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Recipes for a Perfect Marriage Paperback – March 1, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Afraid she is too old to wait for "The One," successful 38-year-old food writer Tressa Nolan marries the next man who asks her—her building super, amiable, kindly, not-very-educated Dan Mullins. Less than two months into her marriage, she realizes she does not love her husband, and never has. Horrified by his blue-collar habits, his desire to move from their Upper West Side apartment to Yonkers and his combative mother, Eileen, Tressa wishes desperately for the counsel of her late Irish grandmother, Bernadine, who taught her to cook and whose 50-year marriage to grandfather James seemed like the model of the perfect relationship. Along with old-fashioned recipes (e.g., Slow-Roasted Clove Ham and Honey Cake), Bernadine's tale, set in 1930s and '40s Ireland, is interspersed with Tressa's, in 2004 Manhattan. The two stories run parallel, each woman learning that as food too hurriedly made is inferior to its long-cooking counterpart, so the passionate love that immediately strikes the heart may be pale in comparison to the slow-growing, long-lasting love of marriage. A fine point, and nicely illustrated, but the mirror chapters becomes predictable, as whatever happens to one woman is sure to happen, in similar form, to her counterpoint. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Thirty-eight-year-old food-writer Tressa Nolan marries her building super, Dan Mullins, but after only two months--as she wrestles with his desire to move from Manhattan to Yonkers, with his teeming horde of relatives, and with his daily, lumbering presence--she is horrified to realize that she does not love him. Tressa is haunted by memories of her grandmother Bernadine's seemingly idyllic marriage. Bernadine's story, set in Ireland during the 1930s and '40s, is interspersed as well as old-fashioned recipes for honey cake and rhubarb tart. As Tressa gradually realizes the depth of compromises required in marriage, she gains an appreciation for the kind of love that grows slowly and lasts as opposed to more passionate but temporary liaisons. Beautifully illustrating her points with domestic scenes of confrontation and reconciliation, Prunty proves to be a surprisingly astute observer of marriage in all its complications. Lacking the boisterous humor of Marian Keyes' novels but similarly appealing for its warmth and Irish charm, this would make a fine choice for women's reading groups, where it is sure to provoke lively discussion. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pan MacMillan; New edition edition (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447213122
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447213123
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,816,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel is a gem, exploring the mysteries of marriage in sections which touch upon some of the traits that help maintain commitment (Chemistry, compromise, sacrifice, endurance, shared joy, etc). Don't fear that this book will be "preachy" - it is not. Instead, it is a very penetrating, realistic look at marriage through the eyes of two women, Tressa and Bernadine.Tressa lives in today's world. Bernadine "speaks" to her only through journal entries but that is enough to reveal the marriage she had, a marriage Tressa mistakenly believed was perfect.

Although the two women are generations apart - but shared a similar dilemna, learning to love their husbands after marrying them.

Tressa is newly married and already wondering what she has gotten herself into. As Tressa continues to struggle with her own doubts, she starts to read her grandmother's journal and glimpes the truth behind the facade of perfection in her grandmother's marriage.

Both of the women's lives in this book are believable and the author doesn't shy away from hard truths - that love, even in the best of marriages, can wax and wane, that it may have to grow over time and that commitment and hanging on through times of deep, deep doubt and stress may be what separates those who stay married from those who do not. Enduring some periods of lovelessness and animosity may even be normal.

What I like best about this book (besides the wonderful writing) is the point that the author returns to time and again...that there is no one formula for success in building a successful marriage - but there ARE goalposts along the way, characteristics that temper youthful romance and build a mature union.
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Format: Hardcover
Rarely does an author know how to write a book about love and commitment in a way that is palatable for both sexes. But Morag Prunty had both my boyfriend and me reading Recipes for a Perfect Marriage from cover to cover - with no desire to put it down. And that is rare. Perhaps because Prunty articulates what men and women from all generations can so easily relate to: the fear of commitment and the challenges of relationships. And perhaps because it is refreshingly more pro-male than most books about love. Recipes delivers honest, beautiful messages. It will surely hit an emotional chord with anyone who has ever been in a relationship, or afraid to take the plunge. Both serious and funny at times, I would highly recommend Recipes for both male and female audiences.
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Format: Hardcover
I LOVED this novel! Anyone who's married will enjoy this! The story is about Tressa, a newly married professional woman who is thinking that her marriage was a mistake from the beginning. All she can see are the imperfections in her new husband and their relationship. The story is mixed with letters from her grandmother that recount her own marriage. Then, there are recipes throughout that seem to perfectly advise or depict the aspects of marriage just by the directions or ingredients! The author hooks you from the beginning, then you will want to devour it in one sitting! I found myself anxiously wanting to get back to the story of Tressa's grandmother's marriage while reading Tressa's story. (The chapters mostly alternated between the two.)

You'll be thinking about your own marital relationship while reading this story. I think we get so busy comparing, analyzing and gauging what we've got and wanting it to look identical to the fairytale that we too often don't allow ourselves to realize or enjoy what a prize we really do have. Isn't it really about what you make of it anyway?

I loved the language in this book. There were many times I wanted to stop reading and go write down an excerpt from the book.

I don't buy many novels because I am not usually that interested in re-reading them, so I usually check them out from the library. This is one I would definately want to read again, and I want to try out the recipes! Buy the book, it's money well spent!

This is a great read!
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Format: Paperback
I am not the type of reader that will sit down and read a whole book in one evening, but I could not put it down. I am not married yet, but this book taught me that love is not just what marriages are made of. A marriage is made of commitment, loyalty and the willingness to be there no matter what. This book made me cried and touched me in ways that not often books do. Read it, have some kleenex available and enjoy it. And when you are done, give your husband or boyfriend a big hug and tell them how much you love them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This, while not written quite as well as "war and peace' was surprisingly enjoyable. Two women, in different times and different countries, both married to men who are good, kind and decent, but men they are not "in love" with. There is the predicted reconciliation, and happy endings, but also lessons to be learned along the way. I had problems at first even liking the book since I found the two women who are the central characters to be so very unlikeable. selfish, petty, sometimes mean spirited, and again, did I mention, selfish? However, some of the thoughts they have (particularly Bernadine) rang true, and her story especially has so much insight into the nature of human relationships I found myself looking forward to her "turns" in the book. At risk of sounding sentimental, the book reminds you that you will only get as much out of a marriage as you are willing to put in, that kindness and being trustworthy are traits of indescribable value, and that gratitude is so much better than 'give me". I was much nicer to my won husband after reading this book. It's worth the time, I think it's quite enjoyable.
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