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A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
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A Reliable Wife (edition 2009)

by Robert Goolrick

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3,2592691,684 (3.33)214
Member:obsessedbybooks
Title:A Reliable Wife
Authors:Robert Goolrick
Info:Algonquin Books (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 291 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Fiction, Historical Fiction, Wisconsin, Psychological, Erotic, Suspense, Gothic, 1900s

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A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

1900s (27) 2009 (25) 2010 (33) 2011 (26) book club (24) ebook (27) family (23) family secrets (27) fathers and sons (20) fiction (393) gothic (35) historical (42) historical fiction (169) love (18) mail order bride (52) marriage (72) murder (51) mystery (76) novel (33) own (17) read (32) read in 2009 (20) read in 2010 (23) romance (27) St. Louis (28) suspense (37) to-read (83) USA (17) winter (17) Wisconsin (155)
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English (265)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (271)
Showing 1-5 of 265 (next | show all)
I’ve never been a romance reader but my girlfriend insisted I read this. I’m not sure what she is trying to tell me. I was surprised by how much I liked this. It makes me wonder what other romance novels are lurking out there that I might like. ( )
  OscarWilson | Mar 26, 2014 |
I thought there was a really great story wrapped up in this book - but at times too verbose. An enjoyable read. ( )
  dms02 | Feb 27, 2014 |
Great writing as always with Algonquin Press. Very dark place to be. It worked out in the end if you can call it that. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
You can have your Prince Charming, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and even Pretty Woman, A Reliable Wife is my idea of an adult fairy tale. Not X rated, but rather for mature audiences. This is a story of desire, wantonness, love, loneliness, greed and going crazy. I happened to see a couple of low ratings when I added it to my Good Reads account but I thought this story of a classified ad bride was well organized, since I was continually surprised by new developments in the plot. It reads like a fairy tale to me, but it's also totally believable to me.

It was set in 1907-08 winter Wisconsin, which always wins points with me. It's not a particularly happy story, but at one point seemed almost a dream come true. It shows how people always want more or what they can't have. It reminds me of some internet humor I once read about men (or women) and a series of four floors, each grander than the last. I'll add it here if and when I find it again. My internet is down right now and I can't look.

Briefly, the storyline follows Ralph Truitt, a rich man who has been alone too long, twenty years of trying to hold himself together in front of the people of his town, people that work for him. He is envious of their lives and envisions all sorts of lusty thoughts until he thinks he will go crazy. A woman is coming on the train in the middle of a winter storm, in answer to his classified ad looking for a reliable wife. For Ralph can stand to be alone no more. He has chosen an unremarkable, honest, simple woman. The woman who steps off the train is beautiful, clearly not the woman in the photo. Ralph feels deceived and suspicious from the start. He owns the only car in town but because of the storm, he has brought his carriage for Catherine.

Catherine has resolved to make this work but right away, their carriage overturns and the horses run off leaving Ralph injured in the snow. The twist and turns of this tale begin there. I really enjoyed reading this tale of the craziness a long Wisconsin winter can bring on. It took me only three days to read, aided perhaps by the fact that the internet isn't working. ( )
  exbrook | Feb 11, 2014 |
This book just felt too melodramatic and "gothic" for my taste. It kept me reading since it was a book group seletion, but I didn't find the characters believable. Catherine's preference for her worthless lover over her more substantial classified-ad husband was infuriating. ( )
  gbelik | Feb 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 265 (next | show all)
Don't be fooled by the prissy cover or that ironic title. Robert Goolrick's first novel, "A Reliable Wife," isn't just hot, it's in heat: a gothic tale of such smoldering desire it should be read in a cold shower. This is a bodice ripper of a hundred thousand pearly buttons, ripped off one at a time with agonizing restraint. It works only because Goolrick never cracks a smile, never lets on that he thinks all this overwrought sexual frustration is anything but the most serious incantation of longing and despair ever uttered in the dead of night.
 
Through repetitive and rhythmically hypnotic prose, Goolrick drives home the characters' loneliness, sexual yearnings, self-loathing and fear. He infuses his novel with the inevitable notion that things will end badly for this damaged family. But he lets us discover for ourselves the breadth and magnitude of dysfunction and the deadly conspiracy in which Catherine and Ralph are, ironically, both complicit.
added by Shortride | editUSA Today, Carol Memmott (Apr 6, 2009)
 
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Epigraph
"Be not dishearten'd-Affection shall solve the problems of Freedom yet; Those who love each other shall become invincible." Walt Whitman, "Over the Carnage Rose a Prophetic Voice"
Dedication
For Jeanne Voltz who was better to me than I was to myself with eternal love and gratitude and for my darling brother and sister B and Lindlay.
First words
It was bitter cold, the air electric with all that had not happened yet.
Quotations
"Nothing says hell has to be fire, thought Ralph Truitt, standing in his sober clothes on the platform of a tiny train station in the frozen middle of frozen nowhere."

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Book description
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.

Robert Goolrick's first novel, "A Reliable Wife," isn't just hot, it's in heat: a gothic tale of such smoldering desire it should be read in a cold shower. This is a bodice ripper of a hundred thousand pearly buttons, ripped off one at a time with agonizing restraint. It works only because Goolrick never cracks a smile, never lets on that he thinks all this overwrought sexual frustration is anything but the most serious incantation of longing and despair ever uttered in the dead of night.
The novel is deliciously wicked and tense, presented as a series of sepia tableaux, interrupted by flashes of bright red violence. The whole thing takes place in a fever pitch of exquisite sensations and boundless grief in a place where "the winters were long, and tragedy and madness rose in the pristine air." The word "alone" spreads through these pages like mold in the cellar, until it's everywhere.

In addition to A Reliable Wife, ROBERT GOOLRICK is the author of the acclaimed memoir The End of the World as We Know It. He lives in a small Virginia town. Visit him online at robertgoolrick.com.
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Ralph Truitt, a wealthy businessman with a troubled past who lives in a remote nineteenth-century Wisconsin town, has advertised for a reliable wife; and his ad is answered by Catherine Land, a woman who makes every effort to hide her own dark secrets.… (more)

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