Author: Robert Goolrick
Pub Date: March 2009, Algonquin Books
Hardcover, 291 pages
Synopsis from BN.com
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.
I almost did not even want to write the review for this book, because I realized that I seem to be in the minority among most reviewers. But I am adhering to my policy of giving honest reviews, and after all, how can someone like every book they read? So let it be said that I did not particularly enjoy this book. Oh, at the beginning there were moments I felt the spark of intrigue and thought that the story would improve, but unfortunately that did not happen for me.
To begin, I found Goolrick's style of writing difficult to read. Many have described it as lyrical, but I really found it to be more of a muddled mess by someone who is trying to write a literary masterpiece. And honestly, I wish I had read more reviews of this book before deciding to read it, but I hesitated to do so because I am always afraid to read too many spoilers... But if I had done my research I would have realized that the entire book essentially revolves around sex, whether it's longing for it, having it, or dealing with its consequences. And the scenes are almost painful to read. In the end, I skimmed over most of the sex and the last third of the book. Sure, there was intrigue and the possibility of murder hanging in the balance, but having it all spelled out early on rather ruined the suspense for me. I found the book drearily predictable in parts, yet the storyline felt wholly implausible by the time everything was said and done.
I know many people loved this book and I will include links to their reviews below. Unfortunately, it was not for me nor could I recommend it to anyone.
Other reviews of A Reliable Wife:
MarysLibrary ~ Barney's Book Blog
If you have reviewed this book and don't see your site listed above, please leave a comment with the link to your review below, and I will add it. Thanks!