Title: A Reliable Wife
Author: Robert Goolrick
Publisher: Algonquin, March 2009
Summary: Robert Goolrick resurrects the Gothic romance! This book is so dark, suspenseful, sensual, and scary that I’m not quite sure how to begin to explain it, accept to say that is absolutely fabulous. It’s 1907 Wisconsin, the dead of winter, and everything is dark, frozen, covered with snow. Ralph Truitt stands on the platform of the train station, awaiting the arrival of his new wife-to-be under the watchful eyes of practically everyone who lives in his small rural town (that is everyone who hasn’t gone murderously insane.) Catherine Land sits on the train, having answered Truitt’s ad in the newspaper, on her way to marry him. She says goodbye to her past, literally throwing the remnants of it out the window of the private railway car he has sent for her (yes, he’s that rich). We don’t know much, but we know that Catherine is definitely not who she’s pretending to be, and that’s only the beginning of all of the terrible secrets buried in this book.
Part DuMaurier, part Poe, part Bronte (and even a little bit part Stephen King), Goolrick has masterfully created a suspenseful tale that will leave you breathless, really. He writes for all of the senses, and brings us to a world that is simply tragic and utterly beautiful.
Recommended by: Mary, Branch Reference
Title: The Leisure Seeker
Publisher: William Morrow, January 2009
Summary: The Leisure Seeker isthe second book by Mr. Zadoorian. He wrote Second Hand,which was an ABA Booksense 76 selection, a Barnes & Noble Award Finalist, and the winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award.
This book is a charming little read about an elderly couple who flee across country against the wishes of doctors and family members. It starts off a little roughly but soon the reader is engaged in the adventure of a couple married sixty years who are determined to visit Disneyland one last time. There are no real surprises along the way save for some nice words of sentimental wisdom. Nevertheless I did find myself rather moved. The end of the story has a twist but not altogether unexpected.
Recommended by: Karen, Deputy Town Librarian
Title: The Sound of Butterflies
Author: Rachael King
Summary: Thomas Edgar, an amateur naturalist, joined an expedition to the rainforests of the Amazon determined to be the first to capture the elusive butterfly he calls “Papilio Sophia.” He returns home several months later a changed man. Having deteriorated both physically and mentally, he is either unwilling or unable to speak. His young wife Sophie sets out trying to solve the mystery of what happened to her husband in a desperate attempt to bring him back to his former self. Slowly, we learn of the atrocities that befell Thomas and his fellow travelers in the Brazilian Amazon, culminating with the traumatic event that renders Thomas speechless.
This wonderful debut novel from New Zealander Rachael King takes us from turn of the century London to the rainforests of Brazil. Through letters, diary entries, and multi-character narration, we experience the social constraints of London, the dark side of the booming rubber industry of the Amazon, and the perils found in the wilds of the rainforest.
Who will like this book?: Historical fiction and adventure readers.
If you like this, try this: The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
Recommended by: Mary, Reference Librarian