by Kim Fay
Penguin Publishing Group, February 2022
kindle edition 192 pages
source: borrowed from the library
Motivation for reading: Catherine from The Gilmore Guide to Books talked about this on the podcast Sarah's Bookshelves Live and it sounded like a book I'd love.
A portion of the goodreads summary:
The #1 Indie Next Pick, in the vein of the classic 84, Charing Cross Road and Meet Me at the Museum, this witty and tender novel follows two women in 1960s America as they discover that food really does connect us all, and that friendship and laughter are the best medicine.
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.
This book is a gem! I love an epistolary novel, and this one has been compared to an all-time favorite 84, Charing Cross Road. Turns out that comparison is spot on. The main difference here (aside from the fact that this is fiction and 84, Charing Cross Road is nonfiction) is that the friendship - between two women of different generations in the 1960s - is forged over food rather than books. It begins with a fan letter and a gift of saffron and ends up a most extraordinary friendship.
I loved this little book and was sorry to reach the end. It will surely appear on my list of favorites in December. I plan to purchase a hard copy for myself and will likely gift a copy or two at Christmas. Don't miss it!