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A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
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A Reliable Wife (edition 2010)

by Robert Goolrick

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,6143011,458 (3.31)226
Member:Boutabook
Title:A Reliable Wife
Authors:Robert Goolrick
Info:Algonquin Books (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

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    BookshelfMonstrosity: Readers who enjoyed the shivery psychological suspense of A Reliable Wife may also like this novel, set in a small town during a diphtheria epidemic. Both novels are set in late 19th century Wisconsin and focus on characters with dark secrets.… (more)
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» See also 226 mentions

English (297)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  All languages (304)
Showing 1-5 of 297 (next | show all)
The prose was amazing. I think that the book portrayed a very accurate depiction of love and passion and how distinct and different the two are. I really loved it. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
What a disappointment! I was ready for a great read and instead slipped into a graphic sex novel. The premise was great but the delivery not so. I finished the book because a friend gave it to me and really liked it. I finished it as an effort to try to understand what it was she liked...I never found it. It's a predictable "bodice-ripper!" ( )
  LouisaK | Feb 2, 2016 |
What a disappointment! I was ready for a great read and instead slipped into a graphic sex novel. The premise was great but the delivery not so. I finished the book because a friend gave it to me and really liked it. I finished it as an effort to try to understand what it was she liked...I never found it. It's a predictable "bodice-ripper!" ( )
  LouisaK | Feb 2, 2016 |
What a disappointment! I was ready for a great read and instead slipped into a graphic sex novel. The premise was great but the delivery not so. I finished the book because a friend gave it to me and really liked it. I finished it as an effort to try to understand what it was she liked...I never found it. It's a predictable "bodice-ripper!" ( )
  LouisaK | Feb 2, 2016 |
Terrible writing. The characters had no consistency. I don't know how this book ended up getting raving reviews. ( )
  PreetiD | Jan 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 297 (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)
 
Set in 1907 Wisconsin, Goolrick's fiction debut (after a memoir, The End of the World as We Know It) gets off to a slow, stylized start, but eventually generates some real suspense. When Catherine Land, who's survived a traumatic early life by using her wits and sexuality as weapons, happens on a newspaper ad from a well-to-do businessman in need of a "reliable wife," she invents a plan to benefit from his riches and his need. Her new husband, Ralph Truitt, discovers she's deceived him the moment she arrives in his remote hometown. Driven by a complex mix of emotions and simple animal attraction, he marries her anyway. After the wedding, Catherine helps Ralph search for his estranged son and, despite growing misgivings, begins to poison him with small doses of arsenic. Ralph sickens but doesn't die, and their story unfolds in ways neither they nor the reader expect. This darkly nuanced psychological tale builds to a strong and satisfying close. ( )
added by ehines | editPublishers Weekly
 
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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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