Author: Tricia Stringer
Publisher: HQ Fiction
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher via NetGalley
RRP: $32.99

The Model Wife is the latest offering of bestselling author Tricia Stringer and it’s one that I am sure all women will be able to relate to on some level. I am thrilled to be able to bring you this review on it’s release day. How very exciting! Congratulations Tricia on another tale that resonates.

Natalie King is a farmer’s wife, mother, daughter-in-law and teacher whose life is full, sometimes a little too full. So full that she never sits back to wonder if she’s actually happy and satisfied with her life. She’s also the one everyone depends on, taking for granted the fact that she will always be there when she needs them.

In the whirlwind of every day life Natalie always has a to-do list a mile long, and it seems that no-one notices what she does; only those things that she forgets. This is something that really resonated with me with the juggle of young children, work, housework, errands, reviews and then the guilt if there was something that I just couldn’t fit in. It is something I’m sure we all relate to at some stage.

Natalie’s children are grown and two of them live away from home, Bree lives in attached quarters and helps her father run the farm. All mothers know though, that your job as a mother is never done. Just because the children are grown and living far away doesn’t make them need their mother less, maybe a little less often but you always need your mum.

In a week that everything seems to be getting on top of her Natalie then finds she needs to make an urgent trip to Adelaide for life changing tests. She forgets the impending arrival of her youngest daughter and other commitments she had in the rush.

The appointment was certainly life-changing, but not in the way she was expecting. It was enough to make her sit back and look at her life, study her life satisfaction and look at what she wished was different.

A farmer and his wife are very much tied to their farm so travel has always been something that ended up in the too hard basket, but it is something that Natalie has always wanted to do. On the spur of the moment, which is completely out of character, Natalie decides to take some time out and visit her best friend, who has moved from the neighbouring farm to Queensland. The problem with spur of the moment decisions and surprise visits is that people can’t cater for your plans if they don’t know about them, which is why Natalie finds herself at the airport on her way to visit a friend who is actually on her way to Thailand. Faced with the choice of returning home or changing her plans Natalie opts to take herself on a holiday to somewhere completely new.

The Model Wife is a story about family, relationships, betrayals, friendship and community that warmed my heart but also wasn’t short of a laugh.

As a young bride Natalie was gifted a book by her mother-in-law, an outdated tome of advice on how to become a model wife. Surely a gag gift, designed to give a laugh, because in this day and age who still subscribes to the ideals that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, ensuring the happiness of her husband. She laughed it off at the time but over the years has made the book into a scrapbook of sorts which I think was explored just beautifully. Stringer expertly weaves snippets of The Model Wife into the narrative to show how Natalie has inadvertently followed the advice in her own way.

I actually adored the characters in this story. I could relate to Natalie but I also watched the growth in her family and grew to love them for it. Milt knew why Natalie needed a break and he made sure the girls allowed her to enjoy that break even though they would have loved to talk to her about what was on their minds. But what I loved the most about Milt was that he recognised some things in himself that maybe needed some analysis and set to ticking things off the to-do list around the house that had needed doing long term but never quite made it to top priority.

Natalie’s break created a new independence in those who relied on her the heaviest and it was the best thing for all of them. It’s lovely to be needed, and it’s lovely to be there for those you love but it’s amazing to watch those you love go on to find their own vibe.

The Model Wife explores relationships both familial and romantic but I think the one I loved watching the most was Natalie and her mother-in-law. It is very easy to make assumptions about where you think things are coming from but open lines of communication can make you see things in a completely different light.

There is so much to love in The Model Wife and I think it will appeal to a wide range of readers. I have only touched briefly on all of the things going on but I think I’ve rambled enough, definitely check it out for yourself.

It’s kind of funny, I sit here trying to think of a concise and witty close to this review and it makes me think of the one line I had planned right from the beginning and haven’t written…

As a busy wife and mother I’m sure most of you have, at one time or another, wanted to run away from home, I know that I certainly have. Well, Natalie King did it and it turned out to be one of the best decisions she could have made, for herself and her family.

Tricia Stringer you have done it again, an in-depth and sensitive exploration of all things family; the good, the bad and the hard to handle. I loved it and I can’t wait to read what you have in store for us next.

The Model Wife was read as part of #AWW2019 but I still haven’t gone back to find out what number.

Thank you to the Publisher and NetGalley for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Available now from HQ Fiction and where all good books are sold.

Tricia can be found at Tricia and Facebook.

Have you read The Model Wife? I would love to know what you thought.