The Arrangement: A Novel (Paperback)
February 2016 Indie Next List
“Ostensibly the story of M.F.K. Fisher and the years when she honed her skills as America's first food essayist, The Arrangement is actually a story about the fragility of relationships. As Fisher grows in renown, her marriage crumbles and she boldly takes a lover who represents everything antithetical to her husband -- his best friend. This is a sensual novel in every sense of the word, and the reader experiences all the excitement of both food and sexuality as Fisher becomes a more independent woman and discovers her writing abilities. What a woman! What a novel!”
— William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
“Absolutely dazzling.” –Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
“Filled with food and passion...If you love historical fiction, you'll fall hard for this one.” —Bustle.com
She’d made it sound as though her husband would be joining them for dinner. She’d made it sound that way on purpose, and then she arrived alone.
Los Angeles, 1934. Mary Frances is young, restlessly married, and returning from her first sojourn in France. She is hungry, and not just for food: she wants Tim, her husband Al’s charming friend, who encourages her writing and seems to understand her better than anyone. After a night’s transgression, it’s only a matter of time before Mary Frances claims what she truly desires, plunging all three of them into a tangled triangle of affection that will have far-reaching effects on their families, their careers, and their lives.
Set in California, France, and the Swiss Alps, The Arrangement is a sparkling, sensual novel that explores the complexities of a marriage and the many different ways in which we love. Writing at the top of her game, Ashley Warlick gives us a completely mesmerizing story about a woman well ahead of her time, who would go on to become the legendary food writer M. F. K. Fisher.
About the Author
Ashley Warlick is the author of four novels. Her work has appeared in Redbook, The Oxford American, McSweeney’s, and Garden and Gun, among others. The youngest ever recipient of the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship, she has also received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches fiction in the MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, South Carolina, and is the editor of the South Carolina food magazine edibleUpcountry. She is also the buyer at M. Judson, Booksellers and Storytellers in Greenville, SC, where she lives with her family.
“If you love historical fiction, you'll fall hard for this one. . . . Filled with food and passion, this is the perfect book to accompany a candlelit dinner.”
"The sensual adventures of food writer M.F. K. Fisher will keep the pages turning."
—Parade.com, "10 Romantic Reads for Valentine's Day"
"If you occasionally partake in culinary pleasures, you'll probably enjoy digging into Ashley Warlick's novelization of beloved food writer M. F. K. Fisher's life."
"A delight....Though The Arrangement is about marriage and friendship in the 1930 and 1940s, the novel’s story of a woman and her work is timeless."
—Charleston Post & Courier
"[The Arrangement] offers a lovely, affectionate portrait of the complicated woman who would become M.F.K. Fisher."
"[Warlick's] writing is smooth and elegant. The love and anguish experienced as marriages unravel is palpable and painful to the reader.”
—Historical Novel Society
"Stellar . . . A beautifully written treatment of love in its different forms."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Food writing fans may want to check out a novelization of the life of M.F.K. Fisher, focusing on . . . the more salacious personal details of the beloved food writer’s life."
—The Millions, "Most Anticipated Books of 2016"
“A ravishing depiction of the time when M.F.K. Fisher was giving herself over to her essential appetites—for language, food and consuming passion. Ashley Warlick’s prose, sharp and true as the edge of a honed blade, is a revelation. Absolutely dazzling.”
—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
“Written in language both sensuous and evocative, The Arrangement is the story of a woman who hungers to experience everything in life. A compelling story about the costs—and risks—of being true to one's self, and the courage it takes to live against convention.”
—Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
“I devoured and loved every word of Ashley Warlick’s audacious imagining of M.F.K. Fisher’s great love affair. The Arrangement is a powerful, enthralling, delectable thrill.”
—Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man
“A sophisticated and unapologetic tale of wayward desire that I read far too long into the night, worrying about how M.F.K. Fisher could possibly solve her excruciating dilemma—a dilemma that is at once impossible, seductive, and heartbreaking.”
—Robin Oliveira, author of My Name is Mary Sutter
“Ashley Warlick spins a beguiling tale of a complicated woman, sensuous and multi-layered as the food she chronicles. A scrumptious treat.”
—Janice Y. K. Lee, author of The Expatriates
“The Arrangement gives vivid voice to the complicated, fascinating, rule-breaking M.F.K. Fisher. Ashley Warlick brings the famous food writer’s world to life in sensual and deliciously literary detail.”
—Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters
“Warlick skillfully reveals the story of a young woman’s sensual and creative awakening with meticulous craft and fervent splendor.”
—J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest
“Ashley Warlick brings M. F. K. Fisher to life, revealing the depths of her restless, complicated, hungry soul. This is a book to be savored.”
—Ann Mah, author of The Art of French Eating