When twenty-seven year old Joan Bergstrom sends a fan letter – as well as a gift of saffron – to fifty-nine-year-old food columnist Imogen Fortier, a life changing friendship begins.
As the two women commune through their letters and bridge the gap between their lives in LA and Camano Island, they build a closeness that sustains them through the historic events of the 1960s America, and the unexpected changes in their own lives. Into this beautiful, intimate world comes the ultimate test of Joan and Imogen’s friendship – a test that will summon their unconditional trust in one another.
A quaint and delightful novel written predominantly in the form of letters as Joan and Imogen correspond about their shared love of food. As their relationship develops they share more and in this way we get to know both women. Set in the 1960s there is an innocence about their lives, as women – their expectations and aspirations, but that is not to say life is without its challenges.
With a connection over food and recipes, this book was a tale of friendship – two women, from afar supporting and encouraging each other. It reminded me somewhat of Dear Mrs Bird and tapped into that slightly anonymous format of written correspondence which offers an intimacy not always captured in the same way elsewhere, the gradual sharing of details added to this gentle story.
A quick read at less than 200 pages, however I found myself invested in these two women and aspects of the book were very moving, I may have shed a tear or two! I liked the format of letter writing and the detail within the letters and the way the story unfolded felt very authentic. I could picture these two women, on miles from each other on the west coast of America and at very different stages in life forging this trusting and confiding friendship, sharing happiness and grief.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me this warm read, for foodies certainly but anyone looking for a nostalgic story of friendship, the uniqueness of letter writing and life’s journey should also consider picking this book up.
Thank you as always for reading.
About the Author
Kim Fay is the Managing Editor at Keyframe. She is the author of Love and Saffron and the historical novel The Map of Lost Memories, an Edgar Award Finalist; and the food memoir, Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam. She has worked as a journalist for more than 20 years and lives in Los Angeles.