Goolrick, Robert. A Reliable Wife. 1 ed. New York: Algonquin Books, 2010. Print.
Summary: Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man's devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt — a passionate man with his own dark secrets —has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways.
With echoes of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, Robert Goolrick's intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis. -- Algonquin Books
A Reliable Wife was last month's book club choice. I admit to looking forward to reading it based on the rave reviews and its place in the recommendation shelf at my local Barnes & Noble. Sadly, I was disappointed in the book.
Mr. Goolrick does have a talent for setting a scene. His description of the desolate Wisconsin winters and the loneliness of Ralph Truitt were deftly portrayed, but the story left a lot to be desired.
The characters weren't sufficiently sketched out. The plot was very similar to the movie Original Sin with Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie, and the dialog was very soap-opera like. There was nothing about this book that seemed fresh or original. Rating: 3/10