“Recipe for a Perfect Wife,” Dutton, by Karma Brown
Although she agreed when her husband suggested they move to the suburbs, Alice is feeling out of sorts with her new slow-paced life. While trying to fill the time, she finds entertainment in an old stack of letters penned by the woman who once lived under the same roof in the 1950s. In “Recipe for a Perfect Wife,” author Karma Brown uses the antiquated beliefs of the past to encourage a modern-day woman to look at her marriage and life in a new perspective.
In the current timeline, Alice is fascinated by the previous home owner’s day-to-day activities. As she reads personal letters Nellie penned to her mother decades ago, Alice soon recognizes that her life isn’t technically that different from the woman who lives to keep her husband happy while maintaining an organized home. Alice decides to view Nellie as an inspiration. She loses herself by attempting to make meals from old-fashioned tried and true recipes, learning how to garden, and dabbling in updating her wardrobe with vintage pieces. Can Alice be the perfect housewife like Nellie?
Or is Nellie’s perfect person a front? During the 1950s timeline, Brown reveals that Nellie’s marriage is anything but ideal. In fact, Nellie’s husband is abusive and most days revolve around how to keep peace with a man who is unfaithful, how to hide bruises on her arms from her friends, and how to be rescued from a cruel situation.
“Recipe for a Perfect Wife” is a captivating read, full of twists and turns. Brown weaves a thrilling story that parallels the lives of two characters who struggle with being strong, independent women in a patriarchal world.