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Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row [NOOK Book]

Overview

From one of the greatest legal injustices of our time sprang one of the most unlikely—and unforgettable—love stories. Damien Echols was just eighteen years old when he was condemned to death for a crime he didn’t commit. His case—that of the infamous “West Memphis Three”—gained notoriety after a documentary, Paradise Lost, exposed the biased nature of the trial and Echols as the precocious, charming—and tragic—figure at its center. Lorri Davis was a landscape architect living in New York City when she ...
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Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row

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Overview

From one of the greatest legal injustices of our time sprang one of the most unlikely—and unforgettable—love stories. Damien Echols was just eighteen years old when he was condemned to death for a crime he didn’t commit. His case—that of the infamous “West Memphis Three”—gained notoriety after a documentary, Paradise Lost, exposed the biased nature of the trial and Echols as the precocious, charming—and tragic—figure at its center. Lorri Davis was a landscape architect living in New York City when she surreptitiously wandered into a showing of the film, and she left forever changed. She, too, was from the South, accustomed to being the outsider in a small town. She saw much of herself in Echols, understood how he could easily have been swept up in a witch hunt, and she couldn’t get him out of her head. So she wrote him a letter—and when it arrived in Echols’s penitentiary cell in April 1996, hers were some of the first kind words of support he heard.

Over the course of a remarkable sixteen-year correspondence, Echols and Davis grew to know each other, fall in love, and marry—all without ever being able to touch each other freely or be alone together. In Yours for Eternity, their extraordinary letters provide a singular portrait of their marriage, from the first, heady days of discovery to the final, painful months before Echols’s release. Through postscripts and footnotes, Echols and Davis describe how they overcame the enormous challenges and heartbreaks throughout the years—personal setbacks, legal complications, and much more. Yours for Eternity reveals a relationship unfolding in the most exceptional of circumstances. Powerful and incredibly intimate, it is a modern-day love story for the ages.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Damien Echols spent eighteen of his first thirty-six years locked down in on Arkansas' death row, after being wrongly convicted of the mutilation and murder of three young boys. After more than a decade of legal appeals and forensic revelations, he was finally released in 2011 with the other members of the so-called "West Memphis Three." The following year, he wrote an unghosted autobiography Life After Death about his early life and long ideal. In this book, he and the wife who met and married him while he was death row share the story of the 16-year correspondence that kept him alive, in love, and hopeful.

Library Journal
06/15/2014
This is both a universal and a wildly unconventional love story told through letters. Echols (Life After Death), of the West Memphis Three—three teens convicted of the early 1990s murders of three boys in West Mempis, AR—was a death-row inmate before being released after serving 18 years for that wrongful murder conviction. In addition to legal representation and celebrity advocacy, Davis, a New York landscape architect, was a key participant in this endeavor. Davis married Echols in 1999, while he was in prison, about three years after viewing a documentary about the case. These letters recount the progress of their relationship. The book's arrangement is chronological, covering 1996–2011, with updated postscripts. Focused on their highly idealized feelings for each other, the letters also provide insights into Davis's background and personality, the overwhelming difficulties of overturning such a conviction, and the frustrations of nurturing a relationship under the conditions of incarceration. The missives tend to be short, intimate, and poetically written. VERDICT As a compilation of letters that supplement other works on this case, this book will appeal mainly to readers seeking a more personal perspective. Recommended for its vivid portrayal of an extraordinarily successful prison romance. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/13.]—Antoinette Brinkman, formerly with Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville
Publishers Weekly
04/28/2014
Echols (Life After Death) was on death row in Arkansas in 1996 when he began to correspond with Davis, a landscape architect living in New York City. Over the next 16 years, they wrote each other thousands of letters. The letters trace the evolution of their relationship through friendship to romance and marriage, and also address the complexities of Echols’s appeals. Echols had been convicted for the murder of three young boys in West Memphis in 1993, and the case of the “West Memphis Three” became a cause célèbre, generating documentary films and books. Forensic evidence and claims of jury tampering led to the release of all three men in 2011. Echols and Davis are both competent writers (and postscripts and footnotes add some context to the correspondence); however, as intelligent and passionate as the lovers are, there’s little for a reader not already engaged with Echols’s odyssey. In the end, it’s the quotidian details that leave the greatest impression: Echols’s description of his Buddhist practice, or Davis’s story of how she smuggled fruit into prison via a string tied to her underwear. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Agency. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-07
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101634837
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/17/2014
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 34,851
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

Damien Echols

DAMIEN ECHOLS and LORRI DAVIS met in 1996, and were married in a Buddhist ceremony at Tucker Maximum Security Unit in Arkansas in 1999. Echols spent nearly eighteen years on death row until his release in 2011. He is the author of the New York Times–bestselling memoir Life After Death. For more than a decade, Davis spearheaded a full-time effort toward her husband’s release from prison, which encompassed all aspects of the legal case and forensic investigation. She and Echols, who together produced the documentary West of Memphis, live in New York.
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Read an Excerpt

***This excerpt is from an advance corrected proof***

Copyright © 2014 Damien Echols Publishing

authors’ note

When we began our journey together, now nearly twenty years ago, we hadn’t a clue what was in store for us. A young man on death row in Arkansas caught up in a terrible sequence of events and wrongful convictions. A woman in New York City who loved to go to the movies. Fate drew us inexplicably together—and we’ve spent the rest of our lives trying to explain the hows and whys of falling in love and building a life. There’s no easy answer for why we wrote those first letters— why a young, successful woman writes a letter to a man in prison—and most especially why we kept on writing those letters. Except that the more we helped each other deal with pain and fear, the greater our hope for freedom and joy grew. There were terribly dark days, months, and years, and yet we survived—as many married people do, regardless of their circumstances. The moments of ecstasy, romance, humor, and companionship burned brighter for the obstacles we faced. Again, like any married couple has faced.

We wrote thousands and thousands of letters to each other between 1996 and 2011, when Damien was released. Sometimes five or six a day. It was a daunting task to reread and select the ones that best told our story, not to mention the occasional letter that we came across unopened—either one of us must have saved it to read later, and received a second or third letter that day and forgotten about it. We spoke too often to keep track. We didn’t always date the letters, so we’ve gone by postmarks here rather than the day they were written, and some span the course of several days before they were mailed. We have hundreds of mailmen to thank for keeping our love alive, and for bringing us both the words we needed to live by every day.

—Lorri Davis and

Damien Echols

April 1996

Dear Damien,

I really wanted to wait until you had a chance to reply to my letter (if you wanted to) before I bombarded you with another, but I have so many thoughts running through my head—I have decided to write them all down.

By the way—if I am encroaching on your privacy in any way— and you don’t want me to write—please don’t hesitate to let me know. Like I have mentioned already a few times—I don’t know why I feel compelled to have contact with you—I just do—so I will write until you tell me to stop. I found an article in the New Yorker that you might find interesting—I don’t know what your legal situation is—the film doesn’t go into much detail about your appeal—what is happening? I have a friend whose father knows Kevin Doyle—I would like to make your case apparent to him—but only with your permission. I don’t even know what would happen—but I figure the more people who know—the more will be done. I know the movie will help when it comes out—but in the meantime I will tell everyone I know about you.

How far away from West Memphis is Tucker? Do you get many visitors?

In the movie, your family and girlfriend (wife?)—that wasn’t clear—she says you asked her to marry you—but that’s all—they came across as very caring, compassionate people. I hope you have a lot of support from them. I hope you get to see your son. How long have you been incarcerated? What are your days like—do you share a cell with someone? Please excuse my ignorance, I just want a semblance of what your life is presently.

I hope it doesn’t freak you out to have someone that you don’t even know mooning over you so much. It kind of freaks me out that this is happening to me. I cry about it a lot. I am fortunate enough to have a job that allows me to listen to music and draw all day—but since I have become “acquainted” with you it’s difficult—because I think about your situation all the time. I’m trying to figure out a positive way to deal with it. If I don’t—well, I already have, right? I honestly believe that undying hope can do wonders in this world. Damien, I can’t say that I believe in “God”; but something has brought you into my life, and as daunting as it is to me sometimes, I know it’s a good thing.

I hope with all my heart you are O.K.

I am sending you a photograph of the place Father Damien had his colony on the island of Molokai. Isn’t it beautiful? Such a beautiful place for such misery at one time.

The original King Kong was filmed on that rock in the center of the photograph.

That dark figure to the right is me. I was a little reluctant to send you a photograph of me—but I suppose it is only fair.

The graveyard has an empty grave where Father Damien was buried, but his body was eventually shipped back to Belgium.

O.K. I’ll stop for now.

As I said before and will continue to say—let me know if I can send anything in particular to you. If you don’t tell me I’m going to start sending you Danielle Steel novels and really nasty-smelling aftershave and sardines in mustard sauce, and pieces of red string that I find on the street, and last but certainly not least—a large pod of some sort.

I will, too.

Bye,

Lorri

April 1996

Dear Lorri,

Believe me, I in no way think that my privacy is being invaded and I do not mind being “bombarded with letters.” I just sent off another letter to you a couple days ago, which you should have gotten right before this one. I can’t remember if I enclosed those articles I was telling you about or not, so if I forgot, just remind me, and I’ll get them out to you.

Thank you for the article from the New Yorker. I had read it a couple days before; I have a subscription to the New Yorker. I love the little cartoons they print.

I certainly don’t mind you making my case known to Kevin Doyle. I would not object to anything that could possibly help.

Yes, I’m sure the film will convince a lot of people in other states of my innocence, but what worries me is whether or not the people of Arkansas will pay attention. They refuse to look at the evidence and they refuse to listen to reason. All they want is to see somebody die for those crimes and a “freak” like me is just as good as anyone. The whole attitude scares the hell out of me.

Thank you for telling everyone about me. Maybe if everyone were to take as big an interest as you have things could happen a lot faster. It just seems that most people just don’t care, or they’re so close-minded they won’t even try to see the truth.

How far is West Memphis from Tucker? Exactly 147 miles. Yes, I usually have a visitor every week. My family and friends have really pulled together and they try to stay pretty close to me. They’ve been very supportive. No, unfortunately, I don’t get to see my son. He’ll be three years old this year, and I haven’t seen him since he was about 5 months. My girlfriend moved to Arizona and took him with her. I haven’t seen or heard from either of them since the trial. She’s gone on with her life. I really can’t blame her, I guess, since I’ve been locked up 3 years now. Maybe it’s for the best, but it still hurts like hell.

My life? Well, I have my own cell, which I spend 22 hours a day inside of. I’m allowed to go outside for 2 hours a day, but I usually don’t, because I’m not allowed around any of the other prisoners, and when you do go out, you just stand in a fenced square like a dog kennel and bake in the sun. I spend most of my time just lying on the bed listening to the radio and reading. There’s absolutely nothing to do, but for some reason it still seems like time goes by incredibly fast. It’s kind of hard to believe I’ve been here this long. It doesn’t seem like it.

No, I don’t believe in Christianity’s version of God, either, but from the very beginning of this situation, I’ve felt that there had to be a purpose for all of this. Now I just have to figure out what the purpose is, so I can go home. J Maybe this is just a way to pay off some karma I’ve built up in the past or something.

Thank you for the picture. Yes, it is beautiful. I hope to one day be able to go there for myself.

Why are you afraid for me to see what you look like? I’m not so shallow as to judge you by your physical appearance. Just relax and be natural. Trust me, we’ll get along great.

I’m not sure that I’m in need of any Danielle Steel novels, nasty-smelling aftershave, bits of red string, or a pod of some sort, though I do appreciate the gesture. J I can only have things made of paper. Remember, I am a dangerous lunatic. J

Right now, my first appeal hasn’t even been heard yet. My case goes before the Arkansas Supreme Court on September second. We expect to be denied though. We don’t expect to get any help until we reach federal court.

I guess I’m going to close for now, but I can’t wait to hear from you again. You’re a sweetie.

Forever,

Damien

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Customer Reviews

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( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 7, 2014

    This is my review of the book Yours For Eternity, the love lette

    This is my review of the book Yours For Eternity, the love letters of a death row inmate.
     This book is by Damien Echols and Lori Davis.The book consists of years of letter writing between Laurie Davis
     and one of the convicted, Damien Echols who was sentenced to death.
    Three documentaries on this case proceeded this book. 
    Three young boys were found murdered in West Memphis Arkansas, three boys were tried and convicted
     as teenagers in 1994 of the murders. Shockingly in the1980s and early 90s some convictions were made in the
     USA based on satanic panic, this case was one of them. The three teenagers one being Damien was convicted of
     the crime, he and the others defendants served close to 18 years before finally being released on an unusual
    plea deal.
    These letters are a glimpse into lives of Damien and Lori and resulted in their marriage in prison and ending in
     the three convicted being released.   If not for Lori and her supporters freedom for the three convicted would
     most likely never have happened.  This brings light to the American death penalty and its potential consequences.
    The book gives some in-sight  into the very personal lives of the authors that the documentaries do not cover.
    The whole of this well known tragedy is as odd as any fiction only it was true.
    An interesting read for people familiar with the case as well as to others just finding out about it.      
    rsm_bedford

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row is an exceptional

    Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row is an exceptional book. Damien Echols was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sentenced to death row. After seeing a documentary about Damien, Lorri Davis struck up a correspondence with Damien. Over the years they came to fall in love and even get married – despite not being allowed to ever touch each other. All in all, it is an amazing book.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Good job! Comment #3

    That is exactly what I read in the book overveiw. Just next time you paraphrase something make sure you also have a biblography stating where you got the information so it is not considered plagerism.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2014

    Love, magick, sex, eroticism, passion, hope.....vulnerability, s

    Love, magick, sex, eroticism, passion, hope.....vulnerability, suffering, injustice beyond comprehension....joy and heart wrenching agony.....I cried, laughed, and found myself wanting to protect these two people and help them fight the battle they continue to fight. If you think you know the story of the WM3 and have followed Damiens struggle to find justice, you must read this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2014

    So bad....

    This author is a convicted murderer. He pled guilty to horrible crime. Why would i recommend the blather of a narcissist & murderer????

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    No more sex in books

    Hi

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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