My book review on A Reliable Wife, a first novel by Robert Goolrick, is up on PopMatters. A sample:

A Reliable Wife is the first novel by Robert Goolrick, whose previous memoir The End of the World as We Know It dealt with his abusive childhood. Set in 1907, the novel is about Ralph Truitt, a wealthy man in a small Wisconsin town who has put an ad in the newspaper for “a reliable wife.” But Catherine Land, the woman who gets off the train to marry him, is anything but. She carries with her a blue bottle of arsenic that she will use to murder Truitt and take all his money. Catherine wants “love and money” in this life, and while Truitt supplies the money, the love must be with her “useless and beautiful lover,” who she has left behind her in the big city.

The tone Goolrick establishes here is florid and descriptive with moments reminiscent of Jane Eyre, if that book were set in America and if Jane Eyre were an opium-smoking prostitute. Certainly the frozen landscape of rural Wisconsin works as well as the moors of England to portray isolation and severity. But this gothic landscape …

Cliffhanger! Read the rest here.

Leave A Comment

Recommended Posts

I’m A Master Gardener!

After five-months of practicums, weekly classes, and a grueling 100-question exam, I graduated from the Sonoma County Master Gardener program! Here I am with my … certificate? Degree? Anyway, I’m a Master Gardener now.