Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Friendship Bread by Darien Gee

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.

My Thoughts:
The sweetness of friendship and hope is found in the town of Avalon when a simple bag of friendship starter is dropped at Julia Evarts door. It changes the life of Julia who had a loss 5 years ago and now opens her up to a new experience with her 5 year old daughter who encourages her to make the bread. Julia sparks friendships with two newcomers to town, Madeline who recently opened a tea shop and Hannah,  a famous concert cellist who is at a crossroads in her marriage and professional life.  In time, everyone in Avalon is baking Amish Bread or it has affected their lives in some way.  The town is drawn together to help those in crisis and the friendship bread is the link that unites them all.  This experience causes all 3 women, Julia, Madeline and Hannah to confront  issues from their past and find a way to heal and move forward. Friendship Bread is a novel of friendship, love, loss and hope and teaches the women that they can endure even when the unthinkable happens. Julia's loss will touch readers and it especially touched me as a mother. I don't want to give too much away but it does touch on the issue of allergies (not food allergies) and as many of my readers know, my son has life threatening nut allergies so this story hit close to home.   I enjoyed the way the women's friendships developed over time and the character development was a definite strength of this novel.

Have you heard of Amish Friendship Bread? I bet that most women have heard of this and experienced a friend or acquaintance sharing a bag of friendship bread starter with them. The friendship bread is like a chain letter as you have to follow the instructions for 10 days and divide the batter and pass it on to others. There is a section at the back of the book full of recipes to make with the starter. The author also has a website, Friendship Bread Kitchen with more recipes, you can read an excerpt and fine more information about friendship bread. 

I  am reviewing this book as part of the Friendship Book Virtual Book Tour sponsored by Pump Up Your Book who sent me an advanced reading copy. 


  1. My wonderful SIL has sent me friendship bread a few times!! This book sounds good.

  2. I read this book and loved it.
    Theresa N

  3. I've had people give me the bread, but never the starter, for some odd reason. This sounds like a sweet book.

  4. I have a copy of this on its way from a PBSwap member. It sounds like a great summer read.

  5. I'm so eager to read this book, I think the premise is thoroughly charming!

  6. I've gotten a bag of friendship bread starter a few times. What a charming premise for a story. I don't think I ever made any new friends with my bread though :)

  7. I loved this one. Such a delightful book to read. I hope Darien keeps on writing! And I loved all the recipes. It never occurred to me to use the friendship bread base for other things.
    2 Kids and Tired Books

  8. Hi Bonnie! I just wanted to stop by and thank you so much for taking the time to read and review FRIENDSHIP BREAD! I appreciate all your kind words and if you or any of your readers have questions about the book or the bread, please swing by and say hi!

    Darien Gee, author of FRIENDSHIP BREAD


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