Saturday 2 March 2013

Review ~ Heading Out To Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

Heading Out To Wonderful
Hutchinson 4 April 2013
Heading Out to Wonderful


Brownsburg, Virginia in the summer of 1948 is a sleepy place where nothing really happens, and then Charlie Beale enters town with a tin suitcase full of money and a set of butchers knives, and from the first seven words of the opening paragraph, I knew that this book would prove to be something special. At the start of the book, we are told that the story is based on an anecdotal truth which has evolved into myth over time, but as the rawness of passion erupts page by page, the story becomes less anecdotal and much more truthful.

In Heading Out To Wonderful, Robert Goolrick captures the very essence of illicit love. The lyrical beauty of his writing style and the eloquence of written emotion, not only sets the book apart, but hurtles it into an extraordinary account of lives changed forever by the anguish of love and loss. The story, at first, seems entirely unremarkable; the efficiency of daily life is maintained as both Charlie and the town of Brownsburg go about their business and start to get to know each other. Small friendships are explored, and gentle trust is established, and yet the petty prejudices of small town America form the doctrine of daily life, and send out whispers of suspicion which will have far reaching repercussions on this mild-mannered town. When Charlie Beale sees Sylvan Glass for the first time, he knows that even as her beauty seeps into his soul, he is irrevocably changed forever.

I was much taken by Robert Goolrick’s previous book, A Reliable Wife, but there is sometimes a small niggle of doubt that a subsequent book will not match up to expectations, however, in Heading Out to Wonderful, he has more than matched the fine example set in his previous work, if anything, I think that this latest book is even better.


My thanks to Newbooks for a review copy of this book

This review is in issue 75nb of newbooks
The magazine for readers and reading groups.


  1. I already had this on my wishlist, Josie, as I enjoyed A Reliable Wife so much. Glad to see that it really is worth reading!


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