The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd is set to be published in January 2018. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an uncorrected proof in exchange for an honest review. The following review does not contain plot spoilers.
The Innocent Wife follows English school teacher Sam as she befriends Dennis Danson, an American imprisoned for a murder she, and many others are convinced he didn’t commit.
The first half of the book, is split between a variation of Sam’s perspective, letters between her and Dennis and transcripts from the documentary made about Dennis’ case. We follow Sam as her relationship with Dennis progresses and she becomes ‘The Innocent Wife’. New evidence emmerges and Dennis is found to be not guilty, following his release as he discovers social media, Sam starts to discover more about her husband and his life before prison.
The pace of the introdutory and plot building chapters ia helped by the mix of letters, this plateaus slightly before the quick- paced, hard to put down conclusion that I hadn’t predicted (I had two theories, both were completly wrong).
The characters of Sam and Dennis were well developed and we’re given enough information about each of their pasts throughout the book to appreciate why each of them has ended up where they are now, as flawed individuals. Sam is a partciularly interesting lead, when we meet her she’s at a particularly low point of her life following a previous breakup, writing to Dennis gives her a renewed sense of purpose and its an interesting moral dilema of whether to route for their romance or not.
Personally I’m not a massive crime/thriller fiction lover but I did enjoy this and found it quite easy to get quickly immersed in. It’s an extremely interesting premise; firstly what would lead someone to write to a man sentaced to die for the murder of a young girl? Secondly how would you deal with being released after you’ve been locked up for over twenty years, falling headfirst into a world of iphones and twitter. Thirdly, how does a marriage built through letters and plexiglass when they’re left to be a ‘normal’ couple.