Book: A Reliable Wife
Author: Robert Goolrick
Review: In 1909, wealthy businessman Ralph Truitt places an advertisement for a reliable wife. Catherine Land answers his ad and travels to his rural Wisconsin home from Chicago. But Catherine is not the simple woman Ralph is expecting, instead she plans to win Ralph's affection and then slowly poison him to death. Things don't go according to plan when she discovers Ralph has secrets of his own.
Overall, I enjoyed this book although I was expecting to love it. It's a great premise. Wealthy man places ad for a wife and a strange beautiful woman with a plan to murder him appears. Will she kill him or will something sinister happen to her? Goolrick is a talented writer and I loved the descriptions of the landscape and town, but I'm wondering if he was celibate while writing this. That is one reason I can think of for the over the top sexual anguish and frustration experienced by several characters. I read a lot of romance and erotica so I'm not shy to sexual references, but the repeated long sections devoted to this were annoying and could have been edited down. I wanted to scream 'You have a hand, take care of yourself!' to several of the characters. Ralph was a decent character in the fact he was pretty layered (privileged youth, philandering 20s, lost love, and of course: MAGOR mommy issues). While he worked hard to redeem himself, I had a difficult time forgetting how he treated his son as a young child. Even though Catherine's treatment of Ralph was horrific at times, I loved her back story and really felt for her. She made a lot of bad decisions in her life but worked hard for her sister. There were some twists at the end I didn't see coming so that was a pleasant surprise.