A Reliable Wife

A Reliable WifeA Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Another view of love and murder in early 20th-century rural Wisconsin…

If this had not been an audiobook, I probably would not have finished it. It is a psychological tale about desire and despair. It reminded me very strongly of a macabre book that was popular when I was in college in the 70s – Wisconsin Death Trip – which was a catalog of the gruesome and bizarre told through antique photos and newspaper articles. As a gothic suspense novel, I wasn’t sold. It is okay, if you like listening to the inner world of two completely self-absorbed people. At nearly halfway through, I really didn’t care if they ended up killing each other. All the man thinks about is sex, and how “bad” he is. All the woman thinks about is trying to be anybody but herself. And if you think those two are depressing, wait until you meet the “son”. I kept going, only to find out if there was any hope of redemption. The characters are obsessed and conflicted. The prose is tiresomely repetitive, and the plot twists incomprehensible, but “these things happened…” It could make a pretty good movie, though…

He placed a notice in a Chicago paper, an advertisement for “a reliable wife.” She responded, saying that she was “a simple, honest woman.” She was, of course, anything but honest, and the only simple thing about her was her single-minded determination to marry this man and then kill him, slowly and carefully, leaving her a wealthy widow, able to take care of the one she truly loved.

What Catherine Land did not realize was that the enigmatic and lonely Ralph Truitt had a plan of his own. And what neither anticipated was that they would fall so completely in love.

Filled with unforgettable characters, and shimmering with color and atmosphere, A Reliable Wife is an enthralling tale of love and madness, of longing and murder.

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