Love & Saffron by Kim Fay
Published: February 8, 2022 – Putnam
Book courtesy of the publisher
Calling all fans of “food fiction” and epistolary novels! I definitely fit into those categories. When a young woman writes a fan letter to a columnist for a monthly ‘home & life’ magazine it is the beginning of a lovely friendship.
Joan is a new food writer living in Los Angeles and Imogen is a 60-ish writer living with her husband on an island off the coast of Seattle. They share parts of their lives, the food they love, and hopes and dreams. The food descriptions had me drooling and I loved that a few recipes were included.
A few notable events of the early 1960s are worked into the story and give a bit of heft to the setting. I appreciated that. What I loved most, though, was the friendship between two women from different generations. Just a lovely novel that I will recommend to friends this spring.
When twenty-seven-year-old Joan Bergstrom sends a fan letter–as well as a gift of saffron–to fifty-nine-year-old Imogen Fortier, a life-changing friendship begins. Joan lives in Los Angeles and is just starting out as a writer for the newspaper food pages. Imogen lives on Camano Island outside Seattle, writing a monthly column for a Pacific Northwest magazine, and while she can hunt elk and dig for clams, she’s never tasted fresh garlic–exotic fare in the Northwest of the sixties. As the two women commune through their letters, they build a closeness that sustains them through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy, and the unexpected in their own lives.
Food and a good life—they can’t be separated. It is a discovery the women share, not only with each other, but with the men in their lives. Because of her correspondence with Joan, Imogen’s decades-long marriage blossoms into something new and exciting, and in turn, Joan learns that true love does not always come in the form we expect it to. Into this beautiful, intimate world comes the ultimate test of Joan and Imogen’s friendship—a test that summons their unconditional trust in each other.
A brief respite from our chaotic world, Love & Saffron is a gem of a novel, a reminder that food and friendship are the antidote to most any heartache, and that human connection will always be worth creating. (publisher)
About the author:
Born in Seattle and raised throughout the Pacific Northwest, Kim Fay lived in Vietnam for four years and still travels to Southeast Asia frequently. A former bookseller, she is the author of Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam, winner of the World Gourmand Cookbook Awards’ Best Asian Cuisine Book in the United States, and The Map of Lost Memories, an Edgar Award finalist for Best First Novel. She is also the creator/editor of a series of guidebooks on Southeast Asia. Fay now lives in Los Angeles.