“The night before, just before she slept, she suddenly saw herself as if from above, lying in her bed, the chill of loneliness and death all around her like a nimbus of disconsolation. She hovered in the air, watching herself. She had felt, and still felt that she would die unless someone could find the sweetness to touch her with affection. Unless someone would appear to shelter her from the storm and of her awful life.”
Catherine Land was on the verge of despair when she spied a notice in the newspaper. A gentleman from Wisconsin was looking for a “reliable wife.” The story takes place at the dawn of the twentieth century. This period of great change and restlessness is entirely appropriate for this story of three characters, who desire for a promising future, but can’t seem to let go of the past.
Upon first read, it was definitely a page-turner, filled with twists and turns and lurid affairs. While I enjoyed it, I didn’t realize the depth of Goolrick’s tale until two-thirds of the way through the book. It’s about saving oneself, saving others, and ultimately realizing that redemption isn’t always within our own control. It’s also about the challenges we all face as human beings. We will all suffer at some point in our lives, and that pain threatens to push us over the edge. We are all fragile, and because of that delicateness, we need each other.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2009