12 hours ago
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
An anonymous gift sends a woman on a journey she never could have anticipated.
One afternoon, Julia Evarts and her five-year-old daughter, Gracie, arrive home to find an unexpected gift on the front porch: a homemade loaf of Amish Friendship Bread and a simple note: I hope you enjoy it. Also included are a bag of starter, instructions on how to make the bread herself, and a request to share it with others.
Still reeling from a personal tragedy that left her estranged from the sister who was once her best friend, Julia remains at a loss as to how to move on with her life. She’d just as soon toss the anonymous gift, but to make Gracie happy, she agrees to bake the bread.
When Julia meets two newcomers to the small town of Avalon, Illinois, she sparks a connection by offering them her extra bread starter. Widow Madeline Davis is laboring to keep her tea salon afloat while Hannah Wang de Brisay, a famed concert cellist, is at a crossroads, her career and marriage having come to an abrupt end. In the warm kitchen of Madeline’s tea salon, the three women forge a friendship that will change their lives forever.
In no time, everyone in Avalon is baking Amish Friendship Bread. But even as the town unites for a benevolent cause and Julia becomes ever closer to her new friends, she realizes the profound necessity of confronting the painful past she shares with her sister.
About life and loss, friendship and community, food and family, Friendship Bread tells the uplifting story of what endures when even the unthinkable happens.
I found this to be a sweet, charming read! Julia and her daughter Gracie arrived home one afternoon to find a loaf of friendship bread on their porch along with a bag of starter and instructions. Julia's first thought is to toss the starter but Gracie is so thrilled about it so Julia decides to go ahead and give the starter a shot. If you know anything about this starter, you know how it multiplies and eventually you will be looking for anyone to give it to. And when they see you coming with it, they will run away from you really fast! As this starter makes the rounds in Avalon we meet more characters who also have issues, most dealing with some sort of grief. I was able to feel every characters grief and pain. There were times in this book I was laughing and then after turning the page, would be crying. When the community pulls together to help out a nearby community, I found myself wanting to be baking right along side with the women. If you have ever had the pleasure of being the recipient of a starter of Friendship Bread, you will be able to appreciate this book. If you have never had the pleasure, be prepared to have the desire to make a starter. I'll never look at a bag of starter in the same way ever again. I thought the friendship bread made for a very hopeful, heartwarming story. This is a book that will have a permanent home in my library. There is a website that compliments the book called Friendship Bread Kitchen. I think this book would make a fantastic Mother's Day gift along with some starter and maybe a nice pan or a few utensils to help mix the bread. Or how about a nice apron or dish towels? The possibilities are endless.
I received this book for my honest review from Random House through Librarything Early Reviewers Group.