Yet another thrilling blog tour this month! The tour bus has stopped with me, TWG, today as I share my review of debut author, Amy Lloyd’s novel – The Innocent Wife. Big thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, and a huge thank you to Cornerstone (Penguin Books) for the ARC. Here is my review:
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 …
What does TWG think?
I could have sworn I was reading about a real life situation – a lot of the storyline felt extremely real and fresh, as though I had just been watching a documentary on television about something similar. I hadn’t, but that’s what it felt like. Take Samantha writing to an inmate and falling in love, for example. Predictable may be, but believe it or not, that type of thing happens a lot more than people realise. Was I able to relate to that part of the book? No! After all, I have never contacted an inmate, nor have I fallen in love with them via their literary skills. For that reason alone, I found Samantha’s character (to begin with), a little farfetched. Maybe that was because I couldn’t really understand her actions, or maybe it was because I found them to be absolutely bonkers. Either way, Samantha’s action and the notion of finding out whether Dennis was innocent or not, made my curiosity soar. Did he murder that girl? What on Earth possessed Samantha to write and fall in love with a man convicted of murder?
Predictable or not, nothing can fault the authors’ clever way of pulling in her readers with this sort of storyline.
From the get go, Dennis’ character unnerved me – not because of the fact he was convicted of murder, although that didn’t really help, but because there was something about the man who made me want to shout out ‘SAMANTHA, NO!!!!!’. I had absolutely no idea whether he was innocent or not, but due to the way in which the storyline gets going, readers are pointed down the ‘innocent’ route. ‘The Innocent Wife’ has such a complex and dark theme to it, a lot of readers may come up with their own interpretation of certain events. I know I did. Some readers may also find themselves going against the authors’ storyline in favour of what they think happened. Amy Lloyd has given readers the opportunity to read between the lines and see parts of the storyline in a completely different way to what she had originally intended – and probably without realising it. Personally, I loved how the bare bones of the story were crafted, yet the in-depth situations were sporadic with information, allowing readers minds to fill the gaps with their subconscious. How clever is that?
The further I got into the book, the more I became hooked on Samantha’s situation. My opinion of her did end up changing, but not by much. I couldn’t empathise with her a lot due to the choices she voluntarily made (not that I believed she deserved certain things of course), but because it became crystal clear that she hadn’t thought about her decision properly and now she was paying the price.
Being totally honest, there were parts of the storyline which made me roll my eyes because of how farfetched it was. However, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I was going to at the start. I was pleasantly surprised by the dark and psychologically twisted themes throughout the entire book, as they made for such interesting and intense reading.
A cleverly written, dark and twisted tale which will leave you questioning your abilities to think logically.