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A Reliable Wife

Average Rating 3
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(599)

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2 Star

(465)

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(428)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

42 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

Well! That was interesting!

I really recommend this book if you are the least intrigued by it, two thumbs up. These two main characters are anything but the face they are showing each other. They EACH have baggage. This is anything but a simple, sweet story. This is an easy book to fall into, a fa...
I really recommend this book if you are the least intrigued by it, two thumbs up. These two main characters are anything but the face they are showing each other. They EACH have baggage. This is anything but a simple, sweet story. This is an easy book to fall into, a fast beginning. The writing is compelling, very descriptive, indeed. The characters are all repressed and strange, trying to appear normal. The steamy sex scenes were unexpected, and well, intriguing. There are some murderous notions, too. There are many surprises as we read of extravagance and material wastefulness beyond our wildest dreams. Dysfunctional relationships. There were a couple drops in the story, like turbulence on a plane, as I felt built up, then...bla, bla, and that's that. Yet, as we learned, "such things happen", and perhaps that was intended. The author, though, does a fine job keeping us connected and packing in quite a lot of action in what seems to be about a 6-month roller coaster ride.

posted by dreamerbyday on May 4, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

33 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

HOW DID THIS GET TO BE SO POPULAR

The characters are thin, the plot thin, the writing thin, i just didn't get it! There wasn't one thing I liked about this book and it was our book club selection, our group of 12 all agreed this was our weakest to date! and all the gratuitous sex,

posted by 1202183 on April 20, 2010

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Page 2 of 164
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2010

    Disappointing

    This book and it's characters were as dreary as the winter weather in Wisconsin. Hardly the "potboiler, page turner " as discribed on the back cover. While I finished the book, I would not recommend it.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Page-turner; unpredictable

    I stayed up until 3am two nights in a row because I couldn't put this book down. It's a sometimes-creepy look at how isolation/climate can make people behave in a crazy manner. Intriguing look at human behavior and forgiveness. Extrememly thought-provoking; I'll likely read it a second time.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Did we read the same book?

    I am astonished by the negative reviews I've read here. "To each his own," I suppose, but I've never seen such diametrically opposed reactions.

    I hadn't heard about the book when I bought it, so I had no preconceieved notions. I was immediately struck by the lyrical prose and insightful character studies. And the resolution snuck up on me.

    A worthy book, beautifully written, complex characters. Pay no attention to the naysayers!

    P.S. I have a good friend who is a poet and book critic. I read this to him while he was recovering from surgery and he gave it a big thumbs up, too.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    Set it in Minnesota

    I'm from northern Wisconsin, born in 1953, and he struck wrong note after wrong note for me. Thanks to the author's high regard for "Wisconsin Death Trip," I will read that. This book should have been set in Minnesota if the author wanted Truitt to be in railroads and mining around 1907. In Wisconsin it would have been farming, lumber & trapping. The names of the townspeople fit Minnesota ethnically more than Wisconsin. (Carllson? Carlsson) In winter the sun in a greenhouse would never be blazing hot because the angle of the sun is too low. Men have something like 20 or 40 times the amount of free testosterone as women. Testosterone is the hormone of lust. This was a bodice ripper for men, not women. Way too much sex to interest me. I skipped it. If a man made a big enough hole in the ice to fall in he wouldn't be trapped under ice unless it was a river, not a pond. A river would push him underneath unbroken ice. A pond wouldn't. I didn't like the book.

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2009

    Twisted and Romantic

    I enjoyed this book from the very beginning. I felt like the writer introduced you to each character very well and gave great details of each of their backgrounds and yet left each character mysterious in their own way. In the beginning Mr. Truitt appears to be a man hardened by life and its sorrows, has no affection for the people around him but through out the story you see him become vulnerable and dependent on this stranger he has let into his home. Catherine, at first seems to a simple and honest woman and that is the reason she is meeting Mr. Truitt but you quickly find that she is not all she claims to be, she has many dark secrets that unfold as the story does. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense, romance and lots of twists and turns

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2009

    "A Reliable Wife" is a novel that grabs your interest from the first page, and keeps you involved until the last page.

    I enjoyed this book so much that as soon as I finished it, I ordered the nonfiction book "Death in Wisconsin" that the author credits for his inspiration. The scheming characters and the resulting intrigue in the novel seem incongruous with the setting of a small Wisconsin town in the frigid dead of winter in the early 1900s. That's precisely what grabs the reader - you know someone's going to be murdered, but who?

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Unusual story with exceptional writing

    Goolrick takes a plotline that has been done before - the mail-order bride is not what she claims to be - and turns it on a dime. Here, she is not what she claims to be - but neither is the man who ordered her. The author weaves these characters in a way that you are drawn into them along with a compelling storyline that won't let go. And before you know it, it's 3:00 in the morning.

    The first section of the book is a little slow, but soon the pages are flying, and the writing is truly exceptional. Goolrick has a long and steady career in front of him, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future works.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2010

    Auther needs to join the "Get a Geography Book Club"

    The book is set somewhere in Wisconsin. Since I live in Wisconsin, the author's lack of knowledge of the geography and climate in this state ruined the book for me. If it snows as early as October, the snow does not stay on the ground until spring, not even up north. In fact, the leaves are still falling and color is just peaking in the middle of the state. The state does not touch Canada. Lake Superior and the Upper Pennsula of Michigan gets in the way. I understand what the author was doing with the setting, but if he wanted winter to start this early, he needed to go about three of four hundred miles north of Wisconsin. I could not get this discrepency out of my mind as I read the book. I also found it tough to engage with the characters as each one was so depressed. The story did not engage me until almost half way through the book. I only kept reading until that point, because I was going to particpate in a discussion on a cruise I was taking. I also thought that the identity of the "reliable wife's" lover was obvious, and that making one think that she was coming to Wisconsin from Chicago rather than St. Louis was a cheap litrary device to throw the reader off. I suggest a better editor would not have let Mr. Goolrick get away without doing further research.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2010

    Not at all what I thought

    I found the writing style to be very amateurish and vague. The characters were fairly interesting, but the plot line seemed to mainly focus on their sexual relationships in far too much detail. The writing was choppy and very repetitive. This story could have been so much better. I have no idea how it got to be such a highly recommended book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

    Could have been good

    I must say after reading some other reviews I was looking forward to reading this novel. Maybe I should have read some more. I was unfortunately disappointed by this book. The characters were "almost" well rounded, you "almost" cared about them. I WANTED to care...the writing just didn't pull me in, it was kind of flat and just thrown out there.
    The premise of the story...an accomplished and successful business man looking for reliable companionship...not love. A woman already in love but looking for money has a plan to marry and kill him, then starts to care. It had a lot of potential and was close to being a decent book. You were given enough to understand the characters actions but not really care whether either party got what they really wanted and then the ending was just so blah...more of a bad made-for-TV Lifetime Channel ending then a decent read. Sorry!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2010

    A very odd book

    This is a story of sexual deviancy, a man so obsessed with sex that he can think of nothing else. If this were a movie, it would need to be rated "X". Could have been a touching story if not for the overdone sexual musings throughout the book.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2010

    Good plot with surprises

    A study of lonliness, sure. Both Truitt and Catherine have rich internal lives which strongly contrast with their public personae, but the real main character here is the cold, forbidding, vast Wisconsin landscape. The plot drags in some places but overall the author tells a good story and has a pleasing style.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    I really enjoyed this book!

    This is not the type of book I would normally read and I hadn't really heard anything about it before I read it, I just thought it looked and sounded interesting. I got the free ebook sample and with reading the sample pages I was hooked. I could not put it down. I really enjoyed this book, highly entertaining and well written. It kept me guessing which way it would end up and overall I think its a great read!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Compelling

    This is a wonderful ride through the minds of three people who are obsessed with the tangible and the sensual. Retribution, hope, damnation, promise all emerge from the pages. The writing is fluid and floats you through the compelling story. Loved it!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it

    This was an excellent read. Erotic, yet stoic. Murder mystery and love story. I couldn't put it down.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2010

    Predictable and weak, boring and slow. A ridiculous "bodice ripper".

    This book was recommended by a friend. The cover should have given me a clue but there was a favorable quote from NPR.... shame on you Morning Edition. I thought the characters were bizarre and the story line worse. The sexual content was beyond gratuitous and laughable if it wasn't so grotesquely misogynistic. I would have tossed it after the first fifty pages but I was on a plane with nothing else to do. Who is Robert Goolrick? I have to hand it to him for making money on this. I have to remember to never trust bestseller lists but to look for books recommended by authors I like. I sent out a warning to everyone on my email list to not be sucked in by the hype of this book. Trash, IMO!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    He asked for Reliable...not honest.

    Although from the moment she stepped off the train, Catherine Land's storey was just that...a tale of fiction, Ralph Truitt was nothing but honest and forthright from the start. Perhaps that's why she was finding it so difficult to kill him.
    This storey has it's predictible and yet many unpredictable turns in its landscape. I went into it with an open mind, not really knowing much about it or the author...finding that I just couldn't wait to turn the next page and the next! If I had to put it down, I wanted to pick it right back up again. The characters are so obnoxious and selfcentered, yet also so sad and vulnerable that you can't help but want to know more about them.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2010

    Too much sexual content!

    I was greatly disappointed with this book. I picked this book up with interest of following a story of a man placing an add for a "reliable wife", knowing that she would not be one. My complaint about this book: the author spent too much time writing about sexual matter. The storyline was good and I would have enjoyed the book if everyother page was not filled with sexual encounters or sexual thoughts of the characters. There was so much more that he could have focused on and feel the story could have gone deeper if he hadn't spent so much time on sex. My only reason for giving it two stars is that there was an intersting storyline.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Despair dancing with hope

    Goolrick's novel is a heart-wrenching suspenseful tale of betrayal, rage, and attempted murder. It is also an exquisite testimony to love and forgiveness. The characters are fallen and tortured by their own sins yet as the reader I fell in love with Ralph and Catherine anyway and longed for the healing of their hearts and redemption of their souls. I empathized with the gravity of their wretched condition: despair over what *is*, dancing alongside the delicate hope of what *could be*. I wept for their sorrows and I championed their sensible and satisfied (if not happy) ending that Goolrick delivers.

    This is a great novel. Buy or borrow it at once.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2010

    This book is all about layers.

    This author has put such energy and time into building his characters. Every one of the leads in this book are deep and have many layers, each of which reveal themselves over the length of the book. This book is full of secrets, lies, love, and money!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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