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In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her homes previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this womans life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husbandand what it means to be a wife fighting for her place In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society. When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home’s basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner–1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life–including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother. Soon Alice learns that while baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister–even dangerous–side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.


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In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her homes previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this womans life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husbandand what it means to be a wife fighting for her place In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society. When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home’s basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner–1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life–including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother. Soon Alice learns that while baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister–even dangerous–side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.

30 review for Recipe for a Perfect Wife

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    3.5 stars A modern woman who is of the contentious type is often amenable to love and reason. If she will only listen quietly--a process that is painful to her--you may firmly, rationally, and kindly convince her she is not always in the right. Walter Galichan, Modern Woman and How to Manager Her (1910). A reluctant housewife in the present finds herself drawn to a housewife from the 1950s in Recipe for a Perfect Wife. In the early 1950s, Nellie, an early 20 something has married Richard, a 3.5 stars “ A modern woman who is of the contentious type is often amenable to love and reason. If she will only listen quietly--a process that is painful to her--you may firmly, rationally, and kindly convince her she is not always in the right.” Walter Galichan, Modern Woman and How to Manager Her (1910). A reluctant housewife in the present finds herself drawn to a housewife from the 1950s in Recipe for a Perfect Wife. In the early 1950s, Nellie, an early 20 something has married Richard, a man in his mid-thirties. Richard swept Nellie off her feet and she thought that she had found her prince charming, but as their marriage progresses, Nellie realizes that she married a controlling and abusive man who cares more about appearances than his wife. In 2018, Alice and her husband, Nate, move from NYC to a suburban money pit. Ali, who was fired from her high profile job, decides she will play the doting wife to cover up the lies she told her husband about the demise of her career. Once she and Nate move into their new home, more and more lies are told throwing their marriage into a tailspin. Each chapter starts with an excerpt from books written from the late 19thc. To the early 20th century with advice on how to be the perfect wife. I loved reading these little snippets, they were horrifying and fascinating at the same time. Other chapters begin with a recipe, some of which sound disgusting, and other delicious. These were my favorite parts of the book. The narrative switches between Nellie and Alice's POV's. I loved Nellie’s story and character, but Alice’s character wasn’t fully developed. Her storyline was predictable and filled with cliches. I also felt Nellie’s story could have used another chapter. Overall, I think the plot could have been more complex and nuanced. Even though this was fluffier than expected, in the end, it was an enjoyable and entertaining read. “The average man marries a woman who is slightly less intelligent than he is.That’s why many brilliant women never marry. They do not come in contact with sufficiently brilliant men, or fail to disguise their brilliance in order to win a man of somewhat less intelligence.” Dr. Clifford R. Adams, Modern Bride (1952) I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley/Edelweiss (duplicate request) in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    BernLuvsBooks (Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas)

    3.5 Alternating Timelines & Secrets Filled Stars (rounded up) for Recipe for a Perfect Wife Told in alternating timelines Recipe for a Perfect Wife , tells the stories of dissatisfied wife Alice Hale who has given up a career in publicity to be a writer upon relocating with her husband to the suburbs. Upon discovering a vintage cookbook buried in a box in her new home's basement, Alice becomes captivated by the cookbooks previous owner--1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way 3.5 Alternating Timelines & Secrets Filled Stars (rounded up) for Recipe for a Perfect Wife Told in alternating timelines Recipe for a Perfect Wife , tells the stories of dissatisfied wife Alice Hale who has given up a career in publicity to be a writer upon relocating with her husband to the suburbs. ⁣ ⁣ Upon discovering a vintage cookbook buried in a box in her new home's basement, Alice becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner--1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life--including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ While the recipes seem harmless Nellie's secrets appear to be anything but. Alice uncovers a sinister side to Nellie’s marriage as she faces mounting pressures in her own relationship. Their marriage has become one in which the truth is an inner monologue with so much left unsaid. I struggled with Alice's character and many of her actions (hence the lower rating) but I was absolutely taken with Nellie and her backstory. ⁣ I was intrigued by this book's format including (antiquated and at times laugh out loud hilarious) advice to women from 19th century publications. We’ve come a long way since then, yet many of our battles remain the same don’t they? ⁣ Finally, the recipes - what a treat! Some of them made me roll my eyes in disgust while thinking, who would want to eat that? Others, I admit had me curious to try and see how they'd fare. Overall, the plot was predictable and a bit cliche (I think that was the point though) but it was an entertaining read. Thank you to Edelweiss, Dutton and Penguin Publishing Group for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest review. ⁣

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Every woman needs a good secret or two. Heres some blatant honesty for you: The only reason I put my name on the library list for this release was because the cover reminded me of the vintage e-cards that I find hilarious . . . . Little did I know the story itself could have easily been inspired by those snarky little snaps that I find so amusing. Aspiring author Alice is a modern day housewife (not necessarily by choice, but youll Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Every woman needs a good secret or two. Here’s some blatant honesty for you: The only reason I put my name on the library list for this release was because the cover reminded me of the vintage e-cards that I find hilarious . . . . Little did I know the story itself could have easily been inspired by those snarky little snaps that I find so amusing. Aspiring author Alice is a modern day “housewife” (not necessarily by choice, but you’ll find out more about that if you read the book). She and her husband Nate have just moved from the Big Apple to suburban life, bought a fixer upper and are hopeful Alice will soon be barefoot and pregnant . . . . Nellie lived in the same house back in the ‘50s when it was fresh as a daisy with her husband Roger. They were the picture perfect couple . . . . . When Alice stumbles upon a box of old magazines, Nellie’s family cookbook and is later gifted a pile of letters from Nellie to her mother that the neighbor has saved for ages, she begins channeling her own inner domestic goddess and finds inspiration for her potential book. But the more she reads, the more she uncovers . . . . . I really didn’t expect this book to suck me in the way it did, but boy howdy did it. From the dual narratives to the “helpful hints” on how to be a good wife rather than some shrieking harpy to the recipes, I just couldn’t stop turning pages. I actually have a recipe box rather than book with notes like the ones in here, had to call my mother-in-law for backup at 5:00 a.m. the first Thanksgiving I cooked on my own because I had no clue what the eff “oleo” was (that was before Google since I am a dinosaur), and 100% have been horrified by the vast amounts of gelatin-based “salads” and “high-end” appetizers my Grandmother chose to pass down just like some contained in this book . . . “It’s called ‘Hollywood Dunk.’ An appetizer from the fifties.” “What’s in that?” “Deviled ham. Chives. Onion. Horseradish. It’s chopped up deli ham mixed with mayonnaise, mustard, hot pepper sauce, and salt and pepper, and then you blend it a bit. Then you add the chives, onion, and horseradish. Oh, and the last thing is whipped cream. Can’t forget that.” “Why would you make this? To eat?” (In case you want to make this sure-to-be-delicious concoction for your next Bunco gathering, you serve it with a big ol’ bowl of chips.) I definitely don't think this will be a winner for everyone, but I was completely enthralled by the whole dang thing and I’m giving it all the Stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This is probably the fastest Ive finished a book all year. I considered DNF'ing, but I'm glad I stuck it out. It had a lot more depth than what I was anticipating and even though I didn't particularly like Alice (the present day MC), I appreciated her gusto by the end of the book. Dual storylines don't always work for me and this one was an exception. Usually, I find myself loving one perspective and disliking the other, but this was pretty equal. Once the book found it's groove, I couldn't flip This is probably the fastest I’ve finished a book all year. I considered DNF'ing, but I'm glad I stuck it out. It had a lot more depth than what I was anticipating and even though I didn't particularly like Alice (the present day MC), I appreciated her gusto by the end of the book. Dual storylines don't always work for me and this one was an exception. Usually, I find myself loving one perspective and disliking the other, but this was pretty equal. Once the book found it's groove, I couldn't flip the pages fast enough. Besides being an interesting story, I really enjoyed it for it's education of the 50's. Not only by what we were reading from the characters, but the author put recipes and snippets from publications of the time in as well so as to be fully immersed as though we were there. I think this book also would be a good book club pick since there is a lot to discuss in the things that changed for women and the things that didn't. Thanks to Edelweiss, Dutton and Karma Brown for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book. Review Date: 12/17/19 Publication Date: 12/31/19

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Library Overdrive Audiobook, read by Jorjeana Marie, and Mozhan Marno . a 9 hour and 15 minute audio-listen! Friends were saying this book was good or .they heard it was good. After a few hours of listening , and skimming, I had enough! The men in this book were made out to be scumbags (dominate, abuse, rape) The women took control of their lives by keeping secrets, lying, and nagging! I couldnt stand the sugary-milk, butter, and sprinkle-cooking-chatter. I dont want to read listed ingredients Library Overdrive Audiobook, read by Jorjeana Marie, and Mozhan Marno …. a 9 hour and 15 minute audio-listen! Friends were saying this book was good …or …….they heard it was good. After a few hours of listening , and skimming, I had enough! The men in this book were made out to be scumbags — (dominate, abuse, rape) The women took control of their lives by keeping secrets, lying, and nagging! I couldn’t stand the sugary-milk, butter, and sprinkle-cooking-chatter. I don’t want to read listed ingredients…and be taught how to make a cake in a novel. I could care less about mint green dresses, cardigan sweaters, heels, babies, (or not), or how roses gave much in return. I wasn’t interested in the smoking scenes with or without filters — I didn’t care about the ‘head’ rush of smoking - I didn’t care who smoked or didn’t — I just didn’t want to listen to ‘whining’ about it. …nor did I care if anyone had ‘pleasant-sex’, or not…. ….I especially wasn’t interested in listening to the dreadful dialogue of arguing and nagging. I didn’t care one way or another about the characters, the long winded descriptions, those awful quotes and recipes, — equally disliking the ‘dual/parallel’ past and present stories. I understand that this book was to be in part lighthearted……with humorous marriage advice, and Betty Crocker recipes….. mixed with serious themes about suffocating lives — making for a great book-club-pick-for women to discuss…. However… I loathed everything about this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kubica

    RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE masterfully bridges the lives of two women, living sixty years apart, who refuse to fall victim to the patriarchy. While Karma Browns signature style remains, its laced with something sinister and dark. A brilliant, brooding, timely novel, fraught with tension, that packs a punch. Brown knows how to keep readers riveted until the very last page. RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE masterfully bridges the lives of two women, living sixty years apart, who refuse to fall victim to the patriarchy. While Karma Brown’s signature style remains, it’s laced with something sinister and dark. A brilliant, brooding, timely novel, fraught with tension, that packs a punch. Brown knows how to keep readers riveted until the very last page.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    An old house, an old cookbook, notes in the cookbook that reveal the life of Nellie, and Alice who has some secrets of her own is what the reader finds in this lovely read. We meet Alice who was fired from her job because of something she leaked and we learn of a box she finds that is filled with books, magazines, and a cookbook that inspires Alice to try some of the recipes. Along with the cookbook, Alice finds notes about the life of a woman, Nellie, who lived during the 1950s. The cookbook An old house, an old cookbook, notes in the cookbook that reveal the life of Nellie, and Alice who has some secrets of her own is what the reader finds in this lovely read. We meet Alice who was fired from her job because of something she leaked and we learn of a box she finds that is filled with books, magazines, and a cookbook that inspires Alice to try some of the recipes. Along with the cookbook, Alice finds notes about the life of a woman, Nellie, who lived during the 1950’s. The cookbook helped Alice pass her days since she no longer was working and really didn’t like her new home. Nellie who owned the books was a stay-at-home wife from the 1950's who wasn’t happy and whose husband was a domestic abuser. The stories of Nellie and Alice are told in alternating chapters as Alice finds similarities in their lives and meets the next door neighbor whose mother knew Nellie. Alice was a bit unlikable, but her husband was sweet. Alice’s neighbor found old letters in her basement written by Nellie to her mother and brought them to Alice. Could these old letters trigger an idea for the book Alice was supposed to be writing? RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE is an endearing and nostalgic trip back in time with the letters taking us back to the 1950’s and influencing Alice’s present-day life. Women’s fiction fans, readers who enjoy a dual time line and a story line that keeps you wanting more will enjoy RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE. A truly, enjoyable, makes-you-feel-good read. Loved it. 5/5 This book was given to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was a read that offered something a little bit different. I felt indulged over the chapters, (probably aided by the frequent recipes!) and simultaneously intrigued by how this dual narrative would develop. Set in present day, we meet Alice. At first she seems like she is trying to do good by her husband, Nate, by attempting to keep to what she believes is the image of a perfect wife. (Ladies out there: they do exist and perfection takes the form of many imperfections.) However, it soon This was a read that offered something a little bit different. I felt indulged over the chapters, (probably aided by the frequent recipes!) and simultaneously intrigued by how this dual narrative would develop. Set in present day, we meet Alice. At first she seems like she is trying to do good by her husband, Nate, by attempting to keep to what she believes is the image of a “perfect wife”. (Ladies out there: they do exist and perfection takes the form of many imperfections.) However, it soon transpired that Alice has many secrets that she wishes to keep from her husband. The web of deceit grows and, at its peak, this was when I disliked her character the most. I was uncomfortable with her deception and wanted her to come clean. Towards the closing of the novel, this deceit crumbles and Alice’s growth reflects her new understanding of her role within her marriage to Nate. Running parallel with this narrative is Nellie’s story. A 1950s housewife, we learn that all is definitely not what it seems behind closed doors. She presents the image of perfection yet, it is her husband’s abhorrent behaviour that pushes her to become something that he cannot control. Interestingly, today we would call this an ‘independent woman’ yet, in the 1950s, it would show Nellie breaking the rules of a perfect wife. The two narratives are both interesting and surprising. I admittedly preferred Nellie’s story because I enjoyed how things were not as perceived. Alice is too dishonest for most of the story and I yearned for her to create a close, honest connection with her husband. It was interesting to see how two women dealt with the challenges a relationship can bring, particularly with regards to becoming a mother. Similarities between the two women are rather symbolic. Joined by home and garden, the two women separated by several decades both share similar experiences. The control the man has in a marriage has undoubtedly altered yet, the desire to please from both women remains the same. Alice and Nellie are incredibly alike and I enjoyed how Alice increasingly behaved like a 1950s dutiful housewife through actions and appearance. On the other hand, Nellie’s path leads her to being more independent – a lot like Alice in present day. This was a lovely story with some darkness in it too. This added depth, making it more than just a drama. It is evident that the writer has carried out extensive research in this story and I do wonder if she is partially reflected in Alice (not just because Alice is trying to write a novel). The narrative gently rolled over me in a pleasant way and by the end of the story, I felt like I had close connections with both women. With so many different strands to this story, I believe this should have wide appeal. It’s not just “cutesy” about being a model wife, but more about discovering your true identity – not based on social expectations. I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. With thanks to everyone at Legend Press and Karma Brown for allowing me to participate in this blog tour.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Another great book by Karma Brown! I have to say this one was a little bit more darker than I expected from her. I think she could have easily turned this into a psychological thriller but I like the direction she went with. First off, I love the title and I love the cover! I'm always intrigued about the life of a 1950's housewife so I just had to read this. This has two timelines which I enjoyed equally. Present day and mid 1950's. In present day Alice and her husband Nate want to leave the Another great book by Karma Brown! I have to say this one was a little bit more darker than I expected from her. I think she could have easily turned this into a psychological thriller but I like the direction she went with. First off, I love the title and I love the cover! I'm always intrigued about the life of a 1950's housewife so I just had to read this. This has two timelines which I enjoyed equally. Present day and mid 1950's. In present day Alice and her husband Nate want to leave the hustle and bustle of Downtown Manhattan and decide to go to the suburbs (Greenville) and purchase a house. Alice is feeling a bit lost as she has left her job at a popular publishing house. When she is cleaning up the old house she finds a box full of old 1950's magazines in the basement. Also in the box is an old cookbook. Alice is on a quest to find out who it belonged to and trying to fill up all her extra time she begins to cook some of the old recipes for dinner and becomes entwined with the era. The old cookbook belonged to Nellie who used to live in the house with her husband Richard in the 1950's. Nellie was an excellent cook, fabulous dinner party hostess and a fantastic gardener. She seemed to be the epitome of a 1950's housewife. While Alice keeps investigating Nellie's life could it be it was not so perfect after all? Alice herself has a few secrets up her sleeve. This book makes you really examine how a woman's role in marriage and society has somewhat changed but yet there are still many challenges that are similar. I enjoyed the old recipes that were also included in the story. I thought it was very clever to include at the beginning of each chapter tips for the perfect housewife (from antiquated books on marriage.) I really enjoyed reading this book. My only disappointment might have been the ending. Overall a well written and researched novel. I think Book Clubs will love this one! I'd like to thank NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for granting me access to this Advanced Reader Copy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    If these walls could talk....Recipe for a Perfect Wife is an unputdownable story of two women living in the same house 60 years apart. This story is full of secrets that kept me turning the pages. This is my first book by Karma Brown and I will be checking out her previous books. I also enjoyed the 1950's era recipes!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robyn Harding

    Charming, unique, dark and delicious. I devoured this novel and even learned some kitchen tips and tricks. Highly recommend!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Belle

    Captivating is right. I loved everything about this story, all the way to the acknowledgements - so clever! Karma, please write every secret book you've got bonking around in your head, because I will read them.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I have been a fan of Karma Brown, ever since I was blown away by Come Away with Me. Her novels are powerful and thought-provoking. Recipe for a Perfect Wife has a different feel from her previous novels, as it is a dual narrative shifting between the 1950's and the present. Both Alice and Nellie were interesting and sympathetic characters whom I cared about the entire way through the story. I couldn't put the book down because I just had to know what would happen for both of them. Their lives I have been a fan of Karma Brown, ever since I was blown away by Come Away with Me. Her novels are powerful and thought-provoking. Recipe for a Perfect Wife has a different feel from her previous novels, as it is a dual narrative shifting between the 1950's and the present. Both Alice and Nellie were interesting and sympathetic characters whom I cared about the entire way through the story. I couldn't put the book down because I just had to know what would happen for both of them. Their lives paralleled each other in some ways. Karma's descriptions took me back in time during the 1950's scenes. Everything was easy to visualize in both time periods without having to be overly descriptive. While I didn't like one of the choices Nellie made for herself, I understood why she did it, as well as why Alice made certain choices in her life. This story speaks volumes about women's roles in marriage both in the past and present. It is a great story that will have readers captivated throughout. Movie casting suggestions: Alice: Alison Scagliotti Nate: Brett Dier Nellie: Chloë Grace Moretz Richard: Alan Ritchson Kitty: Sarah Dugdale Sally: Jane Alexander Miriam: Melissa Leo

  14. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This book started out excellent for me but after a while it fizzled and fell a bit flat. I think part of the problem is that I didnt like the main character, Alice. Ive read other books by this author and have loved them so I will definitely read more of her books. It kept me reading and was enjoyable but didnt move me. Thank you to Netgalley for proving me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book started out excellent for me but after a while it fizzled and fell a bit flat. I think part of the problem is that I didn’t like the main character, Alice. I’ve read other books by this author and have loved them so I will definitely read more of her books. It kept me reading and was enjoyable but didn’t move me. Thank you to Netgalley for proving me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bookread2day

    My review on my website. www.bookread2day.wordpress.com. [email protected] bookpage5 My favourite contemporary reading. Dont miss out on reading Recipe For A Perfect Wife as it gave me a real pleasure in reading a mix of Alice Hale and her husband and a cooking book filled with recipes. If you are going to read any contemporary book make a purchase for Recipe For A Perfect Wife you will find the story unputdownable. To be honest Ive been trying to break away from all the crime novels I generally read, so My review on my website. www.bookread2day.wordpress.com. [email protected] bookpage5 My favourite contemporary reading. Don’t miss out on reading Recipe For A Perfect Wife as it gave me a real pleasure in reading a mix of Alice Hale and her husband and a cooking book filled with recipes. If you are going to read any contemporary book make a purchase for Recipe For A Perfect Wife you will find the story unputdownable. To be honest I’ve been trying to break away from all the crime novels I generally read, so Recipe For A Perfect Wife, has given me such enjoyment, that I’m now following author Karma Brown. I really adored reading about Alice Hale and Nat who decided to buy an old house, that feels a little creepy to them, but decide to buy the house. The previous owner didn’t have any realatives to leave the house to. With it creaking sounds, ( just like really all houses have their own sounds) Alice finds in the basement, a cook book from the previous lady owner and cooks her husband recipes from the cook book, she is given some letters from the previous owner. Unfortunately Alice is fired from her job with a lawsuit against her, which she keeps a secret. Writing a novel seems to be a good idea for Alice, but she’s yet to write it, but that’s another secret. With Alice keeping secrets from her husband, what secrets is her husband keeping from Alice? So much happens in this novel It is without question an absolute gorgeous story. A real true must buy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Oakley

    With sharp insights into what it means to be a married woman in America both currently and historically, this novel is beguiling, entertaining and wholly unpredictable. I really think this is Karma's best book yet.

  17. 4 out of 5

    i.

    I think that this book is mainly about the way the situation of married women has changed over time, for the better in most cases. I found the novel captivating but what I loved most were the quotes at the beginning of the chapters. Particularly this one: "The average man marries a woman who is slightly less intelligent than he is. That's why many brilliant women never marry. They do not come in contact with sufficiently brilliant men, or fail to disguise their brilliance in order to win a man I think that this book is mainly about the way the situation of married women has changed over time, for the better in most cases. I found the novel captivating but what I loved most were the quotes at the beginning of the chapters. Particularly this one: "The average man marries a woman who is slightly less intelligent than he is. That's why many brilliant women never marry. They do not come in contact with sufficiently brilliant men, or fail to disguise their brilliance in order to win a man of somewhat less intelligence". (Dr. Clifford R. Adams, Modern Bride,1952) This quote is both hilarious and sad. I recommend this book to married and single women who sometimes have the feeling that men and women are different species. www.theleisurediaries.blogspot.com

  18. 4 out of 5

    ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ

    3.5 Stars This book was magnificently written and was a very enjoyable book to read. It held my interest throughout and delivered a satisfying ending. The characters were believable and the story was too. This book had both dark and bright events, some of which were simple and some more complex but all interesting. Karma Brown has this ability to take you into the thoughts of all her characters and absorb you into the mundane as well as the tragic and joyous aspects of life. I love her detailed 3.5 Stars This book was magnificently written and was a very enjoyable book to read. It held my interest throughout and delivered a satisfying ending. The characters were believable and the story was too. This book had both dark and bright events, some of which were simple and some more complex but all interesting. Karma Brown has this ability to take you into the thoughts of all her characters and absorb you into the mundane as well as the tragic and joyous aspects of life. I love her detailed descriptions and ability to paint vivid images and characters that are ordinary yet magical, shocking, and lovable. The chapters go back and forth between Nellie and Alice's point of view. I loved Nellie’s story and character the most and I wish there were more sections about her. I loved how the author would move seamlessly between story-lines. The characters were interesting and not cliche, as a lot of period books tend to offer. From the description, I thought it would be humorous, but it really wasn't and I don't think the author intended it to be. Thank you NetGalley, Karma Brown Penguin Random House Canada & Viking for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own. #RecipeForAPerfectWife #NetGalley

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)

    Sooooo does the perfect wife even exist? What does that even mean?? How about the perfect husband? Ha! Recipe For a Perfect Wife was way darker than I anticipated ... WHAT A STORY! If I had to concoct a recipe to describe this book it would be a pinch of Stepford Wives, a cup of Betty Crocker with a dash of Big Little Lies. Oh and wine, lots of wine. Told in two timelines, by 2 housewives living in the same house 60 years apart, the juxtaposition of now and then is strikingly similar, and had me Sooooo does the perfect wife even exist? What does that even mean?? How about the perfect husband? Ha!⁣ ⁣ Recipe For a Perfect Wife was way darker than I anticipated ... WHAT A STORY!⁣ ⁣ If I had to concoct a recipe to describe this book it would be a pinch of Stepford Wives, a cup of Betty Crocker with a dash of Big Little Lies. Oh and wine, lots of wine. Told in two timelines, by 2 housewives living in the same house 60 years apart, the juxtaposition of now and then is strikingly similar, and had me deliciously engaged with every chapter.⁣ ⁣ When Alice moves from her professional Manhattan life to secluded and slow Suburbia, she finds an old cookbook in the basement of their old fixer upper. She decides to try out this “housewife thing” and go through Nellie's recipe book, carefully marked with her meticulous notes and comments, to see if being the “perfect wife” is the key to her own happily ever after.⁣ ⁣ She soon learns that Nellies perfect life, was anything but, and the “perfect” wife was hiding a terrible secret. As clues begin to unravel about the former owners life, she starts to realize that no matter what the decade, or how sweet the recipe - it will take more than Baked Alaska and tuna casserole to master the art of being the perfect wife.⁣ ⁣ A really fun and interesting look at general roles in marriage and self-discovery, the book is peppered with 1960’s recipes and silly and snarky (and real!) marriage advice from that time. A wonderful book!⁣

  20. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was a great book! The story is told in alternating timelines, the lives of two women, Alice and Eleanor. Between the antiquated advice for wives and the old fashion recipes, I thought this book was a fun and eye opening read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fluff Smut & Murder

    I couldn't put it down but the ending seemed a little abrupt and odd

  22. 5 out of 5

    Booksandchinooks (Laurie)

    Im a big Karma Brown fan so I was eagerly looking forward to this book. I went into this one knowing it was going to take a different slant than her previous books. Im happy to say that this book, while different, is also very entertaining and kept my interest throughout. The story is told through dual timelines which is a style that I find compelling. We meet two women, Nellie in the 1950s, and Alice in present day. Alice and her husband move into a house previously owned by Nellie. The move I’m a big Karma Brown fan so I was eagerly looking forward to this book. I went into this one knowing it was going to take a different slant than her previous books. I’m happy to say that this book, while different, is also very entertaining and kept my interest throughout. The story is told through dual timelines which is a style that I find compelling. We meet two women, Nellie in the 1950’s, and Alice in present day. Alice and her husband move into a house previously owned by Nellie. The move has Alice at loose ends and as she finds an old cookbook and letters of Nellie’s in the basement she begins to immerse herself in how Nellie lived. As both women have struggles in their marriages we see how each of them deal with the challenges. I was eager to see where their stories would take us. The author has included many recipes from the 1950’s and that was a fun addition to the book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Basic B's Guide

    An unputdownable and delectable story of womens power struggles within a marriage. Told from the perspective of Alice Hale in the current day and Nellies 1950s life we see how both women have to battle to gain control of their fate within their marriages. Its amazing how far weve come only to see that we still have leaps and bounds to make. Likable characters with secrets galore, I gobbled this up in just a few sittings. An unputdownable and delectable story of women’s power struggles within a marriage. Told from the perspective of Alice Hale in the current day and Nellie’s 1950’s life we see how both women have to battle to gain control of their fate within their marriages. Its amazing how far we’ve come only to see that we still have leaps and bounds to make. Likable characters with secrets galore, I gobbled this up in just a few sittings.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    3.5 stars, rounded up I found myself thoroughly captivated by the lives of two women, two wives: Nellie in the 1950s and Alice in the present day. Both women had similar issues with discovering their true identities and selves apart from their roles as a wife. I didn't care for either of their husbands, but I think Brown intentionally made the men more unsympathetic than the women, despite the fact that the women had their own secrets and lies and things they were hiding from their husbands. I 3.5 stars, rounded up I found myself thoroughly captivated by the lives of two women, two wives: Nellie in the 1950s and Alice in the present day. Both women had similar issues with discovering their true identities and selves apart from their roles as a wife. I didn't care for either of their husbands, but I think Brown intentionally made the men more unsympathetic than the women, despite the fact that the women had their own secrets and lies and things they were hiding from their husbands. I loved the incorporation of recipes from the 50s into the narrative from both time periods, and how the nostalgic meals translated to a modern setting. There weren't any major shocks in this book, but it's solidly told women's fiction from an author whose works have become some of my favorites over the past few years. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy Reichert

    I loved this twisty take on marriage.

  26. 5 out of 5

    amanda

    The sun always returnedas long as you were strong enough to wait for it. Im a huge fan of Womens Fiction so when I saw this title available on Netgalley I immediately had to request it. The synopsis was intriguing and Ive always been interested in the lives of women in the 1950s. As we all know, life wasnt fair nor was it easy. Hell, its not fair for us now but weve come a long way and for that we can be grateful. This is a dual narrative between two women. Eleanor Nellie Murdoch the perfect 1950s The sun always returned…as long as you were strong enough to wait for it. I’m a huge fan of Women’s Fiction so when I saw this title available on Netgalley I immediately had to request it. The synopsis was intriguing and I’ve always been interested in the lives of women in the 1950s. As we all know, life wasn’t fair nor was it easy. Hell, it’s not fair for us now but we’ve come a long way and for that we can be grateful. This is a dual narrative between two women. Eleanor “Nellie” Murdoch the perfect 1950s housewife and Alice Hale, a recently fired publicist who moves from NYC to the suburbs with her husband, Nate. Alice and Nellie’s paths collide unexpectedly when Alice moves into the latter’s house and finds her vintage cookbook in the basement. Alice is used to the hustle and bustle of the city and is having more than a hard time adjusting to suburban life. She’s having an even harder time trying to become the woman that Nate wants. Essentially barefoot and pregnant. As we navigate through the story and Nellie’s recipes and letters we not only learn about the uh…creativity of 50s cuisine but the hardships that Nellie faced and maybe a warning to Alice in the form of ham dip. From the beginning this was a fun and interesting read for me. I really enjoyed both of the main characters although Alice at most points did wear on me. I felt for her however. I never felt as though she was able to voice her opinions and she was never given a direct choice with HER body. Nate was very adamant about when they would have a baby and that irked me. A lot. We do see a lot of development with her character later on which is what a book should do. The same occurs with Nellie. She is the epitome of a perfect housewife. She’s beautiful, cooks like a goddess, gardens divinely, has a rich husband. But behind closed doors life isn’t so easy…Her husband is cruel and cheats constantly. She hides faded bruises and longs for a simpler life. Parallel to Alice who longs for her life back in NYC where she can simply go back to her cramped apartment and not worry about garbage pick up day. Overall this was a really enjoyable book. The ending to me was a bit disappointing but I was still satisfied and proud of Alice. It was bittersweet but necessary and we will take NO shit from men especially going into 2020. My dahlias continue to bloom. Thank you very much to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this ARC. All opinions are my own. Be sure to check out more of my reviews at my blog: aelilyreads.com

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ana (inquisitivebookworm)

    Thank you to Dutton and Netgalley for the free book! Told in dual timelines, RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE by Karma Brown was completely engrossing from start to finish. The dual perspective format is split between Nellie, a housewife in the 1950s, and Alice, a housewife in 2018. While decades apart, Alice moves into Nellies old house in the present day, and discovers the young womans secretive letters to her mother. What follows is a parallel narrative between Nellie and Alice, and how each of them Thank you to Dutton and Netgalley for the free book! Told in dual timelines, RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE by Karma Brown was completely engrossing from start to finish. The dual perspective format is split between Nellie, a housewife in the 1950s, and Alice, a housewife in 2018. While decades apart, Alice moves into Nellie’s old house in the present day, and discovers the young woman’s secretive letters to her mother. What follows is a parallel narrative between Nellie and Alice, and how each of them deals with the stereotypes and pressures of being a homemaker in their respective times. What I found most interesting about this novel is the similarities between the anxieties and struggles these women face, despite the obvious time difference. Overall, I think this novel does a great job of showcasing not only how far we’ve come in terms of gender equality, but how far we still need to go. I also found it especially interesting how each chapter begins with quotes taken from magazines and cookbooks on the expected comportment of housewives in the early 20th century. While none of it surprised me, these quotes left me seriously exasperated (which I believe is the intention). Nonetheless, I appreciated these historical tidbits — they helped ground the story in its intended subject, which ultimately revolves around heterosexual marital relations and domestic gender roles. If the history of gender equality in this context is something that interests you (like me!), then I would definitely recommend this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (The Book Club Mom)

    My goodness, this book blew me away! I raced through this novel in just a couple of evenings and stayed up way past my bedtime because I could not turn the pages fast enough. I absolutely love how this story is told! Two married women, two different time periods, one house and LOTS of secrets! Nellie and Alice both live in the same house, but in different decades. Nellie in the mid-1950s, Alice in 2018. Brown gives the reader an up-close and personal glimpse into each womans marital My goodness, this book blew me away! I raced through this novel in just a couple of evenings and stayed up way past my bedtime because I could not turn the pages fast enough. I absolutely love how this story is told! Two married women, two different time periods, one house and LOTS of secrets! Nellie and Alice both live in the same house, but in different decades. Nellie in the mid-1950s, Alice in 2018. Brown gives the reader an up-close and personal glimpse into each woman’s marital relationship. What a clever way to go back in time and compare how women’s roles in a marriage have evolved overtime and how far we still have to go. I loved the transitioning timelines, dual perspectives, little snippets of marriage advice at the beginning of each chapter, and recipes that reminded me of my childhood. Boiled Chocolate Cookies and Tuna Casserole! Umm, yes please. Oh, and porcupine meatballs were even mentioned! I make all three of these recipes for my family regularly! Ha! This wonderful book hits shelves today and I highly recommend it! 5/5 delicious stars for Recipe for a Perfect Wife!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laurie • The Baking Bookworm

    3.5 STARS (rounded to 4) This was a quick read for me, and I was initially drawn to the book because: A) it's written by Karma Brown (I do so adore a Canadian author, eh!) B) I love me a dual narrative C) it focused on the roles of wives in the past and present People who enjoy reading about different eras will get a kick out of the interesting, to downright shocking, 'advice' to married women that greet readers at the beginning of each chapter. Brown also shares several old-fashioned 1950's 3.5 STARS (rounded to 4) This was a quick read for me, and I was initially drawn to the book because: • A) it's written by Karma Brown (I do so adore a Canadian author, eh!) • B) I love me a dual narrative • C) it focused on the roles of wives in the past and present People who enjoy reading about different eras will get a kick out of the interesting, to downright shocking, 'advice' to married women that greet readers at the beginning of each chapter. Brown also shares several old-fashioned 1950's recipes but, thankfully, the odd and unappetizing 1950's culinary 'creations' (i.e. tuna + Jell-O concoctions and the like) were only mentioned, not shared. Thank heaven for small mercies. Using two narratives, Brown gives glimpses into the issues, limitations and expectations put upon women in the 1950's and in current day. As with many dual narratives, I tended to veer towards one more strongly. In this case, I found Nellie's 1950's POV more engaging - not surprising since it's often more interesting to read about a different era than our own. But Alice was a different story. I was unsympathetic to many of her struggles and especially her selfish behaviours and felt she didn't feel as developed as Nellie's character. And, in all honesty, I didn't love the end - it was predictable and unfortunately not nearly as satisfying as I had hoped. After deliberating over my review, I've concluded that while I loved the premise and Brown's nod to the nostalgia of eras and women past, I liked but didn't quite love this story. That said, I believe this title will garner fantastic book club discussion, particularly in clubs that have readers from differing eras and genders. Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Viking Books for providing me with a complimentary digital copy of this book, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve Trono

    Wow!! Recipe for a Perfect Wife was a surprise hit for me and I just enjoyed it so much. This was my first book by Karma Brown and it definitely won't be my last! I loved the format of the dual timelines and I became very immersed with both of the main characters. Brown introduces us to Alice, who has recently moved out of the city to a fixer-upper with her husband. As her roles are shifting in her own home life, Alice discovers a cookbook and magazines from the previous homeowner. This discovery Wow!! Recipe for a Perfect Wife was a surprise hit for me and I just enjoyed it so much. This was my first book by Karma Brown and it definitely won't be my last! I loved the format of the dual timelines and I became very immersed with both of the main characters. Brown introduces us to Alice, who has recently moved out of the city to a fixer-upper with her husband. As her roles are shifting in her own home life, Alice discovers a cookbook and magazines from the previous homeowner. This discovery introduces us to the other main character in this book, Nellie. The storyline then goes back and forth between present-day Alice and Nellie a "housewife" in the 1950s. I loved how Brown took us back to that era and really dove into what life was like for women and the expectations there was of Nellie as a wife in that time period. The story shifts between Nellie's narrative, and Alice's discovery of Nellie's past while also learning more about her own marriage. Each chapter started with quotes from marital advice from the (not so distant) past and it really helped set the scene for how different life was in the early and mid-1900s. Brown keeps you super involved in both storylines and I loved that while it was a completely engaging read, it took on some powerful and timely topics. The twists at the end were satisfying, clever and bold. Recipe For A Perfect Wife will definitely stick with me and it would make a wonderful book club discussion.   Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton Books for an advanced copy.

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