Reading group favorite Nicole Mones transports readers to the fascinating world of elite cuisine in modern China with the story of an American food writer traveling in Beijing. Recently widowed Maggie MacElroy is unexpectedly called to China to settle a claim against her late husband’s estate. Shocked to discover that he may have led a secret life, she immerses herself in the comforting distraction of work. She is sent by the magazine she works for to profile Sam, a Chinese American who is the last in a line of gifted chefs in China tracing back to the imperial palace. As Sam prepares an elaborate banquet, his audition for the Cultural Olympics, Maggie learns to appreciate the beauty and balance, ritual and meaning of Chinese cooking and culture—and finds the secret ingredient that will bring solace to her heart.
Infused with themes of tradition and obligation, belonging and connection, Mones’s satisfying, sensual novel “just might be the perfect leisure read . . . This delicious book will leave you with an intense craving for perfectly prepared Chinese food” (Wall Street Journal).
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