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Recipe for a Perfect Wife

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  12,177 ratings  ·  1,878 reviews
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 pla ...more
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published December 31st 2019 by Dutton Books
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Pam Mertens I wish publishers would stop marketing books as "women's literature". I asked Penguin to stop classifying books as chick lit or women's fiction, but i…moreI wish publishers would stop marketing books as "women's literature". I asked Penguin to stop classifying books as chick lit or women's fiction, but it's an uphill battle. Women are mothers and wives and girlfriends, so books about us should be read by all for a better understanding of life in general.(less)
Kathleen Nightingale I like the recipes in this book. A fantastic read especially if you are looking at the juxtaposition of the differences between women of the 1950s and…moreI like the recipes in this book. A fantastic read especially if you are looking at the juxtaposition of the differences between women of the 1950s and today. How everything has changed and how nothing has changed.(less)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,177 ratings  ·  1,878 reviews

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Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
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 Richar
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, edelweiss
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 wa
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

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
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 couldn’t stand the sugary-milk, butter, and sprinkle-cooking-chatter.
I don’t want to read listed ingred
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recipe for a Perfect Wife follows Ali, a woman in her 30s who relocates from NYC to a suburb with her husband, Nate, in 2018. She recently left her job to write a novel and they buy a house that needs some work. Nate is eager to start a family, Ali is more reluctant.

Nellie is married to Richard in the 1950s. He swept her off her feet but she soon discovers his darker controlling side, expecting her to be a docile housewife at all times. ⁣She maintains the house, prepares meals, and socializes wi
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 fli
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3 stars.

A domestic drama with a vintage feel.

Alice and Nate move out of their apartment and into their first home. Nate is eager to settle into their house and neighborhood and start a family while Alice is hesitant and misses the busyness and noise of city life. Nate envisions all of the projects he will start on their dated house to get it ready for what he hopes will be their growing family. One day Alice stumbles upon an old recipe book hidden in the basement with notes from a housewife in t
May 17, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My rating: 2.5 stars which means that this was a little better than okay for me but I had a few reservations while I was reading it, still needing to finish.

Amusing, unsettling, and exasperating!

RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE by KARMA BROWN is a book that I was immediately excited to read because of its promising title and great looking cover. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the direction that this book took which really impacted my feelings towards it.

Each chapter either starts off with a vintage reci
May 08, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I feel bad for my low rating because the author seems wonderful and she's a fellow Canadian, but I hated Alice. Hated.

I am especially angry because I LOVE the title and idea, and it was all wasted on her.

Alice spends a lot of time trying to vilify her husband. The logic is that, since she's a manipulative liar, he must be one, too. (view spoiler)

Out of curiosity, what's the point of being in a relationship— a marriage, to boot— if you flat-out refus
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 1950’s.

The cookbook help
Mary Kubica
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 tra
Robyn Harding
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charming, unique, dark and delicious. I devoured this novel and even learned some kitchen tips and tricks. Highly recommend!
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2020, may-20
I really enjoyed this story and have loved Karma Brown's previous novels.
Recipe For A Perfect Wife is a captivating dual narrative novel. A present day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her new home's previous owner, a model 1950's housewife. She begins to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband as she discovers notable parallels between this woman's life and her own. Both women refuse to become defined by their roles as housewives and I enjoyed their self
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! ...more
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 hust
Jan 29, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Holy shit, Alice might be the dumbest character I've ever read. I do not understand why she keeps so many secrets from Nate - because she just doesn't want to tell him I guess? In the beginning, I think he is a good guy, and it's only through all of Alice's lying that he seems bad. Why doesn't she tell him IMMEDIATELY about the James Dorian incident? Why does she divulge Dorian's secret in a public place - is she really that stupid? Why doesn't she tell Nate she's rethinking wanting to have a ba ...more
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.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 pa
Kimberly Belle
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️+ I guess that I should wipe the grin off of my face - I suspect that my smiley emoji reaction wouldn’t necessarily be the most likely EXPECTED reaction to this novel, but there it is! The novel evoked a sense of nostalgia for my dear mom, for the nonsensical beliefs we had about the 1950s as being the tea party, Tupperware and cozy family era and some contemplation about gender politics then and now.

I’ve also come off of its pages rather vastly amused, feeling a bit like an old crone a
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My review on my website. Twitter@ 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, s
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Something is really bothering me about this book. Is it because I have no respect for Alice who treats her husband like garbage: lying again and again about really important things, assuming the worst about him, emotionally blackmailing him at the end to get what she wants? How is this parallel to Nellie's story of domestic abuse? The whole novel feels like a gimmick: the vintage recipes, the jaw-droppingly sexist snippets from marriage manuals of the past, the question of if this house is haunt ...more
Colleen Oakley
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Fluff Smut & Murder
I couldn't put it down but the ending seemed a little abrupt and odd ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 o
Jun 12, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This went from "boring but tolerable" to "pseudo-feminist bullshit" towards the end, which is disappointing because I was hoping for the former and infuriatingly got the latter.

I have been reading a lot of questionably labelled "feminist" novels this year (because I hate myself, apparently) and I'm slowly growing more and more frustrated because according to novels like Recipe for a Perfect Wife, how you write a feminist story is as follows:

1. Create an intolerable female character who's meek an
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
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
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book should have been so much better. Writing the 'modern wife' character as such a colossally immature lying girl/woman was taking the easy way out. She was a bad friend, a spineless employee, and she treated her husband like garbage - a husband who seemed attentive and kind, if a little over eager, until suddenly after 300 pages he was... not.

The 50s story was better, but seriously uncreative. The only people who think that time was idyllic either didn't live through it, or have forgotte
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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KARMA BROWN is an award-winning journalist and author of the bestsellers Come Away With Me and The Choices We Make. In addition to her novels, Karma's writing has appeared in publications such as Redbook, SELF, and Chatelaine. Karma lives just outside Toronto with her husband, daughter, and their labradoodle, Fred. In This Moment is her most recent novel. ...more

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