Review: The Innocent Wife by Amy Llyod

Innocent WifeTwenty 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 …

But how do you confront your husband when you don’t want to know the truth?


I think we have all heard the stories and people corresponding with inmates sort of like pen pals. According to reports, there are hundreds of women who correspond with death row inmates. Some end up establishing a relationship despite the restrictiveness of their engagement/contact. Serial Killers like Ted Bundy reportedly had a lot of fan mail from female groupies. This might sound a bit odd given the fact that he killed many women. However, he even got married while awaiting trial. I have always been curious about these relationships and this is what drew me to this book. I was curious about Sam and Denis.

The story begins with Denis behind bars serving time for murder. He is also suspected to be behind the disappearance of a number of women. Sam is a teacher who gets pulled into Denis’ story and soon starts corresponding with him. Readers get to see the romance blossoming. I liked the fact that the author shared the letters between the two. It sort of let us in to their world and it made their romance feel real and normal despite the circumstances.

The story is mainly narrated through Sam’s POV. We get to learn about her life after meeting Dennis and the way it changed especially once he was freed. I did sympathize with Sam at some point. Her longings, disappointments, happiness all came alive through the pages. However, I can’t say that I supported her decisions. The author did a fantastic job though in developing this character such that I might not have understood why she did most stuff but I did get why that stuff seemed normal to her.  I can’t say the same for Dennis though.

This was an entertaining read. As I have already mentioned, the relationship between the two was interesting to read about especially at the beginning of the story. My only issue with this story was that there were sections that dragged a bit. I found my interesting waning off at some point and then suddenly, there was a lot going on towards the end. However, despite the pacing being a bit up and down, I enjoyed reading this book and certainly liked the premise. I also liked the creepy vibe at the end of the narrative.

34 thoughts on “Review: The Innocent Wife by Amy Llyod

  1. What an original and promising starting point. I guess we would make more rational decisions and see a bit more clearly but it usually is when you see things from a distance, just like in real life. It reminds me a bit of Daisy in Chains which was also a great read about someone in prison who might be guilty, or not. Great review Diana.

    1. Thanks Inge 🙂

      I have just read the blurb for Daisy in Chains on goodreads. It sounds great and the premise is similar to this one in a way. I think i’d enjoy that one too Thanks for mentioning it.

  2. Oh wow, I hadn’t heard of this one before, but how fascinating! I love that the author was able to make Sam come alive for you, even if you didn’t always stand with her decisions. That’s the best kind of character development 🙂 I’m really glad you enjoyed this overall! Great review.

    1. I agree with you, Kaila, about Good character development. Sam’s character was so well developed so it was easy to understand her even though I didn’t agree with her. Thank you 🙂

  3. I can’t understand why anyone would correspond with a death row inmate, but so many do! Sam did make some poor decisions for sure. Great review Diana!

    1. I have also never really understood it. I don’t know if they believe that the convicts are innocent or there is some kind of special attraction to inmates. It is really hard to understand though in this case, the author helps readers understand why Sam did it.

      Thanks Holly.

    1. Thank you, Annie. I think the premise is what worked out best for me since I have never read a similar book with inmate-non-inmate correspondence/relationship.

  4. Great review, Diana. I’ve seen the cover and it looks intriguing. And as always, I enjoy reading your perspective on a book.

    1. The prison romance angle is what made this an interesting read for me despite the pacing. I have always been curious about these women too. I just don’t understand the appeal.

  5. Excellent review Diana! I am always curious why women would want to waste time writing letters or getting into relationships with inmates. I didn’t realize this book is about that. I have seen the cover floating around. It’s definitely an interesting topic to explore. That’s too bad that it falls short of expectations. I’m glad you gave it a chance and read it anyway.

    1. Thanks Jasmine. The pacing wasn’t the best but the book definitely was interesting. Like you, I have always been curious about these women who fall for inmates. Reading this book allowed me to gain some perspective into the subject 🙂

  6. Sounds interesting. I’ve wondered about inmates who marry people on the outside, and what draws women to befriend and even marry men locked up for killing women.

    Too bad the book wanes, and that the pacing isn’t great. I’m glad it seems to have quelled your curiosity about the subject though. 😊

    1. It helped gain some perspective into the issue. Like you, I have always asked myself questions about women who are attracted to inmates. Those charged with the most violent crimes seem to have even more bigger fan bases. This book helped me get some insight on how this happens.

      Thanks you 🙂

  7. Wow! I can’t say I want to read this one because it kind of freaks me out, but it sounds interesting! It would probably have me on the edge. I’m sorry it wasn’t as fast paced as you would like. Great review, though!

    1. Thank you 🙂 I think my interest in the subject matter made me enjoy the book even though I would have preferred a more balanced pacing.

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