A Reliable Wife
By Robert Goolrick
Completed October 28, 2011
I wasn’t expecting to like A Reliable Wife, based on some reviews that were less than favorable. It goes to show you, though, that you should stick with your gut when picking books – because I was rivoted by this character-driven story.
Ralph Truitt is a wealthy, lonely man living in northern Wisconsin. He places a newspaper ad, looking for “a reliable wife” to share his home. He receives plenty of inquiries, but something about Catherine Land’s response and picture seemed to be the best fit. After several letters, Catherine agreed to come to Wisconsin. When Catherine came off the train, though, Ralph realizes he has been duped. Catherine was not the same woman in the photo. She was far more beautiful. And so begins a complex story of secrets, hidden pasts and redemption.
As A Reliable Wife unfolds, you learn about the troubled past of each character. Neither Ralph nor Catherine were angels, and their fumbles through life made for interesting and realistic reading. In addition to the provocative characters, Goolrick was a master at inserting unexpected twists into the story – leaving the reader blind-sided but ready for more.
Sex is an integral theme to A Reliable Wife, and for many, the sex and sensuality may be a turn-off. I thought Goolrick handled it well – exploring the boundaries between sex to solve loneliness and lovemaking to express one’s affection. However, if reading about sex bothers you, then skip A Reliable Wife. It’s a dominant theme in almost every chapter.
I really have no complaint or criticism about this book. I was satisfied with the conclusion of the story and wished each character love and happiness – something we all deserve in our lives. ( )