It's more than just a recipe - it's a way of life.
For fans of Kristin Hannah and Kate Jacobs, Darien Gee's deeply felt and utterly charming novel follows two estranged sisters, three newfound friends, and - ultimately - a whole town brought together by a simple loaf of Amish Friendship Bread.
In Avalon, Illinois, a woman and her young daughter return home to find a plate of Amish Friendship Bread along with a bag of starter on their doorstep. There's no note, just a yellow sticky with the words, "I hope you enjoy it." The instructions tell them to feed the starter over a ten-day period, then bake two loaves and share the remaining starter with three other people.
At the insistence of her five-year old daughter, Julia Evarts reluctantly follows the instructions. Soon, the bread and its starter are making their way through the town of Avalon, touching the lives of its residents in ways both comical and unexpected. Julia befriends Madeline Davis, 74, owner and proprietor of Madeline's Tea Salon and Antiques who harbors a secret of her own, and Hannah de Brisay, 28, a concert cellist who relocates to Avalon after the premature end of her career and marriage.
Julia's sister, Livvy, is struggling with her own loneliness as she and her husband, Tom, try for a child of their own. Julia's husband, Mark, is tired of the sadness that seems to have taken over their lives for the past five years. As the town of Avalon becomes overrun with the Amish Friendship Bread starter, a kernel of a story presents itself and activist and reporter Edie is quick to jump on it, even if it means pointing a finger at Julia as the instigator and dividing the small community that they live in.
When a neighboring town is devastated by high floods, Julia and her friends supply loaves of the bread to the residents and volunteers. As word spreads, so does help. Soon the entire town of Avalon is doing their part to aid their neighbors in need as they put their differences aside. Friendship Bread is a captivating, engaging novel about life and loss, friendship and community, and what endures even when the unthinkable happens.
Book includes friendship bread recipe and baking instructions
"Yes, the premise is hokey, but Gee's women characters are written with affection... Readers looking for a quick, easy fix of heartwarming optimism could do worse." - Publishers Weekly
"This entertaining series debut by Gee... will appeal to fans of tearjerkers..." - Library Journal
"Deliciously entertaining! You'll root all the way as these characters stumble toward forgiveness, understanding, and ultimately, celebration. A perfect book club selection, Friendship Bread is a treat worth sharing with all the women in your life." - Kate Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club
"The wonderful characters in Friendship Bread face life-changing adversity of the sort that either brings us down or transforms us into better people. Darien Gee has a writer's heart and a baker's sense of mixing it all just right. The result is a book you will read over and over." - Nancy Pickard, New York Times bestselling author of The Scent of Rain and Lightning
"Friendship Bread is a poignant, utterly compelling read. Darien Gee has deftly created a small town so endearing, you won't want to leave. Friendship Bread is a novel you won't soon forget." - Patricia Wood, national bestselling author of Lottery
"Friendship Bread is a vivid, tender portrait of friends, a window into the intricacies of friendship itself. Darien Gee writes with great warmth and wisdom, with deep insight into her characters. She is a wonderful writer." - Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of The Geometry of Sisters
"As comforting, warm and delicious as a slice of freshly-baked friendship bread." - Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of Promises to Keep
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Rated of 5
Bread baking and heart warming...
After reading everyone's review, I can't believe how nice everyone is being to this writer. I did like the book very much and finished it. I did enjoy the references to baking and especially Madeline's Tea Salon. I was hooked in to the 5 or 6 main characters and I did care about what "happened next". BUT, there were too many peripheral characters too really keep up with or care about. The book was well written though and managed to tie all together, however, if you're not into baking then you're going to get bogged down in the minutia of starter dough, and so forth.
By the time I'd finished the book I'd eaten like 5 of my mother's home made yeast rolls dreaming they were Amish Friendship Breads! LOL, I did appreciate the lack of graphic sexual reference and the only 1 or 2 uses of profanity which matters to me.
I enjoyed it. It was a fairly easy read despite the numerous characters, but not gripping or a real page turner.
To me the main offering this book has is the pain of a parent losing a child. I think the book could have focused more on that pain and the healing of that family, without all the lesser character story lines.
Rated of 5
Laura A. (Jeremiah, KY)
Very Good Book
I really enjoyed "Friendship Bread" by Darien Gee. We don't always end up on the road we think that we are meant to travel and this books shows us that sometimes something wonderful can come from that. It also shows us how healing "friendships" can be when we are in need. Truly a good read.
Rated of 5
Betsy R. (Gig Harbor, WA)
Sweet and endearing
I did like this book as it had great characters and a setting that drew me in. I had to overcome my bias against books written in the present tense, but once I did, it was a book worth reading. I did not give it a higher rating as I have read other books that seemed similar but I still would recommend it and will pass my copy on to others.
Rated of 5
Elaine B. (franklin, MA)
A Lesson in Friendship
"Friendship Bread" (the book and the cake) is nourishment for the soul. Sometimes as we grow older and busier and less patient we forget the healing power of friendship. This book shows us the many types and degrees of friendship that can make life worth living even in the worst of times. "Friendship Bread" subtly seduces you, I couldn't put it down! Darien Gee shows us the power of friendship and especially the power and healing in forgiveness.
Rated of 5
Elisabeth W. (Durham, NC)
Pseudo Jan Karon
Friendship Bread is an easy to read novel about women in a small town who find their footing after significant emotional losses. Although FB is enjoyable and has a fun premise, what happens as each character journeys back from her loss is very predictable, to the point where I was rolling my eyes. The second half of FB has the feel of a Jan Karon novel, but with a lot more willing suspension of disbelief. If you are looking for an easy read where all issues are tied up with a perfect, happy bow, you will enjoy Friendship Bread. This is definitely fiction written for a middle aged female audience.
Rated of 5
Cheryl K. (Naples, FL)
Darien Gee's novel was one of the most uplifting books I have read. The characters from the small town of Avalon attach themselves to the reader in a comforting, honest way. I felt as if I were inside the minds and hearts of each one, experiencing pain, grief, love and ultimately friendship. I could "smell" the aroma from each loaf of "Friendship Bread" baked and cannot wait to start my own.
This book will appeal to young and old, and should be great for discussion at book clubs.
Darien Gee has written three novels as Mia King, but this is her first novel writing in her own name. Visit her at FriendshipBreadKitchen.com
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