Rummanah Aasi
  I wasn't really sure what to expect when I picked up A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. I knew a couple of coworkers who really enjoyed the book but our reading tastes really don't match. I also knew that A Reliable Wife spent sometime on the New York Times Best Seller list too, but that's not really saying much either. After finishing A Reliable Wife, I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it.

Description: In rural Wisconsin during the early twentieth century, wealthy businessman Ralph Truitt advertises for a 'reliable wife' to make a home for him. Catherine Land answers his ad and is chosen as the woman Ralph will marry. Although he knows immediately that Catherine Land is not the woman she presented herself to be, he decides to marry her anyway. What Ralph doesn't know is that Catherine has a different plan and motive, which results in a risky arrangement for them both.


Review: A Reliable Wife starts off slowly but quickly gains speed and suspense as the characters reveal their personal motives. Catherine Land, who uses her wit and sexuality as a weapon, is a woman caught in a tale of duplicity and vengeance. In hopes to forget her traumatic past behind and live in luxury, Catherine answers a newspaper ad from 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 by simply using another person's photo instead of her own, this instance marks one of the many tricks that Catherine has up in her sleeves. Driven by a complex mix of emotions and lust, Ralph marries her anyway. After the wedding, Ralph seeks Catherine's help in locating his estranged son. What happens next quickly spirals out of control.
   A Reliable Wife is a darkly, multi-layered psychological thriller. None of the characters are admirable or even well liked, however, they kept surprising me with their actions. The interplay between love and age works well in the story. There is strong use of sexuality with characters having sexual thoughts or depicted having sex, but I thought the Goolrick used well as a mechanism of power and I didn't think it was used excessively but other readers may disagree. The ending of the story really surprised and satisfied me. I knew what was going to happen but I didn't know how it was going to unfold. A Reliable Wife is a different kind of murder story, a story that  unfolds in ways neither the characters nor the reader expect. If you like complex characters, plot twists, and the gray shades of morality, be sure to pick up this book. 

Rating: 4 stars


Words of Caution: There is some language, drug and alcohol use. There is also strong sexuality throughout the novel including semi-explicit sex scenes. Recommended for mature teen readers and adult readers.


If you like this book try: Damage by Josephine Hart, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, or Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
2 Responses
  1. This is one of my favorite books I've read in a very long time. I read it quite a while ago and I must say that I was drawn to it because I found the cover to be stunningly pretty. While it was definitely steamy, I didn't think it was over-the-top sexual. I just thought the story-with its twists and turns-was really interesting and quite good. As readers, we think Catherine feels one way about Ralph but by the end of the book things are totally different in lots of ways! Loved it! I'd really love to read this one again. ;)


  2. The story definitely had my attention right from the get go. Seeing how the past and the present collide was really interesting. The characters constantly surprised me and the ending totally caught me off guard.


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