highly recommend it.

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