A Reliable Wife isn’t a new book, but I’ve only just read it, and it really wasn’t what I expected it to be at all.
It is set in Wisconsin in 1907, and Ralph Truitt is a wealthy, lonely businessman living in the country. He advertises for ‘A Reliable wife’ and Catherine Land answers the ad. But when she arrives on the train, Ralph finds that she is a beautiful woman, and not the homely one whose photo Catherine had sent when she replied to him by mail. He feels duped, and the reasons for her subterfuge take a while to come to the surface, and are quite surprising.
This is quite a sexy book. Catherine had for years indulged in the ‘pleasures of the flesh’ and Ralph himself is a very sensual man. As their tangled histories are revealed Ralph’s reaction to Catherine’s motive is not what I expected.
The whole story is set during a harsh Wisconsin winter, and you really get a feeling of the cold, the stark beauty and the isolation of the house they live in. The writing is very descriptive while not being overburdened with adjectives.
Another bookseller had told me how much she had enjoyed this book, and it took me a while to get to it, but I’m glad I did.