Recipe for a Perfect Wife

A Novel
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (138 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2020 Karma Brown (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"[Brown] excels at bringing the complexities of women’s lives to the page, and her latest novel questions how much has really changed for women over the last 60 years. The pacing is brisk, the characters are appealing, and both time lines are equally well realized. Thoughtful, clever, and surprisingly dark." (Booklist)

"Brown skillfully alternates between Alice's modern world and Nellie's in the 1950s. With plentiful historical details (including recipes and depressingly hilarious marriage advice), the pages devoted to Nellie come to life.... An engaging and suspenseful look at how the patriarchy shaped women's lives in the 1950s and continues to do so today." (Kirkus)

“A powerful, thought-provoking story about the choices that ultimately come to define and liberate two women who lived 60 years apart.” (Shelf Awareness)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    91
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    94
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    74
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    5

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Awful

Excellent performance. And I suppose well written. I was listening. I meant to give it two stars but you can’t back up. The 1950s housewife was fine, though farfetched her husband got what he deserved in the fiction world. Present-day husband seemed like a good guy. His wife -not so much. Concluding this was a I don’t just hate bad men, I hate all men story. And because of that, I can make a ”heroine” with zero redeeming qualities.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

ALL MEN ARE HORRIBLE, BAD, NASTY PEOPLE.

So, if you like reading about how creepy all men are and how they leave, rape, abuse women, this is your book. It is sure to be made into a movie by Reese any day now. Hollywood will LOVE it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

The 1950s storyline was interesting...

...but the 2018 storyline with Alice was pretty obnoxious. I feel like the Brown fell down on the job in creating this character. ALL Alice does is tells lies--small lies to big lies--to her husband, and as the reader, you really don't understand why. So what you end up with is an undeveloped, unlikable character who lies for unknown reasons.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it

really liked the narrator, loved the story.
I would love to see it turned into a movie.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Oh my goodness so good

Usually one of the complaints I have is the narrator does not fit the characters but this was spot on, loved the concept of the book and the storyline so much I am planning to purchase it in hardback to add to my favorites

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing ending

While at first the characters seem likable and I wanted to cheer them, on Alice’s ultimate character appeared to be a selfish, manipulative liar who was horrified when her husband displays the same qualities. The husband ends of being a doormat to her selfish behavior and in the end, they both agree to stay miserably together.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Couldn't put it down!

If you like the allure of women in the fifties, cooking and mystery, this is the book for you.
This book will have you questioning the way you think about yourself, as it brings the lives of two women from different decades together. It incorporates recipes from the '50s and quotes from different decades about marriage and the women's duty in a marriage, which made it even all that more enjoyable. Found this book suggestion in Simple Life magazine. A real treat for a woman at any age!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Easy Read

storyline was different but predictable.
characters were a tab boring.
the end of story... uneventful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

LOVED IT SO MUCH

This is such a wonderful book that travels fro. past to present with a cookbook that's lost then found to bind two women together.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not my favorite

I guess I should’ve checked this story out before purchasing it. I must be over stories that skip back between time periods because I struggled to finish this.