Customer Reviews for

A Reliable Wife

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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    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,

    33 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    Worst book ever!

    I read a book a week and this one tops my list of worst reads ever. I stayed with it thinking it would improve~which it didn't. If you are looking for a depressing read about sex, death, deception and mental illness you should consider reading it. Otherwise don't waste your money. Do NOT recommend.

    31 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Don't be fooled by the first chapter!

    I read the sample first chapter, and I was intrigued. The next couple of chapters were interesting, too, and so I kept reading. By the time I realized that I hated this book, I was 100 pages into it and then felt I had to finish. (I hate it when that happens.)

    The writing drove me crazy. To describe the soon-to-be husband's desire, just about every sentence for 5 pages started with, "He wanted..." As in, "He wanted to speak to her of his desire, he wanted to undress her, he wanted to unbutton, he wanted to see her step out of her chemise, he wanted to lead her to his bed, he wanted to pull back the coverlet, he wanted to hold her face, he wanted to kiss her, he wanted her to want all this and he wanted her to fear it, he wanted her to submit..." This goes on for pages and pages while I was saying to myself, "I get it! He's horny!" And when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I read this incredible sentence:

    "He wanted to slice her open and lie inside the warm blood of her body."

    How romantic! Say what?

    The female lead is more interesting, but still badly drawn. She seems to change her persona just by changing her dress. Characters are briefly introduced and then discarded - I didn't understand why, except maybe to fill in more pages between the "He wanted" and "She thought" sentences. None of the "surprises" surprised me.

    Skip it!

    28 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2010

    Reliable?

    The clerk was raving about this book. For the life of me I can't see why. I will admit I liked his style of writing (It was all that kept me reading.) All anyone thinks about in this book is sex. I'm no prude but it was non-stop. I really didn't care about the characters; I felt they all deserved each other. If this reliable wife had one thought that was her own, maybe I could have bought into the premise. I was totally disappointed with the book. Take a pass on this.

    24 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Liked the plot but not the writing

    The plot seemed so intriguing: an older, rich businessman from early 1900s rural Wisconsin puts a mail-order bride ad in the paper. Answering it is a young and beautiful woman with a mysterious past. She journeys to meet him, and the two try to make a life for themselves in the frozen and desolate countryside. Such an interesting plot, how could this book go wrong?!

    Well...it does, and right from the start. The writing is just awful. I don't mean in a "gosh, this writing style is a bit annoying" kind of way, but in an "how in the heck did this book ever manage to get published?" sort of way. It is truly one of the worst written books I have ever read. And it's not even one specific thing I can mention that was bad, but just an all-over mess. I somehow managed to finish the entire thing (although I admit I skimmed here and there) just because otherwise I would feel guilty for leaving a negative review if I hadn't read it all. So now I can leave my negative review with a clear conscience;-).

    18 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2010

    Terrible!

    This was a hugely disappointing read. I rarely buy books new and prefer them used at 2nd hand stores, but was excited to read the good reviews and the story seemed interesting so I splurged on this one and want my money back. It's very obvious that Mr. Goolrick has no understanding of how to write women and spends WAY too much time writing about sex and not enough on character development. This book should be re-characterized under harlequin fiction!

    13 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2010

    Awful

    This book was truly terrible. Not only was the writing style a bit wonky (he moved from reminiscence to months later with no segue frequently), but the characters were ALL terrible. Well developed, yes. I'll give him that. But it's a story of sad, lonely, and desperate people doing terrible and desperate things. There's no redemption. It really was NOT worth the money. Or the time. Or the brain space required. I've never written a review for a book before, but this book was bad enough that I wanted to warn people- DO NOT READ THIS BOOK!

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2010

    Tedious

    I found this book to be a difficult read, and like other reviewers, I do not understand how it got to be on anyone's best seller list. I continued reading the book in the hopes that it would get better, but it never delivered. The plot was ridiculous, Goolick's writing style was tedious.the book was disappointing to say the least!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Too Freudian

    I would not recomend this book. None of the charecters were likeable the plot was a bit of a reach and it was just a little bit disturbing. I pass books back and forth with family and friends but this one is going strait to the used book store. To much about sexual hangups and to little to find interesting. I like historical fiction and was expecting more about the living conditions day-to-day activities, environment, etc. The main charecter was creapy his "wife" was weak and his son was just boring. I just wouldn't bother with this book. I would have stoped reading but at the time it was the only new book I had available so I'm sorry to say I finished it.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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 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 March 8, 2010

    The worst book I have ever read!!!!!!!!!

    This was just so awful!!! Horrible characters, implausible story. The constant lust filled paragraphs made me think I was reading a Harlequin Romance or such. It was impossible to believe some of the changes in characters as well. Just horrible!!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not a book to read in the winter!

    This was not a book I normally would have choosen to read. It was a book assigned to our book club. I read through most of this book and skimmed it when the details became boring and uninteresting. While I have read other books that were worse than this, I wouldn't bother reading another one from this author again. The setting and characters were dreary and hopeless. There was constant death and depression. I would never recommend reading this book to anyone, especially during the winter months!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2010

    Frustrating

    I have never written a book review but I found this book so frustrating that it compelled me to write one. This book does not have enough dialogue between the characters for you to get to know them and thus it makes you constantly yearn for a climax that you can never reach. The story line has great potential but the constant and never ending narrative leaves you wanting more. I continued reading it out of morbid curiosity and because I hate to leave a book in the middle and not finish what I started. Another thing I found tasteless and uneccesary was the repetitive and incesant mention of sex and the sexual act. I found the language crude and vulgar. I'm no prude, I just think a good writer can get the feeling across without being so specific...

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2010

    Painful

    The one star that I had to choose was too much. I downloaded the audio for this book as it was assigned to our book club. Not having enough time to read it, I listened to about 2/3 of it while running. This had to be one of the worst books I have ever encountered. Constructed of unbelievable, overacting characters and sensational plots - all to entice readers and to sell books? A book that is completely nauseating. This is the last book by this author that I will ever pick.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    Do Not Read

    I would recommend that you do not read this book. It is a waste of time. I did not enjoy the writing style or the plot. You will not care about any of these characters or their lurid life styles. They are all sick and twisted individuals. There are so many great books to read, so do not waste a minute on this trashy novel.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2010

    Yikes! What a miserable book!

    I thought the plot outline sounded interesting. I love novels that have a foot in historical fact. And so it was with great anticipation that I cracked the cover. I read this book while the snows of Northern Illinois were falling. I imagined being tucked in to my sofa, in front of a fire with an excellent, captivating, book. It would be an antidote to the Winter Doldrums. Not so. It was dreary, heavily plotted with boring descripition and heavy handed, gothic eroticism. The author attempts to make his characters flawed humans with the hope of redemption. Instead they are heartless and mean spirited caricatures, so self involved that they leave scant room for empathy. I forced myself to finish the book, but only by skipping paragraphs of plodding wordiness. I regret having spent my hard earned money on this drivel. I had just finished reading "The Book Thief", a book whose every word I savored. I did not want the book to end, unlike "A Reliable Wife", whose end I couldn't come soon enough.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    A Book of Dispair!

    I kept waiting for a glimmer of hope and faith in these three characters. It was too little and/or too late as the story evolved. I do not recommend it unless you want to be depressed by lives with no expectations of any value.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    not worth it

    I had to read this book because my book group picked it. The author seems to have tried to write a literary novel, but it's just a pulpy romance with a lot of angst. Actually, "romance" is the wrong word, because there's nothing romantic here. The characters are one-dimensional and the writing is overly dramatic. The level of sexual obsession of all three main characters just wasn't believable. The random references to people going insane and killing their family members was not put into any context. I've read some excellent novels about the strangeness of the turn of the century, but this doesn't come close.

    If you want a twisty mystery about obsession and betrayal, try Fingersmith, by Sara Waters. If you want a literary novel about love and ruined lives, try Atonement, by Ian McEwan.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2010

    Predictable, Shallow, Duuuullll

    The only "twist" in this novel is something that I predicted the moment the character of Anthony was described - and then it went sorrowfully downhill from then! The author's writing style is not very well developed, and as such, he does a poor job developing realistic characters. In part I, you figure out pretty quickly that the main character is lonely/horny/self-indulgent. Goolrick repeats the fantasies over and over again at nauseum. New characters are introduced more as a way of creating a plot-twist than weaving them into a story that then gets a plot-twist (see for example: Alice, who is not mentioned until quite far along in the book). Goolrick also doesn't let things develop, but rather tells the reader things point blank; for example: the reader is left to wonder if one character actually is 'in love' with another but rather than finding out as the story unfolds, Goolrick point blank writes that he (does/doesn't) love her. (I'm trying to not spoil anything if you do decide to read this!) Terrible read that I drudged through hoping it would get better, and it didn't.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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