Monday, December 23, 2019

Julie's Review: Recipe for a Perfect Wife

Author: Karma Brown
Series: None
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 336
Obtained: Publisher via Netgalley

Genre:  Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Bottom Line: Interesting take on being a wife now and 50 years ago
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: 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.

Review: I don't think I could have ever been a wife in the 1950s. Talk about pressure to be perfect!! Sure nowadays we are expected to do the majority of it but even the incremental help we get from our spouses is a step in the right direction. I mean I don't really like to cook and waiting around being patient isn't my thing either, but if I were a woman during those times would I be the same person I am today because the setting and opportunities were very different.

Eleanor "Nellie" Murdoch is a young wife who moves into a sprawling house with her handsome and successful husband Richard. She enjoys her garden, using her family recipes and spending time with the women of the neighborhood. Except things aren't going so well with her husband and she gets pregnant pretty quickly. She's at a loss for how she ended up where she's at but it determined to make the most of the situation. She's resourceful, she's got a garden and her friendship with her neighbor, Miram, that she's enjoying her new life at least a bit.

Flashforward to 50+ years later and Alice Hale is about to embark on her new journey moving out of NYC and into the house that Nellie used to live in. To say that Alice is less than thrilled about this is to put it mildly. She didn't want to leave the city at all but her husband insisted especially since they are about to embark on trying to become parents as well. Except Alice isn't ready for all these changes but she's let her husband Nate take the lead for now. That is until she starts to immerse herself in being an 1950s wife and learns a thing or two about herself in the process.

Both Nellie and Alice are strong women who use any means necessary to ensure that their lives turnout the way they want and that means taking control. I definitely don't agree with their tactics but it gets the job done and it does give them the lives they want.

I love dual timelines and Ms. Brown does a fantastic job in Recipe for a Perfect Wife. I will say that some of the novel was a bit predictable but overall I enjoyed seeing both Nellie and Alice come into their own and be comfortable with who they are.


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