Sunday, November 1, 2015

Recipes for a Perfect Marriage by Kate Kerrigan - Excerpt

Hi, everyone! Today, this first day of November, I have a very special post-Halloween treat for you. I know some of you might have grown tired of all the horror posts from the end of last month, so this will be a welcome change for you  especially, I expect :)

This is quite an exciting post for me. You may recall when I read and reviewed Kate Kerrigan's Ellis Island trilogy; I loved this series and was quite sad when all was said and done. So you can imagine how truly pleased I was to find out that UK publisher Head of Zeus would be releasing two of Kerrigan's earlier titles in ebook here in the US. This is the first time these titles have been available Stateside! I'll be covering them both here on the blog this month. Today I've got an excerpt of Recipes for a Perfect Marriage to share with you, but before we dive into the excerpt here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

New York food writer Tressa returns from honeymoon worried that she has married her impossibly handsome new husband Dan out of late-thirties panic instead of love.

In 1930’s Ireland, her grandmother, Bernadine, is married off to the local schoolteacher after her family are unable to raise a dowry for her to marry her true love, Michael.

During the first year of her marriage, Tressa distracts herself from her stay-or-go dilemma by working on her grandmother’s recipes, searching for solace and answers through their preparation.

Through the stories of these two women Recipes for a Perfect Marriage challenges the modern ideal of romantic love as a given and ponders whether true love can really be learned.

And now, here's a taste of Recipes for a Perfect Marriage.  


The heart of a recipe, what makes it work, is a mystery. Taste is such a personal thing and yet the right recipe can open a person’s mind to a food they thought they didn’t like. Then again, you can put all the right ingredients together, follow the instructions exactly, and still have a disaster on your hands.

That’s how it has always been with me and my Grandma Bernadine’s brown bread. I would do exactly as she showed me, but it would always come out a little too crumbly or doughy or hard.

“You’re too fussy,” she’d say. “Put some jam on and just eat it anyway. It’ll be different again tomorrow.”

And it was always different. But it was never right. Like my marriage to Dan.

They say you just know the man you are going to marry. That’s how it’s supposed to work. You date guys, sleep with them, live with them—get through your twenties having fun falling in and out of love. Then one day you meet this man and you just know he is “The One.” He’s different from everyone else you have ever met. You feel happier, more special, more alive when you are with him. So you get married.

For two weeks you are Barbie and Ken. There’s a big showoff wedding at the Plaza, and you wear a white meringue of a dress even though you are over thirty. You spend what should be the down payment for your first home on fourteen days in the Caribbean.

Then, when you get your “Ken” home, you realize he was an impulse buy. You wanted the “married” label so badly that you didn’t think it through, and now he doesn’t look as good as he did under the spangly lights of singledom. He doesn’t fit you properly, either; although you convinced yourself he’d be suitable for everyday use, you now find him uncomfortable and irritating. He has cost you your freedom; he is the most expensive mistake you will ever make. You have been married for less than three months and everything he does and everything he says makes you scream inside: For the rest of my life! I can’t live with this for the rest of my life!

But you don’t say it out loud because you are ashamed of having made such a terrible, terrible mistake. Even though you despise him for the way he clips his toenails in bed, you know it is not grounds for divorce. You know that this silent torture you are living with is entirely your fault for marrying him when you didn’t really love him. Not enough, certainly. Now that you think back on it, did you ever love him at all, or was it all just about you desperately wanting to get married? Because surely love is too strong to allow these petty everyday annoyances to turn it into hatred. Love is bigger than that. Love doesn’t make mistakes. Not real love. Not the kind of love that makes you marry someone.

by the seventh week of married life the statistic that one in four marriages ends in divorce cheers you, and you have decided that six months is a respectable amount of time to be seen trying to make it work.

Except that you know you haven’t. Tried, that is. And you can’t help thinking that perhaps you are just part of a generation of women who finds marriage a challenging and difficult state of being.

Or perhaps there is no universal group, no zeitgeist-y cliché to hide behind.

In which case I am just a woman who married the wrong guy and is trying to find a way out.

I hope y'all are as excited about this one as I am! I'll be posting my review of this one Friday and I'll be covering Kerrigan's The Miracle of Grace next week as well. 

1 comment:

Kate Kerrigan said...

Thanks so much for agreeing to review the books – I am dying to know what you think. So exciting to have then brought back to life. Warmest wishes from Ireland. Kate. XXX