The Author, Hannah Tunnicliffe, is a New Zealander who has lived in several other countries and, fittingly for a book titled Season of Salt & Honey, there’s something of an international flavour to it.
The novel is set in Washington State, USA. The character and her family at the centre are Italian and Sicilian – transplants to America who find their cultural traditions are not always appreciated fully by longer-established “merigans”. The love between a young couple, Francesca (Frankie) Caputo and Alex Gardner, is not approved by all –
“When we get married I’ll be a Gardner…People won’t know I’m Italian.”
That’s good, right? You always say people judge you when they see your name…You can be American.”
It’s not quite the Romeo and Juliet story over again, but Frankie and Alex’s union does come to a tragic end; and when it does, feelings between the families deteriorate even further.
Then comes the appearance of another group of people – among them a black-haired, tanned man from New Zealand and his daughter Huia. The fact that Jack is a Kiwi isn’t important in any way to the story and, from this side of the world at least, it seems a little contrived – designed perhaps in order to attract readers in this country.
There’s a theme of food throughout -
“Love and food: the Italian equation for bliss.”
In this case, though, the bliss is cut short and the planned menu for the wedding is not used. Many other meals are described quite fully and the book includes several recipes, mainly Italian – Pitta Mpigliata, Affrogato, Polpette al Sugo, Nzuddi, Spring Risotto, Banana Bread, Lingua di Suocera, Rosolio alle Erbe, Pasta alla Norma.
Season of Salt & Honey is a well-produced volume with an attractive cover. A continuity problem made me go back and reread one chapter, but otherwise it’s a story that’s worth reading.
Author: Hannah Tunnicliffe