Saturday, 9 March 2019

The Temporary Bride by Jennifer Klinec

The Temporary Bride by Jennifer Klinec
Published by Virago in September 2014.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A relationship was a mathematical formula: the correct variables of age, beauty, morality and finances were entered and the output was a successful, peaceful marriage. It couldn't be, therefore, that their Iranian son could feel desire for someone six years his senior, someone who didn't come to him pure and untouched. I was an amusing visitor from another world and soon enough I should return to it, fading quietly into an anecdote ...

In her thirties, Jennifer Klinec abandons a corporate job to launch a cooking school from her London flat. Raised in Canada to Hungarian-Croatian parents, she has already travelled to countries most people are fearful of, in search of ancient recipes. Her quest leads her to Iran where, hair discreetly covered and eyes modest, she is introduced to a local woman who will teach her the secrets of the Persian kitchen.

Vahid, her son, is suspicious of the strange foreigner who turns up in his mother's kitchen; he is unused to seeing an independent woman. But a compelling attraction pulls them together and then pits them against harsh Iranian laws and customs.

Getting under the skin of one of the most complex and fascinating nations on earth, The Temporary Bride is a soaring story of being loved, being fed, and the struggle to belong.

I was contacted on Twitter by Jennifer Klinec who asked if I would like to review her memoir, The Temporary Bride. I read and reviewed it in 2014. As the book combines two of my favourite things - travel and food - I was delighted to accept, downloading my copy via NetGalley. Despite its seemingly romance novel title, The Temporary Bride is actually the interesting memoir of a fiercely independent woman. An inspired and insatiable cook, Jennifer Klinec travelled the world in search of fabulous recipes and one of her journeys led her to Iran where she spent several weeks practically living with a family in order to learn the woman of the house's culinary secrets. She also met the woman's son, Vahid, initially disliked him, but gradually built up understanding, friendship and then love.

As a fairly short memoir, I read The Temporary Bride in a day and wished I had known ahead of time to provide myself with snacks! Klinec's overwhelming love of food and cookery had me wanting to try the dishes she describes, several of which sounded divine. I had hopes of a couple of recipes being included at the end but was disappointed in this. Perhaps Klinec also has a recipe book out? I must check for one! Her descriptions of day to day life in Iran are nicely balanced with the positives of the culture getting mentions alongside the negatives. As a British reader, I found the restrictive laws and constant threat of arrest a frightening prospect, but appreciated learning how there is more than this to living in the country. The budding relationship itself is discreetly portrayed and I did empathise with the hoops Jennifer and Vahid needed to jump through simply to be together.

I would definitely recommend Klinec's memoir to foodies and I think that travellers will identify with her drive to see everywhere. The book is nicely observed and well-written. Just do remember that reading it will make you feel very hungry so be prepared!

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Books by Jennifer Klinec / Biography and memoir / Books from Canada


  1. Now that's a great way to learn new recipes. Go and learn them right from the people making the food.

    1. Absolutely! The perfect way to get to grips with a new cuisine!

  2. Replies
    1. And you'll be inspired to do more of both after reading this!