#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A PENGUIN BOOK CLUB PICK
"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 and the Six
When Alice Hale reluctantly leaves a promising career in publicity, following her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. However, she is determined to become a writer--and to work hard to build the kind of life her husband dreams of, complete with children.
At first, the old house seems to resent Alice as much as she resents it, but when she finds an old cookbook buried in a box in the basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook's previous owner: 1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she begins to settle into her new surroundings, even as her friends and family grow concerned that she has embraced them too fully: wearing vintage dresses and pearls like a 1950s housewife, making elaborate old-fashioned dishes like Baked Alaska, and drifting steadily away from her usual pursuits.
Alice justifies the changes merely as research for her novel...but when she discovers that Nellie left clues about her own life within the cookbook's pages--and in a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to Nellie's mother--she quickly realizes that the housewife's secrets may have been anything but harmless. As she uncovers a more sinister side to Nellie's marriage and with pressure mounting in her own relationship, Alice realizes that to protect herself she must harbour and hatch a few secrets of her own...
About the author
KARMA BROWN is an award-winning journalist and author of the bestsellers Come Away with Me, The Choices We Make and In This Moment. In addition to her novels, Karma's writing has appeared in publications such as Redbook, SELF, and Chatelaine. Karma lives just outside Toronto with her husband, daughter, and their labradoodle, Fred. The Life Lucy Knew is her most recent novel.
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
GLOBE AND MAIL BESTSELLER
TORONTO STAR BESTSELLER
TORONTO STAR BESTSELLING BOOKS FOR 2020
VANCOUVER SUN BESTSELLER
US INDIE BESTSELLER
A PENGUIN BOOK CLUB PICK
“A time-hopping, dark domestic mystery, sprinkled with a dash of female empowerment and a few vintage baking tips.” —Toronto Star
“Fans of Daisy Jones and the Six will take to this new novel about women taking control.” —The Globe and Mail
CBC's “spring reading list: 40 great books to read this season”
The Globe and Mail's “36 reads to get you through till spring”
New York Post's “The best books of the week”
Refinery29's “11 Books To Stay Inside With This Winter”
Barnes and Noble's January “Books of the Month”
Praise for Recipe for a Perfect Wife:
“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 and the Six
"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."
—New York Times Book Review
“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 reach for my mom’s old recipe box.”
—Ann Hood, bestselling author of The Knitting Circle
“Karma Brown has outdone herself with her 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 Wife is a page-turning look at identity, love, legacy, marriage, and yes—food. I devoured it!”
—Jamie Brenner, bestselling author of Drawing Home
“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
“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 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
“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, bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls
“Hidden behind the veneer of a domestic novel, Recipe for a Perfect Wife doubles as a slow-burning thriller with a satisfying conclusion. Through her exploration of the past, Brown delivers a timely message about the state of marriage today, and the many ways in which women continue to fight for control over their future.”
—Quill & Quire
"[a] page-turning read...[it] tackles the knottier issues of gender stereotypes, female agency and just how many questionable decisions are acceptable in the pursuit of self-discovery."
—The Globe and Mail
“This mesmerizing dual narrative of a modern-day woman and a quintessential 1950s housewife is at once witty and charming and dark and sinister—much like its focus characters. With great care and gravity, this book offers a satisfying look at the lies we tell to feed the secrets we keep.”
—Barnes and Noble
“Karma Brown assembles all the ingredients for a tasty domestic drama in Recipe for a Perfect Wife, then sweetens the plot with dual storylines and a vaguely sinister mystery—along with a heaping helping of just desserts.”
—The London Free Press
“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."
“Brown ratchets up the tension and pulls off a surprising—but satisfying—ending [in Recipe for a Perfect Wife]. An engaging and suspenseful look at how the patriarchy shaped women's lives in the 1950s and continues to do so today.”
“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
“Readers familiar with Brown’s other novels . . . will be delighted with [her] handling of this material, which transcends decades. As always, Brown entertains as she provokes thought and discussion.”
—The Florida Times-Union
“[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.”
“A powerful, thought-provoking story about the choices that ultimately come to define and liberate two women who lived 60 years apart.”
“[A] captivating novel. . . . Clever, dark and empowering.”
"A positively captivating story awaits you in Recipe For A Perfect Wife. . . . A page turner from start to finish."
—Seattle Book Review
"Readers will enjoy watching both women take charge in their lives no matter what the cost."
—The Parkersburg News & Sentinel
Other titles by Karma Brown
The 4% Fix
How One Hour Can Change Your Life
The Sum of Its Parts
A Collection of Bestselling Novels about Strong Women
The Life Lucy Knew
Book Club Favorites
In This Moment
The Choices We Make
Come Away with Me
The Next Page: A Fiction Sampler for Book Clubs
The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine\Come Away with Me\Pretty Baby\The Good Girl\The Wonder of All Things\Little Mercies\Madame Picasso\The Returned\The Last Breath\The Mourning Hours\Teatime for the Firefly