Even a good woman can be pushed too far…
“The model wife loves her husband truly, and does not highlight his faults. She accepts her husband’s demands and never criticizes, argues or speaks disparagingly.”
Natalie King’s life is full. Some might say too full. She’s a teacher at a local school, volunteers in the community, helps run the family farm (she does all of the accounts), has three grown daughters who all need support in one way or another, and has a demanding mother-in-law. Her husband Milt isn’t much of a support. He certainly wouldn’t notice if his wife was unhappy. But is she unhappy? Most days Natalie is too busy to think about her own happiness. She is the one person everyone depends upon. Surely that gives her life meaning?
But when an odd gift from her mother-in-law – an old book in the form of stern and outdated advice for young wives – surfaces again, it brings with it memories she thought she had buried deep. That book, The Model Wife is a book of advice for wives, first given to Milt’s grandmother when she married in 1935, who then passed it to Milt’s mother in 1957… who then gifted it to Natalie in 1985. The book can be summed up in the opening chapter, A Husband is Master.
Has this insidious little book exerted some kind of hold over Natalie? Could it be that in her attempts to be a loving wife and mother, she no longer knows who she is? When Natalie receives some news about a breast cancer test, she starts to question her life. And then on a day when it seems everyone is taking her for granted, and as the ghost of a past betrayal rises, it becomes clear that even this good mother and model wife can be pushed too far …
Bestselling author, Tricia Stringer has written a gorgeous book, a salve from the many books now written with high concepts and big plot twist. Not that I’m complaining – they’re great too. But what a delight it was to immerse myself in this beautifully written, multi-generational family story that really focusses on the daily dramas, and the personal struggles of well-developed, realistic characters. The Model Wife looks at what happens when real-life betrayals and struggling relationships clash with outdated ideas of what a woman should be. But it’s done in such a real, understated way. It’s not an anti-patriarchy book, rather a very real reflection by its main character about who she is now in her fifties, and what she wants in life.
Stringer really sets the scene for this family, with a vivid description of their South Australian farming life. The pages are filled with wonderful characters, each with their own well-crafted arc and polished prose.
This book is the equivalent of a hot bath or a box of chocolates, it’s comforting and an absolute pleasure to immerse yourself in. It’s realistically romantic, filled with hope, a tale of second chances. If you enjoy well-written family sagas, look no further. The Model Wife is perfect.
About the author:
Tricia Stringer is a bestselling and multiple award-winning author. Her books include The Model Wife, Table for Eight, and the rural romances Queen of the Road, Right as Rain, Riverboat Point, Between the Vines, A Chance of Stormy Weather, Come Rain or Shine and Something in the Wine. She has also published a historical saga; Heart of the Country, Dust on the Horizon and Jewel in the North are set in the unforgiving landscape of nineteenth-century Flinders Ranges.
Tricia grew up on a farm in country South Australia and has spent most of her life in rural communities, as owner of a post office and bookshop, as a teacher and librarian, and now as a full-time writer. She lives in the beautiful Copper Coast region with her husband Daryl, travelling and exploring Australia’s diverse communities and landscapes, and sharing her passion for the country and its people through her authentic stories and their vivid characters.