Today’s theme is Recipe For A Great Thriller. Be sure to check out the posts on Lucy Foley & Simone St. James too!
Another author I’ve long had on my radar is Karma Brown, and when this year’s RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE released, I finally had the chance to pick her up. What a great read!
This book was a masterpiece of subtlety and layers, and Brown did an excellent job of building tension through the main contemporary character’s growing doubt and uncertainty, as her husband increasingly isolates her and causes her to question her value and options. (Rather like the way an abusive husband may quietly begin to manipulate his wife and stealthily get more and more controlling.
Juxtaposed against a 1950s housewife who’s the victim of domestic abuse, our modern heroine compares notes left by the former resident and gains the courage to face her nebulous suspicions and create the life she deserves, though maybe not quite as drastically as her predecessor.
Deviously plotted and deliciously concocted, I highly recommend this smart, crafty novel.
Find the books:
RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE
In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society.
When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home’s basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner–1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life–including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother.
Soon Alice learns that while baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister–even dangerous–side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
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