Thank you to Two Roads Books for the opportunity to read and review this beautiful proof copy of the book. Love & Saffron was published in the UK earlier this month.
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 US of the 1960s. As the two women commune through their letters, they build a closeness that sustains them through the unexpected changes 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 one another.
Thank you to Kim Fay for this beautiful story. I was quickly transported back in time to the 1960’s in the United States (the letters between Joan and Imogen reference the Cold War and the death of JFK).
Joan sends a fan letter to Imogen, with a sample of saffron, and they become good friends over the course of a number of years, despite the age and geographical distances between them.
This is a book about love – love for food, friendship and romance. Joan and Imogen support each other through a number of challenges, and find that their worlds expand as they try food and visit places recommended by the other.
The book tackles some tough issues but in a beautiful way, and if you do follow my advice and read the book, please make sure you have some tissues handy for tears. In a world of instant messaging, the letter writing may seem old fashioned but our historians have used letters to research our ancestors – how will they research our modern day lives?
This is a five star read for me, friendship, food and history all woven into a small novel (178 pages) and one I’m keen to recommend.
Author Bio (from Amazon):
Born in Seattle and raised throughout Washington State, I am a former indie bookseller and former travel writer living in Vietnam for four years. I am the author of the historical novel THE MAP OF LOST MEMORIES, an Edgar Award Finalist for Best First Novel; COMMUNION: A CULINARY JOURNEY THROUGH VIETNAM, winner of a World Gourmand Cookbook Award; and LOVE & SAFFRON, a historical, epistolary novel written during the pandemic.
I am also the creator/editor of the To Asia With Love guidebook series. I live in Los Angeles with my husband Jim and dog Mabel. I am represented by Kate Garrick at Salky Literary Management: firstname.lastname@example.org