“Don’t let yourself get caught up in what-ifs. That way madness lies.”
― Ruth Ware, The It Girl
Ruth Ware has crafted another page-turning mystery thriller in her latest novel, The It Girl. This book follows a young woman’s search for answers a decade after her friend’s murder.
Hannah Jones was elated when she got into Oxford. Discovering she had a roommate was a shock, but April Clarke-Cliveden was incredibly bright and vivacious. She could also be vindictive and vicious, but her status as an It Girl pulled people into her orbit whether they wanted to be there or not. April quickly pulls Hannah, Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily close. By the end of their first term, they are inseparable and quick friends. By the end of their first year, April will be dead.
Flash forward a decade and Hannah is trying to move on. She and Will are married and are expecting their first child together. Her world is rocked when she learns that the man convicted of killing April has died in prison. Hannah feels both relief at the news of his death, but that soon changes to anxiety when a journalist pops into her life with evidence that the man convicted of April’s murder may in fact have been innocent. This is troublesome as Hannah’s testimony was critical to putting away the convicted murderer. In order to get closure, Hannah starts reconnecting with her old friends and examining the mystery surrounding April’s death. As Hannah begins to talk to them, she realizes that her friends are hiding secrets possibly related to the murder. Increasingly concerned, Hannah keeps pressing for answers, unwittingly putting herself right in the killer’s path.
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I stumbled upon The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd when scrolling through RiverShare OverDrive looking for my next read. I spend a lot of time commuting for both my work and my fiancé’s job. Having books easily accessible whenever I need them is one of the major reasons that I use the RiverShare OverDrive app available through the Library. (It sure beats having to haul a backpack full of books when a weekend work trip for my partner pops up at the last minute!) Anyway, I found The Innocent Wife on our last road trip and decided to give it a try.
The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd tells of the burgeoning love between Samantha and Dennis. Their love isn’t all sunshine, rainbows, and flowers though, as readers are quick to realize. Samantha lives in England and spends her time outside of work obsessing over the case of Dennis Danson. Dennis is a prison inmate who, over twenty years ago, was arrested and thusly imprisoned for the brutal murder of a young girl in Florida. Dennis’ case is full of mysteries as it comes out that multiple other girls disappeared in the same area around the same time. No one was ever arrested for those disappearances though, nor where any of the missing girls’ bodies found. Many residents of the area believe that Dennis abducted and killed the girls, but that police only had enough evidence to convict him of the murder that landed him in prison.
Dennis is now the subject of a true-crime documentary that has succeeded in grasping the attention of the national media and social media. People online and in person have come to believe that Dennis was wrongly convicted and that they are the only ones who can uncover the truth. Samantha finds herself on these message boards and reaches out to Dennis to talk to him about his case. As the two communicate through letters, Samantha quickly finds herself wooed by his charm and kindness towards her. Uprooting her entire life, Samantha decides to travel to Florida, meet Dennis in person, and begin campaigning for his release.
As soon as Samantha steps out into the balmy Florida heat, she begins to feel uneasy. She continuously pushes her feelings to the back burner in order to put Dennis and the campaign for his release first. After all, everyone would have cold feet meeting someone in person for the first time, right? That would be awkward for anyone. Nevertheless Samantha decides to marry Dennis(NOT A SPOILER, GUYS! It’s called The Innocent Wife after all…). After they are married, major developments happen in Dennis’ case and Samantha is forced to face some uncomfortable realizations about both Dennis and herself. Her confidence in Dennis’ innocence begins to waver, but with the intense media scrutiny and their marriage, she still feels the need to stick by him. Samantha doesn’t know Dennis as well as she thought she did despite her initial unwavering support of his innocence. The more time she spends with Dennis, the more she realizes that she might not want to know the real truth about his past.
Give this book a read and let me know what you think. I had complicated feelings toward Samantha as a main character that almost made me want to read something else. There are also several other characters that both intrigued and slightly appalled me. I’m curious about your opinions.
This book is also available in the following format: