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Synopsis

They may be professors, reporters, nurses, social workers, waitresses, office workers or corporate executives. They may have advanced college degrees or have never gotten past the sixth grade. They may live in a bustling big city or a small town. On the surface, these women seem like ordinary people. They aren’t. They are the women who love men who have killed—and their numbers are growing. At once both disturbing and fascinating, Women Who Love Men Who Kill is an extraordinary, compelling psychological study of prison passion as we’ve never seen it before. For the first time, author Sheila Isenberg examines this national phenomenon. Through extensive research and interviews with the women themselves, as well as psychiatrists, social workers, and prison officials, she sheds light on why these women are drawn into relationships with men who are the outcasts of society, men with whom they can never enjoy a “normal” relationship. Although some have been victims of abuse and violence, many of the women vulnerable to these relationships know exactly what they are getting into, but their capacity for denial and their need for a safe, idealized, romantic fantasy of love transcends judgment. These women are willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of a love without hope or promise, or consummation, and they welcome the sacrifice because it means that they and their feelings are worthy. “[Sheila] Isenberg provides a fascinating look at women ‘compelled to dance with the masters of death,’ women so obsessed with convicted murderers that they marry them, giving up all else in their lives, including their children, to fulfill their deepest fantasies.” (Kirkus Reviews)

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