Title: A Reliable Wife
Author: Robert Goolrick
Genre: Historical Literary Fiction
Print Length: 305 pages
It is 1907 and Ralph Truitt, a successful industrialist, stands alone on a train platform, in the bitter cold, waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advert. But when Catherine steps off the train she's not the woman Ralph is expecting. She is neither honest or uncomplicated. And, unknown to him, her arrival, in rural Wisconsin, is motivated by greed. Her plan is simple;
win his devotion and leave him as a wealthy woman. What she has not counted on is that Ralph might have plans of his own for his new wife.
I picked this book up this, never having heard of it, nor of Robert Goolrick, in an Airbnb house I was staying in. The cover intrigued me, it had a Western feel about it, as did the blurb. However, the story, although set in the final throws of what might be considered the Western era, is anything but a Western. Neither is it It a Western romance. It is a tale of greed, hate, sex and passionate, unguarded love. While not normally my preferred genre, I found the story line intriguing enough to continue reading it. The narrative, a good proportion of it the form of the inner thoughts of the main characters (in the third person), is somewhat convoluted and repetitive - some might say the
book could have been half the length - but it gets the complex nature of the characters over very well, although they are rather larger than life. I enjoyed the way the characterisation of the main characters is developed using their past, rather than through descriptions of the way they behave and interact with each other. Considering the creative internal dialogue that made up great parts of the novel, I found the dialogue rather functional and spiritless - it added little to the development of the story. The settings, on the other hand, are wonderfully described and have a life of their own. All-in-all, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, although it may not be for those who like punchy, to-the-point novels.
You can find an interview with Robert Goolrich HERE.
What others thought at the time of writing
Amazon.co.uk; 35 reviews, of which 30 were 3* or more, giving an average of 3.9*
Amazon.com; 1,368 reviews, of which 62% were 3* or more, giving an average of 3.3*
Goodreads.com; 68,607 ratings (9,580 reviews), with 77% of 3* or more, giving an average of 3.3*
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