Review: Recipe for a Perfect Wife

Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife
Author: Karma Brown
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Viking
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 31, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

When Alice Hale reluctantly leaves a promising career in publicity, following her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. However, she is determined to become a writer–and to work hard to build the kind of life her husband dreams of, complete with children.

At first, the old house seems to resent Alice as much as she resents it, but when she finds an old cookbook buried in a box in the basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner: 1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she begins to settle into her new surroundings, even as her friends and family grow concerned that she has embraced them too fully: wearing vintage dresses and pearls like a 1950s housewife, making elaborate old-fashioned dishes like Baked Alaska, and drifting steadily away from her usual pursuits.

Alice justifies the changes merely as research for her novel…but when she discovers that Nellie left clues about her own life within the cookbook’s pages–and in a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to Nellie’s mother–she quickly realizes that the housewife’s secrets may have been anything but harmless. As she uncovers a more sinister side to Nellie’s marriage and with pressure mounting in her own relationship, Alice realizes that to protect herself she must harbour and hatch a few secrets of her own… 


This book was so good!

This story follows Alice in 2018 and Nellie in 1956. Alice has just purchased the house that Nellie lived in until her death. They both had private struggles in their lives as housewives. They had very different experiences, since the stories take place six decades apart, but there were some similarities. For example, they both had secret and creative ways of preventing themselves from having children.

The two storylines of Alice and Nellie reflect each other but they are separate. Sometimes characters in other books with mirroring lives, like these ones, end up having their stories blend together so they seem like one person. These two characters had similarities but they had very different stories.

There were also some very tense moments. I found myself holding my breath until the end because I didn’t know what would happen. There were some dramatic twists that I didn’t expect.

This was a great novel!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

In This Moment by Karma Brown

Have you read Recipe for a Perfect Wife? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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