This is a charming story about a lonely British divorcee, Eve Petworth, who writes a fan letter to an American author, Jackson Cooper and he replies. A long distance virtual friendship develops between Eve and Jack, beginning with their mutual love of cooking and food, and gradually growing into something deeper. As time passes, the two come to look to each other for support through the highs and lows of their lives.
We get to know their hopes and dreams, their families, and their culinary tastes. And we wonder, of course, if their virtual relationship will ever develop into anything more.
Discussion: The story is told partially in an epistolary format, chronicling Jack and Eve’s developing bonds. (In a humorously meta way, Eve’s writing is much more literary than Jack’s, although it is Jack who is the successful author.) They also frequently exchange recipes, two of which are included at the end of the book.
Some of the non-epistolary writing is quite fun as well, such as this exchange in which Eve’s daughter Izzy is talking to her fiance Ollie about her mother::
‘Changed good? Or changed bad?’
‘Last night, when I telephoned her about the weekend, there was music playing in the background.’
‘Well, that’s bloody suspicious.’”
Evaluation: Just lovely; a treat for all the senses. BBC Films, the U.K. public broadcaster’s stand-alone filmmaking unit, has optioned the rights to the novel. I hope that means a sequel is in the works as well!
Published by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013