A Reliable Wife: Book summary and reviews of A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

A Reliable Wife

by Robert Goolrick

A Reliable Wife

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Book Summary

Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man's devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt — a passionate man with his own dark secrets —has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways.

Published in hardcover: March 2009
Published in paperback: January 2010

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This darkly nuanced psychological tale builds to a strong and satisfying close." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. After breaking through with a disquieting memoir ... Goolrick applies his storytelling talents to a debut novel, set in 1907, about icy duplicity and heated vengeance.... A sublime murder ballad that doesn’t turn out at all the way one might expect." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Goolrick twists a familiar story, refashioning it into something completely original. . . . Few have permeated their narratives with gothic elements and suspense to such great effect. ... The unforeseen conclusion provides a big payoff for readers of this tension-laden debut from a promising new talent." - Booklist.

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Reader Reviews

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Julie

Amazing!
I was drawn into this bk quickly, and could visualize it so easily! I was surprised to find the twists and turns to be so original! I would love to see this made into a movie!

Lynn

A stunning book
This book has it all. Well defined characters, interesting time and place, suspense, and finally, a dramatic build up to a stunning ending. I am still thinking about the ending of this story a week after I finished the book. Even though the main characters have major baggage and are not what they seem, I found them sympathetic. At different points in the story, I was switching from being "for" one character and "against" the other. Now, there are 2 items I need to bring to your attention. First, while I am no prude, there was a great deal of sex in this book. Most of it was "thinking about sex", but it was a constant theme throughout the story. Second, I think I have heard a version of this story before. Not sure if that is my imagination or if this is a revision of a previous story line. Anyway, I was still surprised at the several plot twists--and there were lots of them.

Suzanne G.

So many results by readers
A Reliable Wife leaves much unanswered. Many things happen and the logic with the decisions made on these plans by the characters create such a frustration while reading, that I wanted to slam the book down and forget it. But I didn’t—and finished—still with a lot of questions. The basic premise of the plot may have its theories, but I couldn’t agree with them. A crazy book.

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More Information

More Information

This is Goolrick's first novel following his memoir The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life (2007). For background material including an author interview and book club discussion guide please visit www.reliablewife.net

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