Book Buzz: Love & Saffron

Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay

Love & Saffron is a heartfelt epistolatory novel of long-distance friendship. Through beautifully crafted letter exchanges, Kim Fay develops a story of historical fiction in compelling and delightful ways, spanning an evolving 1960s America. The story begins when aspiring writer Joan sends a letter of appreciation to one of her favorite food columnists, Imogen. Along with her kind words, Joan includes a gift of saffron and a recipe for steamed mussels. This loving gift blossoms into years of correspondence as these two women develop a lifelong friendship of love and support which sees them through both times of joy and times of sorrow.

Food remains a throughline for the novel, as both women share their culinary adventures and discoveries, continually inspiring each other to explore new cooking avenues, and finding enduring connections through a shared love of food. Yet food is merely a touchstone for the plot’s journey, as the heart of the story is about friendship and its strength when facing adversity. Love & Saffron explores many social issues that span the 1960s to today, including the role of women in the workforce, women’s health, interracial relationships, racial and cultural discrimination, and the traumas of war, to name but a few.

In addition to the era, Love & Saffron is a novel of place: a firmly West Coast tale. Joan writes of life in southern California and travels to Mexico, while Imogen is a Camano Island resident who becomes active in Seattle’s civic preservation. Imogen’s letters should resonate particularly well with longtime PNW residents, and those curious about life in Seattle some sixty years past. Fay writes with such craft that the setting almost becomes a third character at times, drawing the reader intimately into the times and places of Love & Saffron.

Love & Saffron should appeal to readers of historical fiction, as well as foodies, and those interested in a story of loving friendship and support. Visit to find Love & Saffron and other similarly themed stories.

Jonathan Jakobitz is an avid reader and the branch manager of the Blaine Public Library.

(Originally published in The Northern Light, Wednesday, January 31, 2024.)