Recipe for a Perfect Wife

With a title like that, how can you not be intrigued?

Karma Brown’s recipe for a perfect wife is currently one of Barnes & Noble’s books of the month, so naturally I had to check it out.

Alice Hale had it all–a loving husband, a dream job in PR, the promise of a significant promotion. But in one moment, everything fell apart, and now she’s living in the suburbs with her husband, struggling to write the novel she says she’s working on while they try to get pregnant. Alice uncovers some cookbooks and magazines from the 1950s left from the house’s former owner, and as Alice slowly starts to learn more and more about Nellie Murdoch, she starts to feel like maybe the novel is possible after all. However, Alice’s personal life is on the verge of imploding. Bad choices, lies, and secrets are tearing Alice’s life apart, and she may not be able to repair the damage.

At first I thought this book was going to be a feminist book. Each chapter had a quote from the early to mid 1900s detailing things a wife should or shouldn’t do, most of which are ridiculous from a modern point of view. And the synopsis hinted that Alice was going to take control of her life, becoming a strong and independent character. However, as I read through, I couldn’t help getting quite frustrated. Alice’s problems all stemmed from herself, from not wanting to take responsibility for herself, her actions, and even her feelings. While her husband, in the end, wasn’t completely guiltless, he seemed more the victim of the story than Alice.

As far as the whole story, however, the drama was very good. Alice’s life was a little bit of a train wreck, the kind you enjoy watching, as long as you never have to experience it. And Nellie’s story was very interesting. Brown did an excellent job building mystery and suspense around Nellie’s marriage, making a little more of a feminist story from Nellie than Alice.

Though I wasn’t keen on Alice, I did enjoy the book. And I enjoyed rolling my eyes at the advice provided from the quotes Brown included in the book. Recipe for a Perfect Wife was a quick, engaging read, perfect for anyone who wants to watch a little drama and scoff at the choices others make.

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