Tag Archives: a reliable wife

Giveaway: A RELIABLE WIFE and BLEEDING HEART SQUARE

Are you in the mood for a dark thriller-type book? If so, I am giving away two of them.

The first is Bleeding Heart Square, by Andrew Taylor. From Amazon:

Taylor British author Taylor springs a number
of well-timed and well-planned surprises in this briskly paced thriller
set in November 1934. Fed up with the slights and slaps of her husband,
well-to-do Lydia Langstone decides to room temporarily with her father,
whom she hasn't seen since she was a toddler, in his seedy boarding
house in London's Bleeding Heart Square. Lydia soon finds out that papa
is in the pocket of landlord Joseph Serridge, a darkly charismatic man
skilled at manipulating others. Serridge is being investigated by
another tenant, journalist Rory Wentwood, for his involvement in the
disappearance of Philippa Penhow, the house's former owner. As Lydia
helps Rory in his delvings, she uncovers a tangled skein of scandal and
deadly intrigues stretching back decades and involving many of those
near and dear to her. A hasty finale is the only misstep in this
otherwise satisfying period piece.

I received this book in the mail from HarperCollins (Hi FTC!), but my TBR list is so long that I'd like to pass it along to someone else.

The second book is A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick. I read this book earlier this year and reviewed it here. It too is dark and suspenseful. From Amazon:

Goolrick Set in 1907 Wisconsin, Goolrick's fiction debut gets off to a slow, stylized start, but eventually generates some real
suspense. When Catherine Land, who's survived a traumatic early life by
using her wits and sexuality as weapons, happens on a newspaper ad from
a well-to-do businessman in need of a "reliable wife," she invents a
plan to benefit from his riches and his need. Her new husband, Ralph
Truitt, discovers she's deceived him the moment she arrives in his
remote hometown. Driven by a complex mix of emotions and simple animal
attraction, he marries her anyway. After the wedding, Catherine helps
Ralph search for his estranged son and, despite growing misgivings,
begins to poison him with small doses of arsenic. Ralph sickens but
doesn't die, and their story unfolds in ways neither they nor the
reader expect. This darkly nuanced psychological tale builds to a
strong and satisfying close.

Algonquin sent me (Hi FTC!) the paperback version of A Reliable Wife, but I've read it, so I'd like to pass it along too. 

If you'd like to win these two books, leave me a comment below, and be sure to leave your email address so I know how to reach you. I will pick a name on Sunday January 3.

Good luck!

A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick

Goolrick A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick got a lot of attention on book blogs this spring. It’s a dark but fiery book about a love triangle – Ralph, a lonely, rich man in rural Wisconsin; Tony, the son he abused as a child; and Catherine, a mysterious woman who answers Ralph’s ad looking for “a reliable wife”. Without spoiling anything more – A Reliable Wife is, at its core, about love, passion and loyalty, and how these three can drive people to extreme measures.

I didn’t love this book. I had read a lot about the twists and turns, the suspense and the intrigue, and while that was all true, there were some things I just didn’t like about it. Goolrick’s writing is descriptive and dramatic, but the narration became repetitive and inconsistent at times. Characters would undergo total transformations within a page or two, which was jarring. Ralph and Tony were obsessed with sex, to the point where it got boring to read about it. The whole book took place over about 9 months, but it feltlike years had passed based on the descriptions in the book of monotony and repetition as well as the character development. It all just seemed inconsistent.

I enjoyed some of the historical background – the descriptions of St. Louis and Wisconsin at the turn of the century, as well as the period detail. And I found it to be a compelling read, while I was in the midst of it. I wanted to know what would happen next and I was eager to pick the book up whenever I could. But in the end, it was unsatisfying. I found it unnecessarily dramatic – many reviews have used the word “heavy-handed” – and that it ultimately didn’t make a lot of sense.

Many others really enjoyed this book, so I may not be in the majority on this one. (Wouldn’t be the first time!!)

Here are some reviews I found helpful:

Life Is Too Short To Read Bad Books - she didn’t love it

Bookworm with a View – check out the Q&A with the author

A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore - she didn’t love it

S. Krishna’s Books – she was a big fan

My Friend Amy’s Books – she found it “brilliant”

Devourer of Books – she called it “fantastic”

A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick

I read a review of A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick on Booking Mama this week, and while it's not the type of book I'd usually pick up, the review was very compelling. From Amazon:

Goolrick Set in 1907 Wisconsin, Goolrick's fiction debut gets off to a slow, stylized start, but eventually generates some real suspense. When Catherine Land, who's survived a traumatic early life by using her wits and sexuality as weapons, happens on a newspaper ad from a well-to-do businessman in need of a 'reliable wife,' she invents a plan to benefit from his riches and his need. Her new husband, Ralph Truitt, discovers she's deceived him the moment she arrives in his remote hometown. Driven by a complex mix of emotions and simple animal attraction, he marries her anyway. After the wedding, Catherine helps Ralph search for his estranged son and, despite growing misgivings, begins to poison him with small doses of arsenic. Ralph sickens but doesn't die, and their story unfolds in ways neither they nor the reader expect. This darkly nuanced psychological tale builds to a strong and satisfying close.

So here's what Booking Mama said:

I cannot rave enough about this book — it's riveting. Mr. Goolrick is an extremely gifted writer, and I was blown away by the way he told this story. I'm not exactly sure how to describe his writing style, but to say it's almost understated. Every word was carefully chosen for a reason and to evoke a particular feeling. His descriptions of the Wisconsin countryside and the town's inhabitants are just perfect — I could visualize the desolate, snow-covered countryside and even understand how some of the people in this town went mad.

Here's the whole review.

Reading Group Guides has a post by three librarians about A Reliable Wife, along with some questions for book club discussion.

Anyone else out there read this? S. Krishna – do you have a review coming out?