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A Reliable Wife

A Novel

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About the Book

#1 New York Times bestseller
USA Today bestseller

A beautiful yet devious woman responds to a newspaper ad for “a reliable wife”—but finds she is not the only one harbouring secrets and a dark hidden agenda.

Rural Wisconsin, 1907. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for “a reliable wife.” But when beautiful Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she’s not the “simple, honest woman” that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man’s devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt—a passionate man with his own dark secrets—has plans of his own for his new wife.

Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways. A Reliable Wife is a tale of suspenseful seduction, of love and madness, of longing and murder, played out in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.

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Critical Praise

“A glittering, poisoned ice cube of a tale . . . eminently readable.” —Christian Science Monitor

“A weighty psychodrama laced with Hitchcockian suspense.” —Time Out New York

“[A] beautifully written, beautifully dark book. Goolrick is a superb writer.” —Chicago Sun-Times

 “A killer debut novel . . . suspenseful and erotic . . . [A] chillingly engrossing plot . . . good to the riveting end.” —USA Today

“A gothic tale of . . . smoldering desire . . . The novel is deliciously wicked and tense, presented as a series of sepia tableaux, interrupted by flashes of bright red violence . . . Once you’ve fallen into the miasma of A Reliable Wife, it’s intoxicating.” —Washington Post

“This engrossing and addictive novel will leave you both chilled and satisfied.” —NPR

“A thrilling, juicy read . . . The writing is beautiful and the story is captivating. It’s a real page-turner.” —Today Show

“A tantalizing pace that will have you flipping faster and faster through the pages . . .  A beautiful and haunting read, a story about all the different manifestations of love―a story that will stay with you.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Completely original. . . .The unforeseen conclusion provides a big payoff for readers of this tension-laden debut from a promising new talent.” —Booklist

“A sublime murder ballad that doesn’t turn out at all the way one might expect.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This darkly nuanced psychological tale builds to a strong and satisfying close.” —Publishers Weekly

“I was totally captivated by A Reliable Wife. Raw and lyrical at the same time, Robert Goolrick’s wonderful novel grips the reader with its complex and beautiful story.” —Sandra Brown

“A rousing historical potboiler, an organic mystery rooted in the real social ills of turn-of-the-century America. . . with characters as sensitive, as tortured as any contemporary souls. . . . As surprising, and as suspenseful, as any beach read.” —Boston Globe

“Psychosexual, psychopathic, psycho-everything: Goolrick is out to thrill.” —Independent (UK)

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443454841
  • ISBN 10: 1443454842
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 12/12/2017
  • Pages: 320
  • List Price: 21.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: FICTION / Literary

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

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