Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

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Synopsis

It is the summer of 1948 when a handsome, charismatic stranger, Charlie Beale, recently back from the war in Europe, shows up in the town of Brownsburg, a sleepy village nestled in the Valley of Virginia. All he has with him are two suitcases: one contains his few possessions, including a fine set of butcher knives; the other is full of money. A lot of money. Heading Out to Wonderful is a haunting, heart-stopping novel of love gone terribly wrong in a place where once upon a time such things could happen.

 

About Robert Goolrick

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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 15, 2013 by Algonquin Books. 337 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Heading Out to Wonderful

Kirkus Reviews

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Sylvan sees him as her matinee idol, while Charlie is transformed by unconditional love.

Jun 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Publishers Weekly

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In this latest romantic novel from Goolrick, WWII veteran Charlie Beale takes up residence in a tiny Virginia town in an effort to “head out to wonderful” and discover the unexpected.

Jul 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Publishers Weekly

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and he makes a big mistake by falling for Sylvan Glass, the young wife of wealthy, old, vulgar Harrison Glass, who bought Sylvan at 17 “like a head of cattle.” Sylvan, an outsider like Charlie, dreams of Hollywood, while Charlie simply yearns for a place to call home.

Feb 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Star Tribune

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Goolrick's style is sharp and sorrowful, and he's not afraid to put his characters in perilous situations. "Heading Out to Wonderful" is a fine successor to his powerful and best-selling "A Reliable Wife."

Jun 23 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Book Reporter

Charlie's easy way of talking to him, his understanding of baseball, and his obvious affection for the boy all make Sam fiercely loyal to Charlie, a loyalty that will become a matter of life and death as the story unfolds.

Jun 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

The Columbus Dispatch

And when you get to all right, stop and take a good, long look, because that may be as far as you’re ever going to go.” The tragedy is that “all right” will never do for Charlie or Sylvan, and the longing for “ wonderful” takes them in unpredictable directions.

Jun 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Historical Novel Society

Without disclosing the events in the story, suffice it to say that the characterization of both Charlie Beale, especially Charlie Beale, and Sylvan Glass does not add up to what happens to them both.

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Chicago Tribune

"Brownsburg, Virginia, 1948, the kind of town that existed in the years right after the war, where the terrible American wanting hadn't touched yet, where most people lived a simple life without yearning for things they couldn't have."

Aug 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Bookmarks Magazine


Finding work at the local butcher shop, Charlie gradually meets all the townsfolk, including Boaty Glass, Brownsburg’s wealthiest citizen, and most significantly, Boaty’s beautiful teenage bride, Sylvan.

Jun 25 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Chicago Sun Times

Everybody, man, woman, and child in Brownsburg, loved Charlie Beale.” And yet 13 pages later, after Charlie has been accused of a vicious crime nobody really believes he committed, just about everybody in Brownsburg “shut their doors and their hearts to Charlie Beale.

Jul 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Annenberg Digital News

This evocative novel leaves you with chills, leaves you wanting more of Charlie and Sylvan’s story, which hints at the darker and more possessive side of love.

Aug 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Star News Online

Its mode is innocence, not decadence, as Goolrick spins a lost, pre-televised world of Nehi sodas and funny books and black-and-white movies, when anything seemed possible and danger seemed far, far away.Childhood, as Goolrick reminds us, can be a very dangerous place.The novel owes...

Jun 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Seacoastonline

Robert Goolrick makes full use of the small town of Brownsburg, Va., population numbering 538, which he describes in this way on page five: "Brownsburg, Virgina, 1948, the kind of town that existed in the years right after the war, where most people lived a simple life without yearning for the th...

Oct 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Heading Out to Wonderful

Reader Rating for Heading Out to Wonderful
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