book cover of Recipe for a Perfect Wife
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Recipe for a Perfect Wife

(2019)
A novel by

 
 
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.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Karma Brown has outdone herself with best book yet. Dual storylines set decades apart offer one of the most emotionally stirring explorations of women's lives I have ever read. Recipe for a Perfect Wifeis page-turning look at identity, love, legacy, marriage, and yes--food. I devoured it!" - Jamie Brenner

"A sly, smart look at two women across two different decades as they navigate marriage, secrets, and society's expectations. Brown's vivid storytelling deftly explores the joys and limitations of the role of wife - a wonderful read." - Fiona Davis

"Recipe for a Perfect Wife is that wonderful combination of fun to read, thought provoking, and mystery. Told in the voices of two women living in different decades and sprinkled with recipes and advice on how to be a good wife, it makes the reader consider how the roles of women have changed and how they've stayed the same. Karma Brown made me smile and gasp in equal measure, and to reach for my mom's old recipe box." - Ann Hood

"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." - Mary Kubica

"A bold, intoxicating page-turner...This is a thrilling audacious story about women daring to take control." - Taylor Jenkins Reid

"I already knew that Karma Brown's contemporary novels are exemplars of thoughtful, compelling, and truly original fiction. What I didn't know before reading Recipe For a Perfect Wife is that she is equally at home when writing historical fiction. In her hands, the constrained and often suffocating lives of 1950s women--illuminated in a deftly handled dual narrative that alternates between the present day and 60 years ago -- are revealed with real sensitivity, depth, and at times tenderness. And true to Karma Brown, this is also a nail-biter of a tale, and one that kept me up long past my bedtime. This is a delicious and thoroughly satisfying book." - Jennifer Robson

"Recipe for a Perfect Wife is as witty, charming, and insightful as anything Karma Brown has written to date, but it's also got something more: it cuts straight to the heart of modern marriage by going back in time. Flawless transitions between past and present remind us of how far we've come while Brown's penetrating prose deftly underscores the importance of staying the course on the journey ahead. This timely novel is alarming and unforgettable, illuminating and ominous--and perfect for your next book club discussion!" - Marissa Stapley


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Used availability for Karma Brown's Recipe for a Perfect Wife

Hardback Editions

January 2021 : USA Library Binding

Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife (Thorndike Press Large Print Women's Fiction)
Author(s): Karma Brown
ISBN: 1-4328-7728-3 / 978-1-4328-7728-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Thorndike Press Large Print
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


December 2019 : USA Hardback
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Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Karma Brown
ISBN: 1-5247-4493-X / 978-1-5247-4493-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Dutton
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

February 2021 : USA Paperback
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Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Karma Brown
ISBN: 1-5247-4495-6 / 978-1-5247-4495-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Dutton
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


February 2020 : UK Paperback
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Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife: Featured in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star
Author(s): Karma Brown
ISBN: 1-78955-979-0 / 978-1-78955-979-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Legend Press
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


December 2019 : USA Paperback
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Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Karma Brown
ISBN: 0-7352-3624-0 / 978-0-7352-3624-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Viking
Availability: Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

March 2020 : Australia Audio edition
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Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife
Author(s): Karma Brown
Publisher: Lamplight Audiobooks
Availability: Amazon AU   


March 2020 : UK Audio edition
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Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife
Author(s): Karma Brown
Publisher: Lamplight Audiobooks
Availability: Amazon UK   


December 2019 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Karma Brown
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon   


December 2019 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Karma Brown
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

February 2020 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
thumb

Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife
Author(s): Karma Brown
Publisher: Legend Press
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


December 2019 : USA Kindle edition
thumb

Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Karma Brown
Publisher: Dutton
Availability: Amazon   


December 2019 : Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel
Author(s): Karma Brown
Publisher: Viking
Availability: Amazon CA