A Reliable Wife

A Reliable Wife

3.25 (67,453 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 305 pages
  • 148.6 x 214.1 x 18.5mm | 358.33g
  • Algonquin Books
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1565129776
  • 9781565129771
  • 16,613

Review quote

"Goolrick twists a familiar story, refashioning it into something completely original. . . . Few have permeated their narratives with gothic elements and suspense to such great effect. . . . The unforeseen conclusion provides a big payoff for readers of this tension-laden debut from a promising new talent." - Booklistshow more

Rating details

67,453 ratings
3.25 out of 5 stars
5 11% (7,635)
4 31% (20,675)
3 36% (24,311)
2 16% (10,677)
1 6% (4,155)

Our customer reviews

Ok. Confession time: I didn't finish this book. It wasn't for a lack of trying; I just could not get into it. At all. And that kind of sucks because I've wanted to read this for, like, ever. I'm not really sure what it was. It could have been that July was a really weird month for me and I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to read it. It could have been that what I did manage to read was so descriptive and dense that I had a hard time wrapping my brain around what was really being said (refer back to the whole frame of mind thing). It could even have been that I was kind of skeeved out by the fact that the main character was a sex obsessed fifty-something year old man who essentially gets himself a mail order bride that's half his age. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is this: I barely made it past the second chapter. I feel bad, like I didn't really give this book a chance. I know that's not true though because I tried to read it several times throughout the month, it just wasn't happening. I just couldn't do it. I read for pleasure, and I've gotten to the point that I won't force myself to read something that I'm not enjoying. The only exception to that rule is if I don't particularly like a book but I'm morbidly curious to see where the whole train wreck is going. I usually stick those ones out til the end no matter how painful it may be. Call me a masochist. It's unfortunate that this book falls into the unreadable category for me, because I truly thought it sounded like a good read. Oh well, maybe I'll come back to it later and it will suck me in so fast I won't know what hit me. One can only hope. Originally posted on brilliantlynovel.wordpress.comshow more
by Diana
My new book arrived on Tuesday. It is now Thursday. What the hell happened to Wednesday? It went something like this...I woke bleary eyed from going to bed too late (started the book), got nothing done all day (reading the book), stayed up way past my bedtime (engrossed in the book) and now am writing about the book instead of working! Wow - what a great story - it's p***ionate, gripping, sensual, exciting and beautiful. I couldn't stop reading it and when I put it down, I couldn't stop thinking about the characters. What a great way to lose a day of your life.... A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick is the story of two people Catherine Land and Ralph Truitt and how their pasts have influenced the decisions they are currently making that will profoundly affect them both in ways neither of them have planned. '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 herself a wealthy widow. What Catherine Land did not realise was that the enigmatic and lonely Ralph Truitt had a plan of his own.' The story is brilliant - it has intrigue, it has sex (yes, sex!), it has twists, it has sadness, brutality and death and it also has a gripping story line that I was instantly addicted to. I can't tell you too much about the story for fear of ruining its brilliance, but I would describe it as a mixture of a mystery and romance. I like what the author has said about his four main characters - 'I think the only thing that matters in life is goodness. It is all we have to leave behind us when we go, all we will be remembered for. It is our soul's wallet. These characters are not good people.' Read it. Loved it. (http://goodchapters.blogspot.com)show more
by Jane Burton
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