A Reliable Wife

By Robert Goolrick
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Hardcover, 9781565125964, 291pp.)

Publication Date: March 2009

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Paperback, Paperback, Paperback

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer '10 Reading Group List
“This debut novel, set in the early 1900s, is a beautifully written psychological mystery, almost gothic at times. Advertising for 'a reliable wife,' Ralph Truitt, wealthy businessman, gets more than he realizes when Catherine Land steps off the train. Secrets on top of secrets, all revealed in Goolrick's lyrical prose in this a beautiful examination of love and regret.”
-- Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the April 2009 Indie Next List
“Set in a land where long winters drive residents to unthinkable acts, this is the story of a wealthy Wisconsin foundry owner gets more than he bargains for when he orders a mail-order bride. Determined to quickly change from new bride to wealthy widow, his wife is as surprised as the reader to discover the sexual intensity of this quiet man. Many secrets. Many lies. Very sensual.”
-- Beth Golay, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS


Description
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.



Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. The novel’s setting and strong sense of place seem to echo its mood and themes. What role does the wintry Wisconsin landscape play? And the very different, opulent setting of St. Louis?

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