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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 listeners say about Recipe for a Perfect Wife

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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Horrible

Mundane, repetitive and not “thrilling” as the description implies, in the slightest! I kept pushing through hoping something exciting would happen. Pushed myself through the entire book and am so disappointed I wasted THAT much time on it.

2 people found this helpful

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did not enjoy.

the 1950s aspect of this book was great but the rest i just did not enjoy. I could not stand the main character or her choices. not recommended unless the seperate the 2 storylines out into thier own books.

2 people found this helpful

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This book should’ve been called liar liar pants on fire!

Overall the book started out ok but then all the lies and manipulation just turned me off however I loved all the recipes !!!!!

1 person found this helpful

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The premise sounded interesting ...

The author has writing talent, and deserves recognition for that. Unfortunately, the two female protagonist were not like-able characters. It was difficult to keep reading since nearly all male characters were portrayed as evil, selfish, misogynistic, and dull. The narrators did a good job.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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clever

This book was both clever and surprising while being an easy read. Great character development too.

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Wow, what a story.

Worth every bit of your time. The characters were incredible, I was sad to finish it.