Saturday, September 8, 2012
A Reliable Wife ~ Review
Author: Robert Goolrick
Source: My stepmom
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 had no idea what to expect from this book. It looks like a romance, sounds like an historical thriller, and is compared to Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, two books I really love. So, I didn't really know what I was going to read.
I loved the writing in this book - it was sparse but the sentences so well constructed and the words so perfectly placed that they conveyed rich imagery. Imagine living in Wisconsin in 1909, with its long lonely winters. Beautiful in its starkness. Yet there was a warmth to this book too.
This book had a lot of sex - I was not expecting that at all. Not really. These characters are all very sexual, but they seemed to be using it to fill a void within themselves. As an escape. The characters were all flawed, none of them with a perfectly clean conscience. All have a past that was less than idyllic or ideal. All have a secret agenda.
I loved this book. I was constantly surprised by the plot and the characters. You thought you were getting to know them, but then you find out maybe you didn't. Some surprises were good, some not as good. It was my favorite book I read this week. I very much recommend it.
This is a book about love and sex and how they can get all twisted up. It is about loneliness and despair. It is about revenge and redemption. It is about guilt. It is about hope.