12 Jul 2012

Book Review - 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.

Goodreads page here
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Release Date:     April 2011
Purchase it at:  Amazon UKAmazon USA

My Review
10 out of 10

When I first started to read this book I had thought with so many characters it might get a bit confusing but it really wasn't.  You have certain main characters - Julia and Mark who have a rocky relationship and trying to get over the loss of a child, Edie and Richard who are trying to get pregnant, Livvy who is Julia's sister and has a troubled relationship with her sister since the death of her nephew and of course her relationship with her husband, Hannah and Philippe who are at the start of a divorce and then you have Madeleine who is a widower who has set up a tea shop and has had a bit of a rough past.

This is very much a family drama type of story where we see Julia receive the friendship bread from an anonymous donee with a recipe of how to bake it and pass it on.  From then on we follow the bread as it flows through the main characters and see glimpses of other characters who also come across the friendship bread.  

I really enjoyed this story following the various families and what was happening at the time and I have to admit that this story really gave me an uplift and a fresh perspective on how great we all can be.

Best wishes