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Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
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Recipe for a Perfect Wife

Best Seller
Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
Paperback $17.00
Feb 02, 2021 | ISBN 9781524744953

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    Feb 02, 2021 | ISBN 9781524744953

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  • Dec 31, 2019 | ISBN 9781524744946

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  • Dec 31, 2019 | ISBN 9780593164525

    592 Minutes

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“It’s easy to keep turning the pages as we toggle back and forth between Alice and Nellie, who — breaking news — has a far more complicated life than a stack of Ladies’ Home Journals would lead Alice to believe. . . . And it turns out Nellie has a lot more to teach Alice about being a wife and a woman than how to bake a good batch of cookies. The most important? Take those trappings you resent so much — cooking, gardening, bearing children — embrace them, then wield them like weapons.”
—Jenny Rosenstrach, New York Times Book Review

“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.”
Associated Press

“Brown kills it; her latest is a winner so captivating that fans of modern and old-fashioned stories about women could easily read it in one day.”
Library Journal, starred review

Recipe for a Perfect Wife is a bold, intoxicating, page-turner. Karma Brown has long been a favorite of mine and this book is proof she just keeps getting better and better. This is a thrilling, audacious story about women daring to take control.”
—Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six

“[Brown] excels at bringing the complexities of women’s lives to the page, and her latest novel questions how much has really changed for women over the last 60 years. The pacing is brisk, the characters are appealing, and both time lines are equally well realized. Thoughtful, clever, and surprisingly dark.”

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, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

“Strong, well-drawn women anchor Brown’s deeply thought-provoking, feminist novel. The spellbinding dual stories complement each other, raising themes of self-discovery, self-preservation and liberation for two women living eras apart.”
Shelf Awareness

“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, national bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls

“Brown skillfully alternates between Alice’s modern world and Nellie’s in the 1950s. With plentiful historical details (including recipes and depressingly hilarious marriage advice), the pages devoted to Nellie come to life. . . . An engaging and suspenseful look at how the patriarchy shaped women’s lives in the 1950s and continues to do so today.”

“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, bestselling author of The Gown

“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, bestselling author of Drawing Home

“[A] captivating novel. . . . Clever, dark and empowering.”
—Woman’s World

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, bestselling author of The Last Resort

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, author of The Knitting Club

Recipe for a Perfect Wife is a time-hopping, dark domestic mystery, sprinkled with a dash of female empowerment and a few vintage baking tips. . . . Recipe for a Perfect Wife ends in a wonderfully sly way, best served without any spoilers, other than to say that sometimes history does repeat itself.”
Toronto Star

“A positively captivating story awaits you in Recipe For A Perfect Wife. . . . A page turner from start to finish.”
Seattle Book Review

“As always, Brown entertains as she provokes thought and discussion. Perfect Wife is not as straightforward as it seems at first glance . . . (We won’t reveal the intriguing plot twist.) Let’s just say that Nellie brings an increasingly sinister and unexpected element to the plot, which is all the richer for it.”
The Florida Times-Union

“Readers will enjoy watching both women take charge in their lives no matter what the cost.”
—The Parkersburg News & Sentinel

Author Q&A

1. You are such a prolific writer, how do you find the time?
When I’m drafting a novel, I get up early. Like, before-the-sunrise-early—I’m a card-carrying member of the #5amwritersclub. My daughter sleeps in now, but she was a very early riser for the first 10 years of her life, so I joke she sleep-trained me! Now it’s a habit, getting up to write at 5am, and one I’ve used for all my novels. I’ve learned to love the quiet of the early morning, as well as how distraction-free it is, and find I’m most creative (and prolific) at this time of day. As long as I have coffee, of course.
2. What led you down the path of becoming a writer?
I never wanted to be a writer, actually. I was planning on a broadcast journalism career. But then I was diagnosed with cancer at age 30—it was the last day of my j-school degree—and it forced me to re-evaluate my priorities, and what sort of career I wanted. As a result, I chose to focus on print journalism instead, which felt more conducive to family life, and worked successfully as a freelance magazine writer before I became a full-time novelist. Some days, especially looking back, it’s amazing to me that I now write books for a living . . . it’s the best job there is.
3. Recipe for a Perfect Wife is a departure from some of your previous books, how did the idea come to you?
I adore vintage cookbooks—the more food splattered and well-loved the better—and had this idea of an old house, a similarly-aged cookbook, a dark secret and two women—one modern, one from the past—and how the house, cookbook, and secret would link their lives. Having a young daughter, gender roles are often on my mind, and I wanted to explore the expectations we continue to place on women, wives, and mothers even in these more progressive times. In some ways, this book is a love letter to the strong women in my life who came before me, while also a glimpse into my own feelings on marriage and the roles of women and men.
4. Each chapter in this book starts with quotes about the role of the housewife. Are these real, and how did you find them?
That was actually my agent’s idea, when she was reading a very early draft of the book! It seemed a clever way to tie the two women’s stories together, bringing a touch of Nellie’s past into Alice’s present. It took some time to find, and verify, the quotes, and I was often left shaking my head . . . it’s easy to laugh off this retro advice as ridiculous and outdated, but it was sobering to see how women were seen and expected to behave back then . . . and to realize that perhaps we haven’t come quite as far as we’d like to believe.
5. Are you a cook or baker yourself? How did the recipes in this book come about?
I love to bake, and when I’m on deadline I tend to “procrastibake” because I find it relaxing and a perfect break from being stuck in a writing scene. I’m not a fancy baker (though I did make French macarons the other week with my daughter) and typically go for the comfort recipes that have been passed down from my mom and grandmother—things like fruit crisps and banana bread and chocolate chip cookies. Because I own a number of vintage cookbooks—some that have been in my family and others I’ve picked up at used bookstores—I wanted to incorporate actual recipes into the 1950s scenes, because cooking was such an integral part of being a housewife. Some of the recipes are my own, and some are adapted from vintage cookbooks. I’ve actually made a few of the recipes, though there are a couple best left to the “olden” days (think: jellied salads).

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