Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Reliable Wife

Book: A Reliable Wife

Author: Robert Goolrick

Short Summary:

In the early 1900's, Ralph Truitt, a middle-aged, bitter, lonely, yet very successful man places an ad in a newspaper looking for a reliable wife. Catherine Land, the woman who answers the ad, makes her way to Wisconsin to marry Ralph, with the intention of killing him for his money.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book, but it took a little while for me to get into. About halfway through, the book takes a turn that got me captivated during the entire second half. From that point on I had a hard time putting it down.

I really enjoyed Goolrick's writing style. I felt like I got right into the minds of the characters and were experiencing their emotions and ramblings in their heads with them. The characters were constantly changing and I felt I was learning something new about them all the time. I can see how some may find the characters inconsistent throughout the book. I did see this a little, but mostly I saw them changing in terms of what they were experiencing at the time. I'm not sure that I have a firm grasp on who any of the people in this book truly are, but trying to figure it out was one aspect of the book I found so intriguing. I also found the idea of "true identity" to be a theme throughout the story.

There is a lot of sex in this book and a plethora of sexual thoughts. While some people may not enjoy this book because of the amount of sex, it did not bother me. I thought the topic was dealt with in a tasteful way.

This is the second book I've read the past months that takes place in Wisconsin during the early 1900's. I lived in Wisconsin for 5 years and know all to well about the snow and bitter cold that fills days all winter long. I found this to be a really good setting for this book, especially since Ralph and Catherine lived way out in the country and had little else to do but interact with each other. It also showed the social contrast between life out in the country and in the booming city of St. Louis.

The phrase "Such things happen." is used througout this book to describe situations, usually unfortunate or bad ones. With every event in life you can easily say "Such things happen." This is the way of the world and I found this to work well with the story.

It's hard to say too much about the plot of this book without giving things away. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it. I think it would spark some great discussions in book clubs or among friends.

My Rating: 4/5 stars


  1. Great review. I do want to read this one.

  2. I LOVED this book. LOVED it. It was so dark and vibrant and well-written. It got me really interested in the book it's based upon - Wisconsin Death Trip I think it's called, it's cited at the back of the book. If you liked this one you'll like Gil Adamson's The Outlander, if you haven't read it already.

  3. Thanks to turning me on to another book new to me.

  4. "Such things happen" reminds me of "so it goes", which is repeated in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. It worked really well there too, so I know what you mean.