April 18, 2010

A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick

My mom recommended this book, so when I was looking for something to read recently, I borrowed it.

Sadly, my recommendation doesn't come as high as hers.

The book takes place in the early 1900s, and opens with a wealthy man who publishes an ad for "A reliable wife". Catherine Land answers the ad and travels to the wilds of Wisconsin to marry Ralph Truitt. Unfortunately, her plan isn't as sincere as Ralph's. Her aim is to kill him without anyone's knowledge and take his riches as her own.

Sounds good, right? Let's see how the book stacks up against my three criteria:

Plot: The plot sounds good and it was filled with twists and turns. The problem is that the twists and turns were rather predictable. And even when I predicted the wrong outcome, the true outcome didn't excite me. The plot sounded interesting, but once I got into it, I couldn't get into it. It wasn't the page turner I was expecting.

Characters: This had the potential to be an incredible character book. They could have had so many dimensions, and I suppose in some ways, those dimensions were shown. But it was at arms length. The characters always felt just out of reach and half-formed. Sure, they were detailed, but the details were explained

Structure: The structure was easy to grasp. The first couple chapters were difficult as I got used to the narration, but overall it was readable. I really think it was the plot and the characters -- not the structure -- that made it a difficult read.

I won't say I hated it, but I'm not rushing to recommend it. 2 stars.


  1. That's pretty much how I felt about it, too. I liked it while I was reading it, and I have to admit that I found the writing easy to read, but my problem was that I felt lied to, and that has left a very bitter taste in my mouth; I just reread my review, and I certainly don't remember it as fondly as my review seems to portray.

  2. Jena -- Great perspective! Interesting that you felt lied to. I'll have to check out your review!


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