Ralph Truitt, a wealthy widower in his 50s, places an advertisement in the paper for “a reliable wife.” Catherine Land sends a letter and in the following correspondence between the two eventually sends a photograph. After writing for several months, Truitt sends a rail car to bring her from Chicago. However, when she arrives, she is not the woman in the photograph. Since those at the railroad station are aware of who Truitt is waiting for, he feels that he must take her with him. On the way home, the carriage horses are spooked in the winter storm and Truitt is seriously injured. Catherine spends several days nursing him because according to her plan he can’t die yet. Slowly Catherine’s background and plan in marrying Truitt are revealed. What she intends to do is shocking but not so shocking as why. And yet, when it comes time to carry out her plan, she has doubts and must contend with conflicting thoughts and emotions.
This book is a compelling read as the author slowly reveals the backgrounds of the major characters. Very much a psychological drama, the book is also very sensual. The frozen Wisconsin landscape also plays a role in the story.
Reviewed by ch, 5/09. Other reviews by ch.