Thursday, May 19, 2011

Guest Post with Darien Gee Author of Friendship Bread

I am pleased to welcome Darien Gee, author of Friendship Bread to Redlady's Reading Room. I will be posting a review of Friendship Bread next week.

About the book from Friendship Bread Kitchen:

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.

Darien Gee on the Bread That Inspired a Novel

If you’re never heard of Amish Friendship Bread, your life is about to change forever. Mine certainly was.

Amish Friendship Bread is similar to a quick bread except it’s made with a sourdough starter. If you’ve ever seen (or smelled) a bag of fermenting batter, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s something you won’t likely forget.

Amish Friendship Bread is similar to a chain letter in that after ten days you’re asked to divide the starter into four portions, keep one for yourself and give the other three portions away to lucky (and unsuspecting) friends or neighbors so that they can do the same. After five rounds, there will be 1,024 bags of starter floating out there. After ten rounds: 1,048,576.

That’s a lot of starter to emerge from one bag of the stuff.

I’m often asked if Amish Friendship Bread is really Amish. I don’t know, and I’m not sure anyone else does, either. There’s no documented evidence of its origins, and I know some people’s suspicions are raised when they see instant pudding listed among the ingredients. But what I do believe is that the inspiration behind the bread is undoubtedly Amish in nature. It’s about friendship and community, about sharing what you have with others and expressing gratitude for the good things in your life.

Friendship Bread was inspired by my own experience with the bread, when my daughter brought it home along with a bag of starter she’d received from a friend. I was eating the last few crumbs when I started to think about a woman who receives the starter and just doesn’t want to do it. I saw a sadness hanging over this character and I knew I wanted to find out more. I started writing and the story quickly took shape—more importantly, it soon became clear that the book wasn’t about any one person, but an entire community ready for change and connection.

Friendship Bread is about what can happen when one person is willing to reach out and help another. It may seem like an overly simple solution, but maybe it’s not as insignificant as we think. Maybe there’s more power in it than we realize, and all it takes is one person who’s willing to give it a try.

Darien Gee is the author of Friendship Bread: A Novel (Ballantine Books).
Darien Gee lives with her husband and three children in Hawaii. She is the
bestselling author of three previous novels (Good Things, Sweet Life and Table
Manners) written under the name Mia King.
To read her early work written as Mia King, visit her at


  1. A copy of this book is on its way to me from PBSWAP...looking forward to it.

  2. In this part of the country, it's just called Friendship bread as far as I know. I've been given plenty of the bread through the years, but I've never been given the starter, oddly enough.

  3. I loved this book as well. Amazing how the bags of friendship bread add up so quickly! I did not know that Darien had written books under the name Mia King. I will be looking for those as well as I so enjoyed Friendship Bread.

  4. I'm looking forward to reading this book and enjoyed the author's post. I'm not a big fan of the starter system of breadmaking though. I did this a couple of times and you really get a lot of bread to give away! LOL

  5. I really enjoyed this guest post! Darien's book is on my list and I'm looking forward to reading it.

  6. My SIL always sends me Friendship bread once a year!!!

  7. Thanks for hosting Darien today. I look forward to your review.



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