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Cover image for A reliable wife
Title:
A reliable wife
ISBN:
9781440715754
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, p2009.
Physical Description:
8 sound discs (9 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Unabridged.

Compact disc.
Genre:
Added Author:
Summary:
Set in 1907 Wisconsin, Catherine Land, who's survived a traumatic early life by using her wits and sexuality as weapons, happens on a newspaper ad from a well-to-do businessman in need of a "reliable wife, " she invents a plan to benefit from his riches and his need. Her new husband, Ralph Truitt, discovers she's deceived him the moment she arrives in his remote hometown. Driven by a complex mix of emotions and simple animal attraction, he marries her anyway. After the wedding, Catherine helps Ralph search for his estranged son and, despite growing misgivings, begins to poison him with small doses of arsenic. Ralph sickens but doesn't die, and their story unfolds in ways neither they nor the reader expect.
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A Reliable Wife


Author Notes

Robert Goolrick was born in Virginia and attended Johns Hopkins University. He worked in the advertising field for many years and wrote his first published novel, A Reliable Wife, in 2009. He also published a memoir entitled, The End of the World as We Know It.

Goolrick resides in Virginia with his dog, Preacher.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in 1907 Wisconsin, Goolrick's fiction debut (after a memoir, The End of the World as We Know It) gets off to a slow, stylized start, but eventually generates some real suspense. When Catherine Land, who's survived a traumatic early life by using her wits and sexuality as weapons, happens on a newspaper ad from a well-to-do businessman in need of a "reliable wife," she invents a plan to benefit from his riches and his need. Her new husband, Ralph Truitt, discovers she's deceived him the moment she arrives in his remote hometown. Driven by a complex mix of emotions and simple animal attraction, he marries her anyway. After the wedding, Catherine helps Ralph search for his estranged son and, despite growing misgivings, begins to poison him with small doses of arsenic. Ralph sickens but doesn't die, and their story unfolds in ways neither they nor the reader expect. This darkly nuanced psychological tale builds to a strong and satisfying close. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Guardian Review

Snowbound Wisconsin, October 1907. Ralph Truitt, whose family, wealthy for generations, has given the town its name, waits conspicuously at the railway station for the arrival of a stranger. After years of buttoned-down widowhood, Ralph has advertised for a "reliable wife for practical reasons", yet the woman he meets possesses a beauty and worldliness belying the plain photograph he has been sent - and the tale of a missionary childhood he has been spun. Catherine Land has a deceitful, murderous agenda of her own, yet an unexpected ardour and quiet fascination between the pair delay her plan. When Ralph surprises her with an intriguing mission, it provides the catalyst for high drama evolving out of avarice and lust. Caption: article-junefirstnovels.1 Snowbound Wisconsin, October 1907. Ralph Truitt, whose family, wealthy for generations, has given the town its name, waits conspicuously at the railway station for the arrival of a stranger. - Catherine Taylor.


Kirkus Review

A woman with her own agenda is caught between two men obsessed with the past. After breaking through with a disquieting memoir about his Southern childhood, Goolrick (The End of the World as We Know It, 2007) applies his storytelling talents to a debut novel, set in 1907, about icy duplicity and heated vengeance. The autumn of Ralph Truitt's life finds the 54-year-old businessman waiting on a train platform in rural Wisconsin for Catherine Land, the plain woman who answered his advertisement, which read: "Country businessman seeks reliable wife. Compelled by practical, not romantic reasons." But the beauty who arrives is not the woman whose photograph Truitt obsessed over, and she's conspiring against him. "What she wanted, of course, was a quick marriage to Ralph Truitt, followed by his painless demise," Goolrick writes. "What she wanted was both love and money, and she was not to have either except through Ralph, except, in fact, after Ralph." Carefully, the author unveils the secrets between husband and wife. Truitt confesses his losses, which include his daughter, who died, his first wife, who had an affair, and his runaway son, who fled the violence suffered under his father's hand. The enigmatic Catherine does her best to hide her bleak history as a courtesan, undertaken to protect her sister, Alice, whom she still seeks. Surprisingly, there's more to Truitt than the bottomless lust and rage that threatens to consume him, as the faithless Catherine discovers when he dispatches her to St. Louis to find his long-lost son, who is playing piano under the name Tony Moretti, a name she knows all too well. Back in Wisconsin, the three parties converge and are pushed toward an unpredictable yet inevitable endgame. A sublime murder ballad that doesn't turn out at all the way one might expect. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Goolrick twists a familiar story, refashioning it into something completely original. Many authors have employed the timeworn rural-man-advertises-for-mail-order-bride plot device, but few have permeated their narratives with gothic elements and suspense to such great effect. All is not as straightforward as it seems when Catherine Land steps off the train in rural Wisconsin in 1907. Who is Catherine, and what is her true intent? What shadowy secrets could middle-aged Ralph Truitt be hiding? Both these complex characters have plenty of traumatic baggage that is peeled away layer by layer as the two engage in a darkly dangerous game of check and checkmate. The unforeseen conclusion provides a big payoff for readers of this tension-laden debut from a promising new talent.--Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2009 Booklist


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