Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Review: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

About the Book: 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.

My Review: The hype for this book preceeded it by about a thousand miles, so I decided I had better read it before I read too many other reviews.

This is a very engrossing book and I have to admit that when I first started reading it, I wasn't sure that I actually liked it. It's pretty dark and the opening of the story reminded me a lot of the movie Original Sin. Since I had heard this book was incredibly fresh, I wondered if everyone else had missed that movie? The language was gorgeous, though, enough to keep me reading as it pierced me through. The precision and accuracy with which Goolick describes the internal torment, desires, longing, loneliness, and brokeness of his characters is nothing short of outstanding.

The plot does take a turn about 1/3 of the way in. While I predicted what I think was maybe meant to be a twist, it raises the stakes of the entire novel in new ways.

Ultimately, this book is very dark. But it's dark in a way that gives us a glimpse of the state of our souls, the despair of our situations, the destructive force of our pasts, in a way that helps us to value the glimmers of hope that can be found in our lives, and the precious fragile nature of our intimacies. It's been awhile since I've been able to read a book in one day, but I completely devoured this one. When I finished the book, I closed it and thought, "that was amazing." But after letting it sit in my head for awhile, I've to the conclusion that no it wasn't amazing, it was brilliant. I have no doubt it will live in my mind for a long time to come. Highly Recommended.

Rating: 5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: there is in fact a lot of sensuality to this book. And some sex.

Is my endorsement not enough? Two of my favorite bloggers are also reviewing this book today, S.Krishna and Devourer of Books.



Unknown said...

It sounds like a great read, I have heard about this book as well but somehow never wanted to read it but now i just might.

Julie P. said...

Loved this book -- wasn't the writing just incredible?

Unknown said...

Sounds intriguing!

bermudaonion said...

Wow! It sounds like this one really makes you think. Your review is fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great read!

Beth F said...

As I said over at Jen's: I have this in my TBR so I just skimmed your review (I don't like being influenced!). Love your joint post idea with two great book bloggers.

Jen - devourer of books said...

Ha, I love that: "No it wasn't amazing, it was brilliant." Well put.

BurtonReview said...

Gosh I wanted this book the second I heard about it. Dang it.

S. Krishna said...

GREAT review - you put into words what I was feeling while reading this book!

Gwendolyn B. said...

Quite the endorsement! I want to read this one so much . . .

Toni said...

I have this book.. I need to read and get my review out. Since you gave it 5/5.. .I am so eager to read it now. Thanks for the great review.

Kailana said...

Yeah, I have this book to read and I have been trying to mostly avoid reviews of it because there is so much hype! I am glad you enjoyed it, though. :)

sarah pekkanen said...

Wow! Sounds fantastic

chartroose said...

My kind of novel, for sure! Thanks, Amy.

Sherrie said...

I found your reading challenge, Buy One Book and Read It Challenge 2009. I was over at Beth Fish Reads and she had the info on her blog. I was wondering if I could join in. I have bought and read 3 books, well, I've actually done more, but for the one a month I have 3 already read. You can find me at:http://sherriesbooks.blogspot.com/ I will be posting about this challenge at my blog and link it back to you. Thanks so much! Have a great evening!


P.S. My 3 books
January - Bones - Jonathan Kellerman
February - The Pagan Stone - Nora Roberts
March - The Senator's Wife - Sue Miller

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

I only skimmed your review, since I don't have my hands on the book yet.

5 out of 5, that's an endorsement!

Melissa said...

Oh wow, this sounds great, Amy! Great review!

Elizabeth said...

Your mini-book tour has me REALLY wanting to read this!

Sharon said...

I hadn't heard of this book, sounds interesting!

Amy said...

Lilly...trust me, it's good! Sadly, I think the title is a bit off-putting.

Julie...it WAS incredible!

Ruth..it is!

Thanks Kathy!

rhapsodyinbooks..it is, oh it is!

Beth..lol, about the skimming. I look forward to your review!


Marie..you'll love it. :)

Swapna...thanks! That's a true compliment to me coming from you.

Gwendolyn..you'll love it.

Toni..I look forward to your review!

Kailana...put it off no longer! :)

Sarah...it is!

chartroose..of course! hope you read it.

Sherrie...thanks for joining in!!

Dawn..I look forward to hearing what you think when you read it.

Melissa...thanks! It really is a good book.

Elizabeth...I hope you do!

Sharon..it is!

Gayle said...

I wish I had liked this book as much as you did! It just didn't do it for me. Here's my review - I linked to you:


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