A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
This book is: entertaining in a made-for-tv-movie way.
Other elements: hidden agendas, infidelity, seduction, sex with inappropriate people, poison, snow.
Read it: if you want a sordid, easy read.
Overall rating: 6.25/10
Oh, this book. I think I almost bought it an airport once, and so I recognized the name when I saw it at the library. “A book I once considered buying in an airport” actually tells you most of what you need to know about A Reliable Wife.
The description claims that this novel has “echoes of “Wuthering Heights” and “Rebecca.” I did not find that to be the case, except in that there was a large house and bleak rural landscapes.
This book tells a dramatic, PG-13 story in a perfectly acceptable way. There are family betrayals, countesses turned prostitute who may or may not have been murdered after birthing sons bent on revenge, oysters, champagne, drugs, gardens, caged pet birds that sing. I wasn’t rushing home to read it, but I enjoyed the brain vacation each time I sat down with it. Pairs decently with a glass of wine at the end of a stressful workday.
There’s a fair amount of sex, but not very graphic, for the most part. The characters also spend a whole lot of time thinking about their desire to have sex. Especially the hero, who is prone to having flashbacks to dalliances he had in the past. The main characters are also all fascinated by tragedy. They perform a daily ritual of scanning the newspaper for reports of murder, arson, reports of people losing their marbles. I think it’s mostly foreshadowing, but it’s an interesting character trait.
There was one part to this book that I actively disliked. At one point there is a rape, and I thought the author handled it badly. It is sort of glossed over, as if the attacking character had done something rude and the other characters – including the woman who is raped and her husband, who walks in on it – seem sort of offended and then go on with their lives.
If you feel like reading this book, you might as well. If you pick another book in the airport bookstore instead, you’re not missing all that much.