Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Review: A Reliable Wife

Book Review: The Reliable Wife
Country Businessman seeks Reliable Wife. Compelled by practical reasons. Reply by letter.

Rural Wisconsin, 1907. In the bitter cold Ralph Truitt stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement. But when Catherine steps of the train she's not the 'simple honest' woman Ralph is expecting. For she is motivated by greed. But what Catherine has not counted on is that Ralph might have plans of his own for his new wife...

Two of us bookshop ladies (and we're using the term 'ladies' loosely!) have read this and we both really liked it. It's probably not the ideal book to read in sunny weather as it's set in coldest, darkest Wisconsin in the depths of Winter but, as Siobhan quite cleverly points out to me, that makes the lust in the book seem much warmer, and boy is it lusty! It's beautifully written, very atmospheric, slowly and considerately developed, quite poetic at times even.
It is a make-up, in a way, of the seven deadly sins, exhibited by both the main characters, whom you may believe at first are quite clearly delineated in their 'goodness' or badness' but very soon you realise nothing or no one is as simple is that. Rather it's a tangled web of lust, vanity, greed and deceit and depicts how ambition, motivation and desire can lead a person astray.
It's a tale of lonlieness and love, but not traditional love as you expect in movies and literature, more a gothic, wicked and tense love affair that, in many ways, is more real, than what we're accustomed to.
This book deserves it's place on the shelf of American Literature.

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