Cover Image: Recipe for a Perfect Wife

Recipe for a Perfect Wife

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Member Reviews

A story of two women in different time periods and their story of marriage, deceit and pressures on women. 
The book had a Stepford Wives feel In the part set in the 1950s with a housewife who isn’t all that she seems.
Worth a read and you will end up with some new recipes to try at home too!
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It was a struggle to read this novel to the end. 
Previous I read a novel of Karma Brown, and I loved it. So I was very curious to read this one too. But the story continues very slowly, and when something is happening, it’s over in one chapter and that’s it. 
Two storylines (Alice 1990 and Nellie 1950) alternate. There is a connection between the two women, by the house they’re living in. It feels like Alice is under the influence of the ghost of Nellie after reading and using a cookbook and letters. The chapters of Nellie starts with a recipe, and the chapters of Alice with an old fashioned quote of How to act to be a perfect housewife.
I didn’t like Alice, who is constantly lying to her husband (why?). She is starting to write a novel, but has a writersblock even before getting started. She is isolated in her new house, but doesn’t take any initiatives to make things better. Nellie is a sweet women in a bad marriage. Her story is al little better, but can’t save the book anymore.
Recipe for a perfect wife is not what I expected. I was well written so not hard to read, but the story continues too slowly and nothing really happens.
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The book has two narratives; Alice Hale a modern woman who has just reluctantly moved from the city to the suburbs with her husband and Nellie who lived in the same house in the 50’s. 

There was an eeriness about this book, an unease that stayed with me at every turn of the page. Even though the foreboding never really amounted to the thriller I anticipated it would be. However I enjoyed how the writer explored the pressures and expectations of house wives in both the 1950’s, and modern women particularly with regard to careers and having children. 
You piece together more about Nellie’s life as Alice discovers her letters and recipe book in the house as she is struggling with adapting to her new situation. If I’m honest, even though I could relate to some of Alice’s anxieties about being a house wife while her husband worked full time and the isolation that came with it, but I didn’t find Alice a particularly likeable character and her story line was predictable and ultimately I was not invested in her story.
As a result, I nearly did not finish the book. However it was my love of Nellie and her story line which kept me reading. As you learnt more about Nellie and her life, you realise she is living with an abusive controlling husband. What I liked most about Nellie, was that she never felt sorry for herself, she was smart and still kind to those around her and you could really sense her strength and her hope for the future despite her hopeless circumstances. 
I enjoyed the “girl power” vibe, and the insight into 1950’s life and if Nellie’s storyline had been the entire focus of the book I think I would have enjoyed it even more. Nellie’s story abruptly ends and left me wondering “what happened next?!” which made me feel a bit bereft if I’m honest as I was most invested in her story. 
Parts of this book were definitely worth 4 stars, but the abrupt ending of Nellie’s story and Alice’s unlikeability reduced it to an overall 3 stars for me.
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A dual timeline story, always good for me, telling the story of the occupants of a house, hidden behind the closed doors, appearances are deceptive. This is interspersed with recipes so warning it will make you hungry and also check out your herb garden. 
I felt though that the end was rushed and it needed something else and that unfortunately spoilt the book for me.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Legend Press for this advanced reader's copy in return for my honest review. This was a brilliant, tense and suspenseful read. I'm a big fan of historical fiction and loved the dual timeline.
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This book is narrated by two characters Alice in 2018 and Nellie in 1956. Alice finds out about Nellie when she moves into a new house with her partner and finds a box of cookbooks in the basement. The chapters then alternate between Nellie and Alice. 

The book has an easy going style and is quick to read. 

I disliked the character of Alice and I think this made it difficult for me to read. She lies and keeps secrets from her husband throughout the book but there’s no reason given for her to be doing this. Nellie was a more interesting character and had a bit more about her. 

I liked Nellie’s knowledge of her ingredients and what they represented; lemons for sunshine and lavender for feminine beauty and grace. I also enjoyed her independent and grounded character. 

Each chapter begins with genuine quotes from 1950’s housekeeping/ women’s advice books and they are absolute clangers. For example: 
After you marry him—study him. If he is secretive—trust him. When he is talkative—listen to him. If he is jealous—cure him. If he favours society—accompany him. Let him think you understand him—but never let him think you manage him. —Western Gazette (August 1, 1930) It’s amazing that people actually used to publish these quotes! 

There’s just not enough in the book to contrast the blatant sexism and I found that very difficult. 

I was expecting more of a feminist storyline. I didn’t meet the wife fighting for her place in the patriarchal society as described in the blurb. Sadly it felt like we still have such a long way to go.
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This was a brilliant, tense and suspenseful read. Much more than it appears from the synopsis m!
I loved the change in POV and thought both females were fantastic characters! Such a great way to mix in recipes with the story too. It adds so much! 

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone that loves domestic thrillers!
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I honestly loved this book, so much. 
This book consists of two main characters, Nellie - a 1950s housewife, and Alice - a modern day housewife. Alice moves in to the house that Nellie used to live in all those years ago, and Alice starts to learn more about Nellie after finding her old recipe book in the basement and reading old letters written by her. The narrative alternates in each chapter, switching from Nellie in the 50s, to Alice in the present day. I loved the way that Nellie's story is told in such a unique way - her own chapters in which she is telling the story in the present tense, and the letters Alice reads all those years later. Two womens stories, under the same roof, but over 60 years apart. 
It was such a good read, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I loved the concept, I loved the characters and I loved the message it gave. 
I would highly recommend!
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An easy read that I completed in two sittings, however I have mixed feelings. I think the book was written brilliantly combining the dual timeline with absolute finesse. I think the characters are described perfectly for the story. I enjoyed reading about the 1950's, the way a women was supposed to behave, the way a wife was expected to be and whilst so much has happened since then in some ways , because of gender stereo tying, a lot hasn't. The pressure then is just as apparent then as it is now and I think that's what I have the problem with. I think be cause Ali has had so much time at home after having a successful career, she has too much energy and not an outlet, this is no good for her. Whilst she mocks her friend for getting married after only knowing her partner for a short time, Am I should probably be honest with herself and admit that hers is a marriage of convenience. Yes, there once was love but now who knows? The whole dynamic has changed with the move into the suburbs.

On a different note I really did laugh at the snippets of advice from 1950's magazines and publications and I liked a few of the recipes, I'll definitely try the cookies.
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I got about eight pages in before deciding that this book just wasn't for me. Although it sounds so good, I just couldn't find the enthusiasm to read it, or even care about the book in general.
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I absolutely loved this fun, captivating read which was surprisingly thought provoking.

The story is told from the point of view of Alice in 2008 and Nellie in 1955. I warmed to each woman immediately and loved getting to know them better. Both woman are strong and very resilient, especially Nellie who also have societal norms to fight against. Her story is particularly emotional and I often wished I could jump into the story and help her out. The house seemed to be almost alive at times and reacting to everything that’s happening or being discovered. It seemed to become less creepy as the story developed and Alice starts unraveling Nellie’s past which I found very interesting.

Although the woman are fifty years apart both have surprisingly a lot in common as they attempt to fight against what society expects of them. I found this very interesting, especially as I came to realise that not much has really changed in that regard. The start of each chapter features a quote from old fashioned books about house work and how to be a wife which were amusing to read but also quite unbelievable that people used to actually think that way. There are also some recipes included, though I’m not sure I’ll be trying them anytime soon as some of the ingredients were interesting to say the least.

This story piqued my attention from the start, with the fabulous two main woman and the clever plot ensuring that this book was hard to put down. I found myself often trying to hide away from the kids or bribing them with something so I could read a tiny bit more. I was very sad to finish the book and leave Nellie and Alice behind.

Huge thanks to Lucy Chamberlain from Legend Press for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book via Netgalley. I’m definitely going to be recommending this book to everyone!
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I couldn’t put this book down. That’s how a lot of reviews end. But I am starting with that because its the truth and I need you to understand how awesome this book from the start. I went into the book with no expectations, I hadn’t read Karam Brown before. What a fool am I! 

I loved the UK cover of the book it drew me in. 

The story is about Nellie living her life with her husband in the 1950s and also fast forward to Alice living her life with her husband in 2018.  Okay, so what’s the connection your thinking? They are both in the same house, although different time periods. It is truly fascinating to dip between time periods as you change chapters. Both women face varying and yet similar challenges in their lives.  The house plays its own character and makes itself feel very present in the writing.  It adapts beautifully from one era to the next. 

In my mind’s eye, I saw Nellie’s 1950’s world as I did on the television show Mad Men. I was lucky to bring all the costumes and the male-dominated world with me when I read about that time period. I also could resonate with Alice in her 2018 world. Having been a young wife and feeling the pressures from society and what’s expected of you as newlyweds. Keeping secrets and being terrified of losing yourself

The books was/is brilliant and I inhaled the story right off the pages. I felt myself slowing down as I neared the end as I really did not want to leave Nellie and Alice. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with both of them. I learned an awful lot about flowers and food too. I am eager for someone to make me the rose caramels and I think milk bread sounds quite similar to Scottish saps but you don’t toast the bread first with them.

The book made me want to spend more time with the plants and flowers in my own garden. It certainly validated the fact that I am most definitely not a perfect wife and I am happily divorced. I don’t think I would ever go through that pressure again. I think you had to be so strong so you don’t lose yourself.

I think Alice and Nellie will be sticking around in my head for a long time. I really enjoyed the way Karma Brown wrote. It was easy to read and it flowed so beautifully. I see there is a back catalogue of books for me to enjoy from Karma too. 

I will definitely be buying this book as a wedding gift for friends and for all my single friends too. Ha, it works both ways as a guide and a deterrent. 

I’m sad the book is finished which for me says it all. Recipe For A Perfect Wife should be on your TBR it has a sprinkling of the perfect ingredients to make the fluffiest reading adventure
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This was a story of 2 women, which I thought were well developed. I enjoyed the little recipes and messages in each chapter. 
It was an enjoyable book, where I turned the pages to learn more about these women,. Enchanting writing and a good story. 
Thanks a lot to NG and the publisher for this copy.
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'Recipe for a Perfect Wife' is the tale of two women - 1950s housewife Nellie, and modern day career woman (albeit without a career) Alice. Soon after Alice and her husband move into their new home, Alice discovers Nellie's cookbook tucked away in the basement. But this is no ordinary cook... filled with more than just recipes, Alice soon finds herself enthralled with the glimpses into the past that she finds hidden between the pages, and in time her interest turns into obsession, and begins to affect all areas of her life...

Ok, I can't review this one without some spoilers. So don't read on unless you're happy to have a few minor things spoiled!


This for me was a really weird one. I absolutely loved Nellie - her story was fascinating, and the twists and turns that emerge throughout her chapters were absolutely captivating. She is a brilliantly written character with a surprisingly dark and sinister story, and both her story and her character really leap out of the page to pull you in. I loved her chapters, and I loved her.

Alice, on the other hand, I wasn't a fan of. The synopsis for the book talks about how Alice 'begins to take control of her life and protect herself' after being inspired by Nellie's story. I'm sorry, but to compare Nellie, who has an abusive husband and is constrained by huge societal barriers, to Alice, who's husband is happy to pay for everything while Alice pretends to write a book and who's only crime is wanting a baby, is ridiculous. Yes, Alice's husband is invested in having a baby. But that is because that's what he and Alice decided TOGETHER. He didn't force her into it, she agreed that it's what she wanted, and now she's decided she doesn't want it, but can't be bothered to grow up and tell him that. To be honest, her version of feminism is repeatedly lying to/avoiding talking to her husband about issues that could be resolved if she just opened her bloody mouth and acted like an adult. Yes, what her husband did at the end was thoughtless and stupid, although to me this felt a bit shoehorned in to support the argument that Alice was being oppressed by her husband. His actions before that were all based on the belief, which Alice supported, that they were planning on starting a family. 

All in all, I would read another of the authors books, as in Nellie she created a wonderful character who I absolutely loved, and her storyline was brilliant. But in this case, I just couldn't get passed my dislike of Alice and her flimsy pretence of feminism to give the book a higher rating.
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This dual narrative novel about two unhappy housewives – one in the 1950s, and another in 2018 – drew me in from the beginning. 

At first, the story seems relatively straightforward: Alice is a former high-flying career focused Manhattanite reluctant about leaving her city apartment and moving to the fixer-upper in the New York suburbs that her husband Nate thinks is perfect for them. 

But as they settle uneasily into their new house, Alice discovers a stack of unmailed letters written by Nellie, the house’s previous owner, in the 1950s, as well the woman’s well-worn cookbook. 

And as Alice gets sucked into the letters, we see how both woman navigate the expectations of marriage in two very different times. The reader knows that things aren’t quite what they seem, either in the past or the present, but the secrets being kept by everyone – by Nellie, Alice, and even Nate – don’t reveal themselves until the final pages (and I liked that most of them were a complete surprise!)
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I liked this disturbing, engrossing and interesting story. It's dark at times and I liked the characters and the double story-line.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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I loved this novel. So much darker and twistier than I was expecting. 
Both Nellie and Alice are brilliant characters who you will be rooting for the whole way through. The quotes on how to be the perfect wife at the beginning of Alice's chapters really add something special too. 
A 5 star read!
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Found this harder to read than expected! Didn’t enjoy the read but tried to persevere, in the end had to give up reading it
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Another 5 star book from me, I don’t think we've had 3 of those in a row before! 

The story is structured such that you follow Nellie in 1955 and Alice in 2018. Alice has moved into the house that Nellie lived in before she passed away. 

Each chapter begins with an actual excerpt from a magazine or book from the past, mainly the forties and fifties. The views in these excerpts are eye opening and basically taught that a wife is there to serve her husband at all times. My favourite example is:

"To be a successful wife is a career in itself, requiring among other things, the qualities of a diplomat, a businesswoman, a good cook, a trained nurse, a school teacher, a politician and a glamour girl” – Emily Mudd, “Women’s Finest Role”, Readers Digest, 1959

Each excerpt relates to a situation that happens in the chapter. In the Fifties, Nellie is married to Richard and I found their relationship alarming in many ways. His treatment of her, the social situations, the fact that every wives loyalty was to her husband so you didn’t know who was a true friend. The pressure to have a baby immediately following marriage, regardless of age or ambition was startling. That said, there was some real similarities between the Fifties and Alice and Nate in 2018. This book really makes you question and challenge how much the world has moved on and at times, I found this quite an uncomfortable read, mainly because it really highlighted that in some cases, not much has changed at all.

Throughout the whole story, it is clear that both protagonists are strong women, they are independent and they want more control over their lives. I was willing them on throughout, through the twists and turns, some of them shocking!

The style of writing and the way it so cleverly weaved together was just spot on and I was gripped. The ‘Recipe’ element worked so well, food is key throughout this and it just works beautifully.Could not put it down, I would definitely recommend it, a great read that raises very poignant questions.

Released in the UK on the 4th Feb, thanks to @netgalley and @legendpress for the opportunity to review.

#libraryatsevern #netgalley #recipeforaperfectwife
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great read a little bit disturbing in places but overall a great story .follows the lives of two women mother and daughter .
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