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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.
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. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
J. Ryan Stradal is the author of New York Times bestseller Kitchens of the Great Midwest and national bestseller The Lager Queen of Minnesota. His debut, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, won the American Booksellers Association Indie's Choice Award for Adult Debut Book of the Year, the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association award for fiction, and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for debut fiction. The Lager Queen of Minnesota, his second novel, was an instant bestseller, won the 2020 WILLA Award for the year's best contemporary fiction, and was a finalist for the 2020 Heartland Booksellers Award. His shorter writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Granta, Hobart, The Rumpus, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other places.