Deanna Rosen, January 23, 2011 (view all comments by Deanna Rosen)
i had no expectations of this book before i read it.so,all the more was i surprized when i discovered i couldn't put it down(almost) until i finished it!it is an atypical mystery in that there is deep characterization along with very unexpected twists(@unexpected moments).the freezing cold enviornmental context turns sizzling hot before you realize it.the cliche "still waters run deep..." seems apt for both the protagonists and the times.a great read.
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.
Vivid and enthralling, Island of the Doves tells the story of two women in early nineteenth century Americaand#151;one typical of her time, one extraordinary for itand#151;who transform each otherand#8217;s lives.
Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffaloand#8217;s finest mansions, but her husband has made it a monstrous prison. When a mysterious woman offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamboat for Mackinac Island. But after being a dutiful daughter and obedient wife, it is only as she flees that she realizes how unprepared she is for freedom.
An exceptional woman of early America, Magdelaine Fonteneau has overcome convention to live a bold and adventurous life, achieving great wealth and power as a fur trader. But Magdelaine has also seen great tragedy and lost all that was dear to her, and she is no longer sure her hardened heart is capable of love.
Now, Magdelaine seeks redemption by offering safe harbor to Susannah. But as their friendship grows into something miraculous, it changes each woman in unexpected ways. Each needs to learn to love again, and only together can they realize a future bright with the promise of new lifeand#133;
Vivid and enthralling, Island of the Doves tells the story of a courageous woman who is desperate for freedom and of those who will risk everything to help herand#133;
Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffaloand#8217;s finest mansions, but her monstrous husband makes the home a terrible prison. When a local nun offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamship headed for Mackinac Island and a chance at freedom.
Magdelaine Fonteneau has seen her share of tragedyand#151;a husband murdered before her eyes, two sisters lostand#151;and she sees offering Susannah refuge in her island home as atonement for her many regrets. This act of kindness changes Susannah in ways she never could have imagined as she finds solace in the company of others who carry their own secrets and scars. Only together can they untangle their pastsand#151;and find a future bright with the promise of new lifeand#133;
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