A Reliable Wife
by Robert Goolrick
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2009
Received from: the library
Summary: Ralph Truitt, a rich Wisconsin businessman, advertises for a wife and chooses to marry Catherine Land, a women with a secretive past. Taking place at the turn of the twentieth century, Ralph and Catherine try to build a future together while the sins of their past come back to haunt them.
Review: A Reliable Wife is the story of people with terrible pasts who are grasping for second chances. The writing has a lyrical quality and the reader is able to ponder the thoughts and feelings of characters who refuse to show their true selves to anyone. The characters are awful people, who have made tremendous mistakes and must live with them. Some seek forgiveness, while others try anything to change the course of their destiny. Yet through the language the reader is kept separate from them, watching from above as they live their day-to-day lives. The plot does have some twists and turns, but there no shock and awe. You know the characters are capable of anything. Overall, an engrossing read that makes you think even after the last page is read. Rating: **** out of 5.