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Monday, August 8, 2011

A Reliable Wife – What would you do for love?

A Reliable Wife; a novel written by Robert Goolrick with the premise what would you do for love? 
The novel follows Ralph Truitt, a wealthy middle-aged man looking for a wife by placing an advertisement in the newspaper.  The book stars with him standing at the train station, waiting to meet his mail-order bride, Catherine.  

From the beginning, I wanted the best for Ralph Truitt.  He’s lonely and somewhat sad, he’s loved yet been abandoned and my heart ached for him.  He watches others, observes families in his community, couples that are in love or not, families divided, babies born, babies that die.  The time is the early 1900’s; an era where people fight poverty, illness and brutal Wisconsin winters.  He employees most the people in his small wintry town and with all the earthly things he will ever needs he doesn’t have the one thing he wants- love. 

I wanted his new bride to be good and honest, to be what Ralph Truitt deserves, but she’s nothing like that at all.

Catherine’s motive to marry Ralph Truitt is difficult to swallow, but even with her evils, I learned to love his bride, even cheer for her, for love.  I was able to read about her past, what she’d been through as a young girl, poor and orphaned; a self-made woman who does grow to love Ralph Truitt.

It’s not often I read a book written from a male perspective and it’s somewhat refreshing.  How men think, how the react, how they feel; it made me look at my own husband differently; understand him better and not be so quick to judge. No newsflash here that men think differently from woman, but Ralph’s outlook on devastation, the cruelties of life are not what I expected.  When I thought he’d react with anger, he reacts with compassion.  When I thought he was being deceived, he was aware of the lies all along.  When I thought Catherine was in charge, it was only because he was submissive.

And it’s not an accident the storyline takes place in Wisconsin, during long winter months of solitude, dormant plants and a white barren landscapes.  This all adds to the great need for Ralph and Catherine to find love in each other.

Ralph’s money is used for all the wrong reasons.  For a man with little needs, his wealth is an obstacle in his path to love.  He hides behind his beautiful suits and well-pressed shirts.  He only has the finest things in life, but really, they have no value to him at all.  He gives money when he should give more of himself, but in the end, I learned Ralph is a selfless man. 

Finding love is not easy.  We have to let our walls down and let others in.  At first, Ralph is closed and proper, not willing to share even the slightest part of his true self.  He was prideful and believed love was dead, but opening his heart even to the idea that love was out there made it happen in his life.  It’s amazing what Ralph Truitt does for love and that in the end, it finally does find him.  

A Reliable Wife is suspenseful, dark and brutal.  My life is nothing like that.  My life is full of children with morning kisses, curious eyes and innocent laughter.   Funny, I couldn’t put A Reliable Wife down.  Why is that?  Isn’t it great a book can pull us into another world, let us into the minds of people we may never have any other chance to meet?  

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