Our Military Life Blog

A Reliable Wife – Week 4

Catherine has hit the end of her deathly plan. She knows that she can no longer go through life the way she has been living. As she nurses Ralph back to health, she enlists the help of Mrs. Larsen. The women are determined to not lose Ralph. Catherine decides to head back to Chicago to find the medicines needed to heal her husband, and enlists the help of India, the one person she knows that she can trust to help her find what she needs. With the evidence of her crime disposed of and burned, she sets about on the path of rectification. In Chicago, with the medications needed to help Ralph recover, she decides to bury the past that she has held onto for so long. With the realization that she has fallen in love with her husband, she decides to work on the future instead of the past. With her entire family dead and nothing holding her back, the future beckons with a promise that she has never known before. That hope that she has never known pushes her forward. She feels at peace, something that had never been hers.

When Catherine sends a telegram to Antonio, he comes running home hoping to find his father dying. Instead, he finds him in recovery mode. Ralph is determined to make a fresh start with his son, but Antonio resists him at each turn. As they move through their days, the veiled barbs and the sarcastic comments seem to do nothing to Ralph. The belief that Ralph was responsible for the death of his mother is the one driving force he has left, and Antonio is determined to make him pay for it. He thinks of his beautiful mother, and the life they had, and how things should have been. Instead everything has gone wrong.

Antonio loves to make Catherine uncomfortable.  He begins to turn up and bug her through the day, and she pushes him to get out and enjoy the money that his father has given him.  He begins to buy things for the fun of it, but nothing more. When he takes up with a local widow, Catherine hopes he might try and settle down. Instead of settling down, Antonio ends the relationship, which prompts the young woman to end her life.

Catherine knows that a confrontation is coming, and the threats that Antonio made when she was in Chicago the first time are ever present in her mind. She is just waiting for the truth to drop and Ralph to throw her out of the house. The secret that she is keeping is the only thing keeping her grounded. She does not know how much longer she can hide it. Then one night, everything goes wrong and Catherine knows that someone will not make it out alive..

This week we are reading Chapters 20-25


  1. Why do you think Catherine has such a change of heart when it comes to killing her husband?
  2. The small town that they live in seem to have a lot of people who suffer from different depressions and end up hurting or killing themselves. Why do you think this happens?
  3. Which characters did you like or hate?
  4. What did you hope would happen in the book that did not? Were you surprised by anything?
  5. What did you think of the book?