A Reliable Wife

A Reliable Wife

by Robert Goolrick

Judy Stanton: I'd heard mixed reviews on this one, but I found it to be a quick, captivating read, with unexpected twists and turns that keep me engaged, wanting to know how it all shoook out. I found it interesting to learn, at the end, about the impact of the book "Wisconsin Death Trip" on the author, leading him to set his book in the same time frame and location. I enjoyed the more complex characters, looking at the influences in their lives, and how they could be different people at different times and places in their lives. A good read; I would definitely recommend it.
Rating: ****

Debbie Weiss: In 1907, Ralph Truitt placed a classified ad for a "reliable wife" and the respondent he selected stated that she was "a simple, honest woman." Of course, this was very far from the truth and a story emerges where nothing is at it appears. When Catherine Land descends from the train, Ralph sees that she is not the person whose picture he had received in the mail. That should have been the first clue of what was to come. The story involves Ralph, Catherine and Ralph's adult son Antonio and the plot twists and turns. The story is written well. Though it was a different kind of story, I did enjoy it and would recommend the book to other readers.
Rating: ****

Donna Newman: On a recent broadcast of the Today Show, the book editor of a women's magazine listed his top ten list of books for the summer. Number One was A Reliable Wife, the story of Ralph Truitt, the wealthiest man in Truitt, Wisconsin, in 1907 who desires a wife to help him combat the loneliness he has experienced for 20 years. The novel begins as Truitt waits in the cold at the train station for the woman who answered his classified ad. (How different is this from Starbucks following a J-Date internet chat?) The reader quickly learns that no one is truly as he or she appears. The writing is sparse; the characters are unlikable; the story takes many unexpected turns. However, I was intrigued from the first page, and I thoroughly recommend the book. Beware the many sexual scenes. One of the reviewers called it "a gothic tale of such smoldering desire it should be read in a cold shower." (Washington Post) Enjoy!
Rating: *****

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