A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

78%

9 Critic Reviews

The author’s story is a wonder of expanding and contracting feelings and objectives. Each player evolves as you read and try to decide who is in the right. Your empathy quickly flips from one character to another and back again. It makes for great reading.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

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.
 

About Robert Goolrick

See more books from this Author
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.
 
Published January 5, 2010 by Algonquin Books. 305 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for A Reliable Wife
All: 9 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

A woman with her own agenda is caught between two men obsessed with the past...A sublime murder ballad that doesn’t turn out at all the way one might expect.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Mar 08 2016

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.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Catherine Taylor on Jun 26 2009

an unexpected ardour and quiet fascination between the pair delay her plan. When Ralph surprises her with an intriguing mission, it provides the catalyst for high drama evolving out of avarice and lust.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Tresillian on Jul 19 2010

The author’s story is a wonder of expanding and contracting feelings and objectives. Each player evolves as you read and try to decide who is in the right. Your empathy quickly flips from one character to another and back again. It makes for great reading.

Read Full Review of A Reliable Wife | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Diane Scearce on Oct 10 2012

Readers may be surprised more than once by twists and turns in the story, perplexed by character's actions, and unable to understand the sense of resignation to a fate that could be avoided. It is, as the author writes so eloquently, "a story about despair."

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on Mar 31 2009

Erotic, brutal and very, very dark, A RELIABLE WIFE is the kind of Gothic novel that the Brontë sisters would have written had there been no Victorian sanctions against writing frankly about sex.

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The Washington Post

Above average
Reviewed by Ron Charles on Apr 08 2009

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.

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Christian Science Monitor

Below average
Reviewed by Yvonne Zipp on Feb 21 2010

“A Reliable Wife” is eminently readable and should delight fans of old-fashioned Gothic romances, but ultimately, it’s no “Rebecca.”

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Three Guys One Book

Good
Reviewed by JC on Apr 24 2009

Goolrick takes the point of no return and makes a nice little Sophoclean shift, ratchets up the tension, and makes a hell of a novel out of it. It reminded me of Flannery O’Connor in some ways, dark and surprising. Worth your time.

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Reader Rating for A Reliable Wife
60%

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