Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick

If you're looking for a great summer read, stop right here -- you've found it.
I'm still trying to catch my breath after finishing "A Reliable Wife" today -- yes, it's that good! Robert Goolrick pulls every great trick out of his novelist's hat for this stunning tale, set in early 1900s Wisconsin. His protagonist, Ralph Truitt, posts an ad for "a reliable wife," and the book begins as he anxiously awaits her arrival at the train station.
One of the best things about writing this blog is that it constantly forces me to expand my reading palate. Under normal circumstances I would never pick up a book entitled "A Reliable Wife," (I'm not sure the story is well-served by this title, the word "reliable" just sounds so boring), let alone anything found in the historical romance section. So it's a lovely surprise to discover such exceptional storytelling in an unexpected place. Goolrick gives us the rich historical details, and the evocative descriptions of Wisconsin winters, in what is a fantastic story about forgiveness. This theme weaves through the novel's three main characters' actions as they wrestle with their love and longings. It's a love story with lots of twists, and it's packed with just the right balance of suspense, sex, violence and romance.
Robert Goolrick's prose is so stunning in its descriptions, catching nuance and raw emotion in such a beautiful, almost lyrical way, I could have easily been convinced this novel was written by a woman -- no disrespect to male authors intended. I'm so glad I took a chance on this historical romance -- an unexpected summer pleasure!

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