Reviewed by Laura Henry
It’s the fall of 1907 and there are signs that a brutal winter will soon arrive in Wisconsin. Ralph Truitt is 54, wealthy and has been single for some twenty years. He’s waiting at the train station, in the chilly air, for the woman, Catherine Land, who will become his wife. He has never met her; she came to him via an advertisement for a reliable wife. He’s close to no one and desperate (in his own way) for the elusive relationship he sees many of the townspeople have with friends and their wives.
Catherine Land is the “practical” answer to his needs. But the woman who exits the train is not who Ralph expected. He decides to take her to his home anyway. Ralph and Catherine are people with troubled pasts–secrets, lies to tell and lies already told. And each of them has motivations that will be tried and tested. But each also hungers for human connection.
As the story unfolds, we are given well-developed, complex characters brimming with pain and fear. This is a stunning and compelling novel that is difficult to put down with all of the explorations into love, betrayal and the inner workings of marriage with motives.
A Reliable Wife is reminiscent of the wonderful gothic books of old. It is my favorite novel, thus far, of 2009. I will read it again.
Armchair Interviews says: A must read!
Author’s Web site: http://www.RobertGoolrick.com