A Love Story on Death Row
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A former prison inmate and his wife share the personal letters they exchanged during his incarceration, offering insight into their remarkable, if slightly obsessive relationship.

Landscape architect Davis began writing to Echols (Life After Death, 2012) in 1996 after seeing a documentary about the murder case that landed him on death row. She soon found herself drawn to not only Echols’ story, but also the man himself. The pair wrote to each other several times per week. They talked about everything from “chastity belts [and] whirling dervishes” to “17-year locusts and Paganini.” Within just a few short months, Davis and Echols had fallen in love despite the fact neither one of them knew what the other looked like. After a brief summer visit, the profound spiritual and emotional connection deepened to include a physical component that surprised both with its intensity. Speaking of her desire for Echols, Davis writes, “[m]y body is alive with it…it is agony. Echols in turn reveals his wish to have Davis with him, “flesh against flesh [with] nothing to separate us.” Execution and the ups and downs of the appeals process hung over the pair like a shadow, yet Davis and Echols still managed to create an elaborate world of "magickal" possibility from which they drew strength. Believing that they were going to “build a history that stretch[ed] to infinity,” they married in 1999. The fight to keep their love, hopes and dreams alive continued until Echols was finally released in 2011. Then the couple began a new struggle to lead a normal life free from the barriers and surveillance that had formerly defined their relationship.

Reconstructed from thousands of letters the pair exchanged over 16 years, this tender and unusual narrative offers a rare, courageously intimate view of a love that should never have survived and yet did.

Pub Date: June 17th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-399-16619-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014


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