BOOK CLUB: The Model Wife

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By Tricia Stringer
ISBN: 9781489270863
489 Pages / $32.99
Copy: Harper Collins Australia

The Model Wife by Tricia Stringer is a fantastic example of a great Australian family saga which I am sure many readers will relate to.

Natalie and Milt have been married for many years and have three adult daughters.  They live on a farm in country South Australia and ever since they have been married Natalie tends to everyone in the household as well as looking out for her mother in law Olive who lives in town nearby. She also teaches at the local primary school part-time as well as helping the community in fundraising activities. Add to that she also does all the books for the property business. Just lately she is feeling that she has no time to herself and she is starting to run on empty.

Meanwhile, Kate who is the eldest daughter comes home for a while as her husband Sean is a long-distance truck driver, she doesn’t feel well.   Laura, the middle daughter has decided to quit her job as a hairdresser and move back home to sort herself out.   Youngest daughter Bree helps her dad run the property and loves the country life but gets the impression that her dad will never trust her enough to take over in the future.

When a health issue arises for Natalie, it all becomes too much, and she decides she needs major time out from everyone.   As she is packing to head off, she comes across a book that her mother in law gave her when she was first married.  It was called The Model Wife and was a guide for new brides as to the correct way to behave when married.   She had completely forgotten about this book and with her book in tow, she heads off for a journey of self-discovery, leaving everyone at home to figure things out!

This is a big book (almost 500 pages) but it honestly didn’t feel that big.   The story was so engaging it kept me turning the pages, and you could imagine knowing someone like this family and the situations that cropped up.   It’s my first by Tricia but won’t be my last as I loved her style of writing.

Thank you so much to #beautyandlacebooks and #harpercollinsaustralia and #harlequinaustralia for the complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for an honest opinion.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Model Wife by Tricia Stringer. You can find out what they thought in the comments section below, or leave your own review.

15 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Model Wife

  1. Tricia Stringer’s “The Model Wife” is a beautiful multi-dimensional family saga. Natalie is the lynch pin of her family, and her desire to be seen for herself and to escape the mundane daily life is one that resonated deeply, as I’m sure it would with many women. Her relationship with her husband was marred with trust issues, and a lack of communication. The minor storylines of the three daughters all held interest. I loved seeing their father Milt step up and be there for his girls, and slowly open up to what he was missing with his wife, and recognise her importance in his life.
    I really enjoyed this lovely book. Tricia’s style of writing is engaging and so easy to read, you find yourself falling into the book and recognising the characters as familiar.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace, and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read Tricia Stringer’s gorgeous book! ❤

  2. Oh my goodness! I loved this book so hard! I couldn’t wait to see if I would be one of the lucky ones to get this book from Beauty & Lace so grabbed it from my local library the minute it was released. I found this book to be so relatable. With Natalie always taking care of other things before herself – work, the kids, her husband, her mother in law, her community! I really felt & connected with her feelings of needing time out just for herself. I loved seeing that Milt was able to use the time to connect with their daughters & become a help for them in their time of need while recognising that he was dropping the ball when it came to his wife. Tricia’s writing was so easy & flowed so well – I found myself picking this book up instead of my devices or watching TV & was done reading it in 2 days. I love it when a book does that 🙂 Thank you Tricia Stringer for a beautiful read!

  3. Tricia Stringer’s new novel, The Model Wife, focuses on a farming family in South Australia. While they have a tough time, they are not on the breadline like so many of our farmers. The farm has been handed down to Milt, who runs it with his daughter Bronwyn. There are two other daughters but they both have moved out. The lynchpin of the family is Natalie and like many women she works incredibly hard, holding down a teaching job at the local school, dealing with all domestic matters, managing the farm’s accounts and helping in the community.
    At the start of the novel it’s obvious Natalie is tired and has a few frustrations with her current life. She wishes Milt would agree to some time off so they could go on holiday together, she feels the new Principal at the school doesn’t value her, she feels taken for granted by the family and frustrated at her mother in law’s constant criticism and demands. So when she has a health scare and a stark reminder of a difficult time in her marriage, she looks at her life and decides she needs to make some changes and the only way she is going to be able to have time to think about what she wants is to get away.
    The Model Wife refers to a book given to Natalie by her mother in law Olive when she was pregnant with her first baby. The book is full of very old fashioned ideas of a wife’s role and her place in the home. Natalie has read the book many times over the years and depending on her state of mind at the time either thought it was silly and old fashioned, taken it seriously or felt its words were critical of her and she’s added her own words and pictures. This book features throughout the novel and at times reduces Natalie to tears and at other times she casts it aside in frustration.
    This very enjoyable and readable novel deals with one of the issues we all face as we get older: we start thinking about what we’ve done with our lives and what we want to do with the time we have left. Tricia’s characters are strong and believable, they’re not always shown in a good light which is true to life. It reminds us how easy it is to take our loved ones for granted, that they’ll always be there to help us. It shows us how important it is to think about an issue from another person’s perspective and how easy it is to misinterpret how someone is thinking and feeling.
    This is the second novel I have read by Tricia Stringer and, like the first one, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to Beauty and Lace book club and HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to read this novel.

  4. The Model Wife is the second contemporary novel from one of Australia’s favourite authors, Tricia Stringer. Told in the third person, it is the story of Natalie King, a mother and wife, who lives in rural South Australia. Natalie’s three girls, Kate, Bree and Laura have flown the nest and it is now just her and her husband, Milt. Growing up, the girls were three very different individuals who had a strong connection with each other. Despite their close relationship, they are keeping secrets from each other and their parents. When all three sisters return home for their own reasons, nothing can be kept hidden any longer. Natalie is keeping her own secrets after having a routine breast check that comes back with an anomaly, shaking Natalie’s world to the core. Reading The Model Wife, with its outdated advice for wives, has Natalie questioning her relationship with Milt. All this plus a long ago discretion is brought to the forefront, forcing Natalie to make some difficult decisions that will change her the family dynamics. Will it be for better or worse?

    With themes of love, family and marriage, Natalie is every woman as she strives to have it all.

  5. I really really enjoyed The Model Wife by Tricia Stringer.

    Set in Australia, both the farm in South Australia and the area in northern Western Australia were slightly familiar and made picturing the story easy.

    The characters were well thought out and worked well together. Their relationships made the story flow. I especially enjoyed the relationship between the sisters where their strengths and weaknesses complemented well.

    Essentially it’s a story of relationships, be they between family members or old and new friends and as the story developed it was great to see the relationships also develop.

    This is a definitely a book I’ll be sharing with friends.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed Tricia Stringer’s “The Model Wife.” Thank you so much, Beauty and Lace and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read and review this excellent book. At almost 500 pages it may look a little daunting but the story flows beautifully and even though there are several sub stories through the book it is easy to read and not at all laborious.

    I think most women would be able to identify to some extent with Natalie King, so used to giving her all to everyone else that she doesn’t even realise she’s reached the end of her tether until she has a health scare. Coming out of the treatment area of the hospital where she is having further tests feeling incredibly relieved, wanting to share good news with her husband, she finds her husband comforting another woman, someone who could have blown their marriage apart. This is definitely not easy to deal with. Natalie does something completely out of character and leaves the family to fend for themselves while she takes time out.

    She takes time out in Broome, Western Australia and then decides to experience other areas of Far North Western Australia with someone she’s only just met, something totally out of character and we are given a lovely insight into the area and the scenery and some of the people who live in the remote area.

    The sub stories, the stories within the story, are really well worked. Not at any time is the reader left wondering what or who goes where. The stories of Natalie and Milt, her husband and their three daughters, woven as beautifully as they are, lets us identify with the girls and their relationships. We get to understand Milt’s mother, Olive. I definitely wanted to shake Olive more than once and really felt for Natalie who shared a home with her in-laws until recently and virtually did as was expected of her without question or thinking.

    The title is cleverly worked through a book Olive gives Natalie with outdated advice for young wives, advice which at times can be taken as really funny but at times when someone is feeling vulnerable would make her want to scream and feel totally inadequate and definitely wouldn’t have endeared me to my husband’s mother! This outdated book is called “The Model Wife” and the writing cleverly brings the past and the present together and gives us the title for this great novel.

    It is a beautifully written and very readable family saga. I believe there are parts that everyone would identify closely with and see similarities in their own lives. “Natalie had simply to lose herself to find her way home” and the way everyone’s lives blend within the King’s family makes for an extremely satisfying read. A lovely book by a prolific Australian author, I believe this Tricia Stringer to be a clear winner.

  7. What a wonderful, heartwarming and realistic story from a fantastic Australian author!

    It certainly didnt me take long to become fully immersed in this book, its such a beautifully written story. The setting is described perfectly, the characters and their problems are realistic giving you a sense of familiarity, even the cover is beautiful! There really are no faults to this book! I enjoyed it from the first page to the last and was sad to finish it.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the chance to read and review such a great book. This is one I will be recommending to everyone!

  8. Loved it! This is a highly relatable book, regardless of where you live. Natalie is the linchpin of her family and a valued community member. With three adult daughters, with problems of their own, a husband, Milt and a mother-in-law, Olive, Natalie is trying to hold it together. When a health issue arises and Natalie leaves, we see Milt become more involved. The title, ‘the Model Wife’, is in reference to an old book, given to Natalie by Olive, as it was given to her by her mother-in-law. It details how a wife should be but will it bring Natalie undone? Will she return to the farm? And will she pass the book on? There are wonderful undercurrents and side stories that make this book a great read.

    Thank you Harper Collins and Beauty and Lace for the copy. Love Tricia’s books.

  9. This book should be an advertisement for WA travel. The scenery described by Tricia made me want to follow Natalie to Broome.

    This was a nice story, it was slower paced than other books I have read recently but I really enjoyed it. I could relate to Natalie, really disliked the mother-in-law and enjoyed getting to know the other characters and following along as they all faced challenges and attempted to determine what they wanted to be doing.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace book club and HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to read this book. Tricia Stringer is proving to be one of my must read authors.

  10. Tricia Stringer’s book titled “The Model Wife” , tells a story of a hard working Mother Natalie King.
    Natalie has a lot on her plate, more than she can chew and not much time for herself. Looking after the farm house,three daughters, working as a part time teacher, looking after the farm’s accounting , as well lots of other fund raising duties.

    This story may relate to many women out there who are in a similar situation where they feel , they have drained out all their energy and are stuck in a rut . Giving your all to everyone else and not having much left for yourself.

    Love the setting of this story. a beautiful farmhouse in South Australia. There are so many female characters in this story. Each character with their own personality. Although the story was easy to read , I did find at times I got confused with the story of the three daughters. I did have to re-jog my memory to recall which daughter, the story was mentioning at that time.

    The title of the story is based on an old book given by Olive (Natalie’s mother in law) when she first got married . This book has chapters of how a wife should behave . Although the book has very old fashioned values , somehow each chapter had a significance in Natalie’s current life.

    I looked forward to reading this book each morning and really enjoyed immersing myself into Natalie’s family. The story felt as if I was welcomed into Natalie’s Home as a guest and it gave me a warm feeling.

    I also really enjoyed how the author described each scene, so realistically it almost felt like a movie. Such a pretty Cover too .

    Looking forward to read more book by Tricia.

  11. Thankyou for letting me reading The Model Wife- Tricia Stringer.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It was light, deep, fun, heartwarming, throught provoking, sincere and joyous;, all in one beautifully written story.
    Natalie King is a lot of things, she juggles a lot of balls at once and is the heart and soul of her family. She keeps everyones cogs turning in the right direction, she pleases everyone and she does it with a smile on her face. Until she doesn’t.
    Nat is human and when an unfortunate event occurs that throws her world out of kilter she is forced to re-evaluate her lifr choices and decide what needs to come first in her life.
    With three grown daughters who need her, a husband, farm, mother-in-law, students, boss and trainee teacher-colleague Nat feels she is drowning in a sea of demands.
    She pushes forwards, is forced to put herself first and decides to escape her life and find herself in a world away from her old life, away from most people. One full of nature, calm and quiet. Nat meets new people and creates a holiday for herself that allows herself to heel and find peace.
    Things at home become hectic, crazed, weird and altogether abnormal. Events begin to occur, things begin to get out of control and Nat is brought crashing back to reality.
    Nats family pull together. Nat faces her husband Milt, daughters, mother in law and life.
    Creating for herself a life more in line with what she deserves for herself and one she is more at peace with.
    A wonderful novel.

  12. ‘The Model Wife’ by Tricia Stringer is a wonderful and relatable story about Natalie King ,a wife, mother of three grown up daughters and a woman juggling so many things including a not so likeable mother in law, until a serious health scare makes her stop and take stock of her life. She up and leaves her family and the farm in South Australia and heads to Western Australia on a ‘holiday’ to reassess her life.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved the way the story unfolds. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for giving me the opportunity to read and review this amazing book.

  13. Another great novel by Tricia Stringer, the Model Wife was very enjoyable and easy to read. I especially enjoyed the story line because I spent a large part of married life in country SA and lived in the era in which the role of wife and mother were often “ruled” by the “experts”. I can definitely relate to the struggles that women faced when influenced by the “Model Wife ” authority. This novel presents a sensitive exploration of the many challenges we might face when we set out on the journey of self discovery. Personally I really loved this novel and will be happy to pass it forward to my elderly neighbour as I know she will also relate to the beautifully written story.

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