Title: A Reliable Wife
Author: Robert Goolrick
A Reliable Wife is billed as a "gripping page turner" and since I'd read that all-caps endorsement on the back cover before plunging into the book, I probably should have been smart and waited to read the last page until I actually got there. Instead, I read it about 1/3 of the way through (I've been persuaded by all the non-linear narratives I've read lately that it doesn't really matter if I read the end last, I guess). Anyway, since this is a straightforward beginning-to-end kind of story, I should have waited. Because once I knew what was going to happen, all I had left to read for was how it happens. And now that I think of it, Catherine Land, the "reliable wife" uses a similar analogy when she starts her journey to marry Ralph Truitt-- she knows the beginning, she knows how she wants the story, to end, she just doesn't know how she'll get from one point to the other.
What Catherine doesn't expect, when she sets off on her journey to marry and murder rich Ralph, is that both she and he will be changed irrevocably. She doesn't expect to find grace or love or humanity up in the frozen woods of northern Wisconsin. For that reason, I really liked the book. I liked seeing the changes that take place in Catherine and in Ralph, I liked reading about a story where people who have done bad things, and contemplated doing worse, can change. And now I've probably given too much away. Just don't read the last page first.