Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Reliable Wife; Robert Goolrick

Title: A Reliable Wife
Author: Robert Goolrick
Publication Year:  2009
Publisher: Algonquin and Recorded Books
Edition: audio
Reader: Mark Feiurstein (very good)
Source: library
Setting: Wisconsin
Date Completed: May - 2013
Rating: 4/5

Recommend: yes

The Reliable Wife is a story which seems simple from the start. Ralph Truitt, is a wealthy, lonely, man who is looking for companionship, without romance.  It's the winter of 1909 in rural Wisconsin, Ralph has no family, his wife died 20 years earlier, so he places an ad for "A Reliable Wife."  Catherine Land answers his ad, stating that she is a simple woman of modest means. Deep down she is anything but, and little does Ralph know, she has other plans. Her thoughts are to work on a plan that will make her a rich widow rather quickly.  Ralph Truitt hasn't been exactly upfront and forthcoming about his past either, and together they make for a couple of truly unlikable characters --- at least at the beginning.
Trickery and deception aside, both are wounded souls desperate to survive. Each make for pretty intense characters. It is their thoughts and actions that drive the novel along, as the reader learns more about Ralph and Catherine's past.  Sexual tension and frustrations are intense throughout this novel, but it is extremely well done and this too tends drive the story.  For me, the story dragged a bit at times, but then a twist or new revelation would surface and I had to keep listening. Before too long my feelings for the characters began to change as their sad pasts were revealed.
Normally, this would not be the type of book I would choose, but I downloaded it on audio several years ago and decided to give it a try.  The audio is very well done, it's narrated by Mark Feurstein. It's not a terribly long novel, and overall, I was happy that I kept listening. Readers who love character driven stories, flawed characters, stories about revenge, redemption with a heavy dose of lust, as well, should enjoy this book. 


  1. I've had this one on my TBR shelf for too long! Need to give it a try :)

  2. I am not quite sure why, but I loved this book. I think it was because of the mood Goolrick created, and also the utter surprise(s) I found throughout the plot. Well, I also love a love story even if it is a bit twiested. I gave this book away for World Book Night 2012, but I selfishly kept a copy for me...I wonder how it would have been listening to it rather than reading the text.

  3. My mom just lent me this book! I'm not usually a fan of revenge stories, but she said it was great, so I will give it a try.

    Thanks -


    Book By Book

  4. Sounds like an interesting story.

  5. I enjoyed this one. Two miserable people but I somehow understood their motives.

  6. I read this a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. Goolrick does a great job of creating complex characters that you grow to care about as you learn more about them, warts and all. Loved the ending.

  7. I keep meaning to read or listen to this one. I heard so many good reviews of it along the way. I may have to see if I can get it on audio at the library.

  8. I put this one down half way through. Maybe I should pick it up again. I think I missed out on some good twists.

  9. I have heard such mixed reviews of this one that I actually gave away my copy of the book a couple years ago without reading it. I wonder if I would like the audio version.

  10. I loved this book! I couldn't put it down!

  11. Just picked this up at a book sale on Sunday. Yay me :)


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