Book Review: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

December 15, 2010


A Reliable Wife” by Robert Goolrick is a fictional story about a 58 year old widower and his mail order bride. The story takes place in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, as well as in the heated, burning desire of the characters’ hearts.

  • 336 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : Algonquin
  • Language ‏ : English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 1565129776

Book Review: A Reliable Wife by Robert GoolrickMy rating for A Reliable Wife4
Just how reliable of a wife she really is – click here to find out*
More books by Robert Goolrick*


A Reliable Wife” by Robert Goolrick is a wicked novel. Every character in the book has his or her own agenda, alliances and schemes. The freezing wasteland of Wisconsin is a perfect back drop for this tale where the colder it gets, the hotter the heart and the madness becomes.

This is a strange book, none of the characters are especially likable or identifiable, yet it works. The many faces of what we call “love”, a story desperation, deception and survival are all a factors. However, there are some drawbacks, there are some inconsistencies in the story and the ending is too convenient, tying everything up in a neat package.

Nevertheless, the story is told in vivid narrative, it is sinful and tense, with flashes of violence, graphic sexual acts and grief. The writing of this novel is exquisite and introspective, smart and sometimes provocative.


Country businessman seeks reliable wife. Compelled by practical not romantic reasons. . . . Discreet.

This is Ralph Truitt’s, “the wealthiest man in town”, requisitioning a mail order bride. Ralph is consumed by thoughts of evils men do to themselves and their families, especially during the long, harsh, cold and lonely winter of Wisconsin.

Ralph’s new wife to be, Catherine Land, a trim and proper lady is not what she seems to be or what she wants Ralph to believe she is. Catherine has a scheme which the reader is not yet privy to, but we are privy to Ralph’s long and sad history with women.

Neither Ralph nor Catherine are playing straight with one another, and Goolrick is not playing straight with the reader as well.

A novel of love and deception – Buy it here*
More books by Robert Goolrick*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick


  • Rebecca (Becks Book Picks)December 15, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    I read this awhile ago. I had been looking forward to reading it, but I ended up being disappointed by it. I had expected so much more. It was strange and weird as you said. It did work, but I think I had been expecting something completely different.

  • LeslieDecember 18, 2010 at 9:41 am

    A very interesting review. It makes me curious about the book. How does a writer write such a book and make it interesting without well developed characters. Great review, I enjoyed it, sounds like an interesting book.

  • Stephanie @ Read in a Single SittingDecember 28, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I’m always intrigued by how an author can make an unlikeable cast so fascinating to read–and it sounds like Goolrick does an admirable job of it in this book. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

  • JanelDecember 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Yes – it appears we had opposite reactions to the characters. I agree with your point about the ending wrapping up a little too nicely.

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