A Reliable Wife – Robert Goolrick

Title: A Reliable Wife
Author: Robert Goolrick
ISBN: 9781565125964
Pages: 304
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5

From the publisher’s website:

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.

With echoes of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, Robert Goolrick’s intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.

I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes trying to find the words to review A Reliable Wife, and so far I haven’t had any luck. This is definitely one of the hardest books I’ve ever had to review because I can’t exactly pinpoint why I enjoyed it so thoroughly. I can only say that I absolutely loved it – I raced through the entire book in one sitting, eager to find out what happens at the end of this provocative novel.

Let’s start with the writing style of A Reliable Wife. Goolrick’s prose is, quite simply, beautiful. It is what draws the reader into the novel, and in many ways, what keeps him or her hooked. It’s wonderfully poetic and smooth. It is never jarring and there is never a word out of place. Goolrick’s writing adds so much to the story, makes it so much more compelling than it would have been otherwise.

The characters in A Reliable Wife are a little more difficult to explain. None of them are exactly easy to like; they don’t really endear themselves to the reader. However, I couldn’t help but love Catherine from the very beginning, despite her questionable past and malicious intentions. As each of their stories unfolds, the characters grow on the reader. This isn’t a book that is carried by the affability of the characters; indeed, if anything, I was surprised at how much I could enjoy a book where I didn’t like some of the characters! Still, Goolrick is a master at creating intricate, nuanced characters that are full of life.

Ultimately, A Reliable Wife is about redemption. Can all people be redeemed and forgiven, no matter how horrible their past deeds are? I think the message of the book is that you have to actively seek out redemption; it will not come to you by chance. But the question is, is it ever too late to be redeemed?

I definitely recommend A Reliable Wife. It is a great read, but isn’t for everyone – there is a lot of sex in the book, more inner monologue than actual occurrences, but if that type of thing bothers you in a novel, you may want to pass on this one. If it doesn’t, I’d definitely say to pick this one up – it’s a breathtaking read that will stick with you for a really long time.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review!

Amy, Jen and I have put together a mini blog tour for this book. Make sure you check out their reviews as well!

My Friend Amy’s Blog
Devourer of Books

Comments

  1. Amazing review. So well said! I loved this book too and I agree that it is hard to review a book this good!

  2. Amazing review. So well said! I loved this book too and I agree that it is hard to review a book this good!

  3. As I said on your book blogging buddies’ blogs, I’m only skimming the review so I’m not influenced, but I am looking forward to this one even more now.

  4. As I said on your book blogging buddies’ blogs, I’m only skimming the review so I’m not influenced, but I am looking forward to this one even more now.

  5. Perfect review. You exactly described my feelings about the book. My sister came over on Sunday and asked what she should borrow to read. I immediately thrust this (and “First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria”) into her hands without even having to stop to think about it.

  6. Perfect review. You exactly described my feelings about the book. My sister came over on Sunday and asked what she should borrow to read. I immediately thrust this (and “First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria”) into her hands without even having to stop to think about it.

  7. Oh my gosh! I cannot wait to read this book now.

  8. I didn’t fully read your review as I’ve got this one on the shelf but I did check out your rating. I’ve really only heard good reviews so far so I’m looking forward to reading it.

  9. I didn’t fully read your review as I’ve got this one on the shelf but I did check out your rating. I’ve really only heard good reviews so far so I’m looking forward to reading it.

  10. Oh my gosh! I cannot wait to read this book now.

  11. I wish I had this book!! Maybe it’ll show up at the library. So many good reviews, that doesn’t happen all the time. Thanks for the review!

  12. I wish I had this book!! Maybe it’ll show up at the library. So many good reviews, that doesn’t happen all the time. Thanks for the review!

  13. Me, too – I’m skimming the reviews of this book because I really want to read it! I always check your ratings.

  14. Me, too – I’m skimming the reviews of this book because I really want to read it! I always check your ratings.

  15. Really enjoyed your review. You said just enough without giving anything away. I look forward to reading this soon.

  16. Really enjoyed your review. You said just enough without giving anything away. I look forward to reading this soon.

  17. I think I’m going to have to read this, if for no other reason than it takes place in Wisconsin.

  18. I think I’m going to have to read this, if for no other reason than it takes place in Wisconsin.

  19. I’m having a hard time coming up with words to describe how much your review makes me want to read this ;)

  20. I’m having a hard time coming up with words to describe how much your review makes me want to read this ;)

  21. Great review! It definitely sounds intriguing to me! I’ll have to check it out.

  22. Great review! It definitely sounds intriguing to me! I’ll have to check it out.

  23. Great review Swapna!! I loved the part where Catherine realizes that her life is her life..i have that revelation about every other month: ).so it really helped me relate to her and care about her future.

  24. Great review Swapna!! I loved the part where Catherine realizes that her life is her life..i have that revelation about every other month: ).so it really helped me relate to her and care about her future.

  25. Sometimes I read the summary of a book in a review and think it’ll be good, and then read the review and get sad because the review describes the book as totally different or says it’s bad. I was completely drawn in by the summer, and so glad to find that your experience reading the book matched up. It sounds awesome, thanks for the review!

    Kim

  26. Sometimes I read the summary of a book in a review and think it’ll be good, and then read the review and get sad because the review describes the book as totally different or says it’s bad. I was completely drawn in by the summer, and so glad to find that your experience reading the book matched up. It sounds awesome, thanks for the review!

    Kim

  27. This sounds so good. I am definitely going to look for it.

  28. This sounds so good. I am definitely going to look for it.

  29. I’m skimming, too! Every review of A RELIABLE WIFE that I’ve looked at screams “read this book!”

    Redemption. This has been a theme in several books I’ve read lately … interesting.

  30. I’m skimming, too! Every review of A RELIABLE WIFE that I’ve looked at screams “read this book!”

    Redemption. This has been a theme in several books I’ve read lately … interesting.

  31. A co-worker is currently reading this book. OMG the things she is telling me…I finally told her to tell me no more as she wants me to read the book. I hope I will like this one. Your review has intrigued but my co-worker has made me question…

  32. A co-worker is currently reading this book. OMG the things she is telling me…I finally told her to tell me no more as she wants me to read the book. I hope I will like this one. Your review has intrigued but my co-worker has made me question…

  33. I wish I had liked this as much as you did! I reviewed it this AM and linked to you:

    http://everydayiwritethebook.typepad.com/books/2009/06/a-reliable-wife-by-robert-goolrick.html

  34. I wish I had liked this as much as you did! I reviewed it this AM and linked to you:

    http://everydayiwritethebook.typepad.com/books/2009/06/a-reliable-wife-by-robert-goolrick.html

  35. This book sounds interesting. I think I will check it out.

    I also just read your Her Fearful Symmetry review and liked it a lot. That book still has me thinking.

  36. This book sounds interesting. I think I will check it out.

    I also just read your Her Fearful Symmetry review and liked it a lot. That book still has me thinking.

  37. I think this book may be the next I read. I saw it at a bookstore today and it looked very intriguing. Your review just confirmed that it’s worth the read. Thanks!

  38. I think this book may be the next I read. I saw it at a bookstore today and it looked very intriguing. Your review just confirmed that it’s worth the read. Thanks!

  39. I am currently reading this book, and it is fabulous. As I sit here, and try to think of how to best describe it, I realize I cannot find the words. From the first word I was hooked. I feel as if I am actually there strolling through the rooms, touching the fabrics, looking out the windows, and silently observing the characters of this wonderful book. Get it…read it…you will be glad you did.

  40. I am currently reading this book, and it is fabulous. As I sit here, and try to think of how to best describe it, I realize I cannot find the words. From the first word I was hooked. I feel as if I am actually there strolling through the rooms, touching the fabrics, looking out the windows, and silently observing the characters of this wonderful book. Get it…read it…you will be glad you did.

Trackbacks

  1. […] one is as good as it gets. While I wait for my copy check out their reviews at: My Friend Amy ~ S. Krishna Books ~ Devour […]

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

!-- Quantcast Tag -->