Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

When I went to the library last week, this book was on display at the front door.  I liked the cover and the title made me go hmmmm.

This is a really good book, especially for a first novel.  Ralph Truitt advertises for a wife. Catherine Land answers his ad saying she is a simple, honest woman and sends a photo.  He chooses her.  She arrives in Truitt, Wisconsin.  She is not the woman in the photograph.  He is stunned by her beauty.  He takes her home anyway, not wanting any gossip in the town where he is the richest man. He has lived alone for twenty years and just wants a reliable wife to spend the rest of his years with.

This is not a romance novel, really, it is so much more.  The reader yearns for the characters.
Here is a fantastic review of this book, far better than I could do!

An excerpt:
It was bitter cold, the air electric with all that had not happened yet. The world stood stock still, four o-clock dead on. Nothing moved anywhere, not a body, not a bird; for a split second there was only silence, there was only stillness. Figures stood frozen in the frozen land, men, women and children.

If you had been there you would not have noticed. You would not have noticed your own stillness in this thin slice of time. But, if you had been there and you had, in some unfathomable way, recorded the stillness, taken a negative of it as the glass plate receives the light, to be developed later, you would have known, when the thought, the recollection was finally developed, that this was the moment it began. The clock ticked. The hour struck. Everything moved again. The train was late.

It was not snowing yet, but it would be soon, a blizzard, by the smell of it. The land lay covered already in trampled snow. The land here flew away from your eyes, gone into the black horizon without leaving one detail inside the eye. Stubble through the snow, sharp as razors. Crows picking at nothing. Black river, frigid oil.
Nothing says hell has to be fire, thought Ralph Truitt, standing in his sober clothes on the platform of the tiny train station in the frozen middle of frozen nowhere. Hell could be like this. It could be darker every minute. It could be cold enough to sear the skin from your bones.
Standing in the center of the crowd, his solitude was enormous. He felt that in all the vast and frozen space in which he lived his life- every hand needy, every heart wanting something from him- everybody had a reason to be and a place to land. Everybody but him. For him there was nothing. In all the cold and bitter world, there was not a single place for him to sit down.  Read more here.

Pages: 305
I am going to use this as Gothic Genre in the 2013 Genre Variety Reading Challenge.

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