Katsuya, December 27, 2012 (view all comments by Katsuya)
Goolrick has an almost poetic way with the language and builds suspense beautifully in this, his first, novel. It is a very gothic tale. As I was reading it, for some reason I kept thinking of Edgar Allan Poe, and the poem of his that came to mind was Annabel Lee. Not that the stories that the poem and this novel tell are particularly related but the cadence of the language and the use of repetition struck me as being similar. The book also reminded me of younger (much younger) days when I used to devour the novels of Daphne du Maurier and the Bronte' sisters. This book would be right at home on a shelf with those ladies' works.
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kayeanna77, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by kayeanna77)
It takes a lot to surprise me in a book and yet this book did just that! Just when I thought I knew who these characters were, they reached out and slapped you around a little to make sure you weren't too comfortable in your beliefs!
The story-telling is engrossing and so detailed that it draws you in...allowing you to become each character whether you like it or not.
I love finding new authors to read and this is definitely one that will make a recurring appearance on my list!
Iammybff, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Iammybff)
An amazing look into such an intimate life of 2 different people. I had a hard time getting into it at the beginning and was glad I continued to read on. Full of insight, sinful pleasures and heartbreaking pasts.
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Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill -
Come a day, you might get sick of hearing about A Reliable Wife — so many people will have read it and raved to you about it. Here's some preventative medicine: read it first. Seduction, marriage, money, sex, drugs, murder... when Catherine Land arrives in Wisconsin on a snowy day in 1907, we know she's an imposter — but does her husband-to-be? Robert Goolrick has written a novel that you'll want to devour in a single sitting. Simultaneously, you'll want to luxuriate in its drama as long as possible. Whatever you decide, there's too much pleasure in these pages to leave to your friends.
Frank advertises for a "mail-order bride," and Catherine accepts. She arrives in Wisconsin during a blizzard, which sets the initial tone for the chilly interaction between them. They both have sinister, unexpressed plans for each other. Heavy on themes of sex, greed, and self-interest, The Reliable Wife morphs into a pseudo love story. Ralph suffers at Catherine's hand, and she seems untouchable but is she? Catherine undergoes a character change that is slow, believable, and satisfying. I loved it!
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Sandra Brown,
"I was totally captivated by A Reliable Wife. Raw and lyrical at the same time, Robert Goolrick's wonderful novel grips the reader with its complex and beautiful story."
by Sara Gruen,
"A Reliable Wife is a nearly forensic look at love in all its incarnations, with all its damages, deceptions, and obsessions, run through with points of light and pinned with ruinous truths....Astonishing, complex, beautifully written, and brilliant."
by Christian Science Monitor,
"A Reliable Wife is eminently readable and should delight fans of old-fashioned Gothic romances....Goolrick is a solid wordsmith, and he handily manages the impressive task of making readers care about a woman bent on cold-blooded murder. And generating the proper Gothic ambience in Wisconsin is no mean feat."
by USA Today,
"A killer debut novel....Suspenseful and erotic....[A] chillingly engrossing plot...Good to the riveting end."
by The Washington Post,
"A gothic tale of...smoldering desire....The novel is deliciously wicked and tense, presented as a series of sepia tableaux, interrupted by flashes of bright red violence....Once you've fallen into the miasma of A Reliable Wife, it's intoxicating."
by NPR's Morning Edition,
"Robert Goolrick's A Reliable Wife is my must-read recommendation....This engrossing and addictive novel will leave you both chilled and satisfied."
by Today Show,
"A thrilling, juicy read....The writing is beautiful and the story is captivating. It's a real page-turner."
by Minneapolis Star Tribune,
"A tantalizing pace that will have you flipping faster and faster through the pages....A beautiful and haunting read, a story about all the different manifestations of love — a story that will stay with you."
He placed a notice in a Chicago paper, an advertisement for "a reliable wife." She responded, saying that she was "a simple, honest woman." She was, of course, anything but honest, and the only simple thing about her was her single-minded determination to marry this man and then kill him, slowly and carefully, leaving her a wealthy widow, able to take care of the one she truly loved.
What Catherine Land did not realize was that the enigmatic and lonely Ralph Truitt had a plan of his own. And what neither anticipated was that they would fall so completely in love.
Filled with unforgettable characters, and shimmering with color and atmosphere, A Reliable Wife is an enthralling tale of love and madness, of longing and murder.
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