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A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
A Reliable Wife is how Ralph Truitt phrased his ad for a mail-order wife. Ralph is the wealthy man in a small Wisconsin town and in early 1907, he meets the woman of his choosing, Catherine Land, at the train station. She's not the woman in the photo she sent, and unknown to him, she's come with plans to murder him. Ralph has his own plans for Catherine. He wants to create an image of domesticity to lure his son from an earlier marriage back home. He sends Catherine to St. Louis to see his son. Catherine has her own reasons for her plan, but she becomes sympathetic to her husband's plight. Robert Goolrick's debut novel has received positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "Ultimately, this bizarre story is one of forgiveness. But the path to that salutary conclusion lies through a spectacularly orchestrated crescendo of violation and violence, a chapter you finish feeling surprised that everyone around you hasn't heard the screams, too."