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Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  568 ratings  ·  203 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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published December 31st 2019 by Dutton
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Jillian Scott Because 95% of Goodreads are women. Men don't read books. Ask your friends - one a year - if that. Too busy trying to prove their importance. And…moreBecause 95% of Goodreads are women. Men don't read books. Ask your friends - one a year - if that. Too busy trying to prove their importance. And strut. They golf, play President, muck up the world and do not care for the opinions or thoughts of others. They are their own Reacher, indomitable, sexually magnificent and subject to no criticism. Jajajajaja.(less)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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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,
...more
Michelle
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
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
...more
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 cookbook’s previous owner--1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her
...more
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.
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
...more
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!
Melissa
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
...more
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 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.
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.
Beth
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!
...more
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
...more
Basic B's Guide
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
i.
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
...more
Genevieve Trono
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Amy Reichert
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this twisty take on marriage.
amanda
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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 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
...more
Jen Bober
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an entertaining read that had me thinking about what marriage and motherhood truly meant. Through the narratives of two women Alice a 20th century career focused city girl and Nellie a 1950's housewife this book examines how some things have changed and how some things have not for women. Alice and her husband have just moved into an older house in the suburbs when she finds an old box of women's magazines along with an old cookbook from the previous owner Nellie. Through these old ...more
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 me
...more
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 woman’s marital ...more
Sue
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wonderful new book by Karma Brown looks at women's role in the 1950s and today. The two main characters live in the same house 60 years apart. They never met each other but their stories are intertwined in many different ways.

1950s - Nellie lives with a husband who abuses her. She hides her scars from her neighbors and becomes the perfect housewife well known for her kindness, her garden and her baking. As we learn more about Nellie, we find out that there is much more to her than the
...more
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
...more
Bookish Anki
I enjoyed reading Recipe for a Perfect Wife and is one of my favorite books of 2019.

A story of 2 married women, Alice moves in to a house with her husband where Nellie used to live. One day she finds Nellie’s cookbook which has some notes and she starts reading about her wondering what kind of life she was having. Their story is separated by decades yet it looks so similar on the freedom they have, the choices they make. I just got sucked in to their lives to find more about Nellie and Alice.

...more
Susan Peterson
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Karma Brown has written a book that is jaw-dropping, unexpected, and original. This brilliant story is told from two points of view, two women living in the same house, 60 years apart, each caught in a marriage where their own ideas, needs, and desires are quashed by domineering husbands. Each chapter is interspersed with household hints, recipes, and rules for a happy marriage from the 1950’s and earlier, a very clever way to compare and contrast the two timelines. Although there are humorous ...more
MicheleReader
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Recipe for a Perfect Wife gives the reader a lot to think about. This dual narrative takes place both in the present day and in the mid 1950s when the life of a married woman was markedly different. Present day Alice Hale appears to be in the perfect marriage to Nate but she acquiesces to a move to the suburbs after losing her PR job in New York City and plans to write a novel. Nellie Murdoch, the previous owner of Alice’s new home, is a young woman married to Richard, a somewhat
...more
Melissa
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Judi Easley
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers if quirky historical women's fiction
Recommended to Judi by: NetGalley
Recipe for a Perfect Wife
Karma Brown
Dutton, 21 Jan 2020
336 pages
Women’s Lit
Provided by NetGalley


I like the concept of the cover with one exception. Can you guess what it is? If you’ve been reading my reviews for any length of time about cover art, I’ll bet you can. Yup! Uncover that poor woman’s face! I know, she’s supposed to be the unknown housewife from the past that’s been writing all these crazy recipes and notes, but this is just a bit weird.

Can anyone tell me why women always go along
...more
Neelam Babul
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I read in the year 2020 and I am please to have to started with this one. It is the story of an old house, an old cookbook, notes in the cookbook that reveal the life of Nellie living in the older times to Alice who has some secrets of her own in the present time.

Alice is fired from her job as a public relations officer because of some confidential information which was leaked unintentionally. Alice decides to keep this from her husband and agrees to move to the suburbs
...more
Andrea
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Alice leaves her job at a New York PR firm and moves to the suburbs to keep House while her husband continues to commute to work, she struggles to adjust to a new life and a new schedule. Alice finds a cookbook and some magazines belonging to her house's previous owner, Nellie, who appears to have been a stereotypical 1950s housewife. But , as Alice reads marginal comments left in the cookbook by Nellie and Nellie's mother, Elsie and when she comes into possession of letters Nellie wrote to ...more
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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.
“Perhaps marriage should be spontaneous, based more on feeling than on thinking. Maybe the harder someone worked to create a perfect union, the more power one gave the institution of marriage, rather than the relationship itself, which is where the focus should be.” 0 likes
“Alice, there are plenty of reasons to marry that have nothing to do with love. And you can be head over heels in love and not get married. But no matter what, you should never marry someone unless you believe you’ll die—one way or another—without that person. They should feel more important to you than oxygen. Otherwise you’ll suffocate, one damn anniversary at a time.” 0 likes
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