Review: The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society by Darien Gee

@ Goodreads

Title: The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society

Author: Darien Gee

Published: Ballantine  January 2013

Synopsis: Perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber, Kristin Hannah, Beth Hoffman, and Kate Jacobs, this luminous novel from the author of Friendship Bread follows a group of fascinating women who form deep friendships through their love of scrapbooking—as memories are preserved, dreams are shared, and surprising truths are revealed.

Status: Read from January 14 to 15, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy Random House/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

Last year I read Darien Gee’s charming debut novel Friendship Bread, where the simple anonymous gift of Amish Friendship Bread starter unexpectedly unites three women, Julia, Hannah and Madeline together in friendship, and a community in time of crisis. The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society resurrects the small Illinois town and it’s residents in this independent sequel.

Just as with friendship Bread, this novel is a celebration of friendship, family and community. While familiar characters wander in and out of the frame, this story features a new cast of women. Isabelle is is still wallowing in bitterness and misery after her husband left her for his dental assistant. His death just a few months later left Ava, the aforementioned dental assistant, to struggle alone as a single mother to their son. Yvonne has just moved to Avalon, determined to make a success of her plumbing business having turned her back on her family’s wealth and power long ago. Frances is joyfully waiting for the day their daughter, a toddler from China, can finally join their family only to be devastated by a setback in the process. As these women struggle to leave their past behind and reimagine their futures, they are drawn together by Bettie, a long time resident of the town and the president of the Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society who reminds them that each moment of the present is precious.

I think it helps to be familiar with Friendship Bread before embarking on this follow up, though it isn’t strictly necessary. The large cast of characters can be a little overwhelming initially but the distinct personalities and issues amongst the women featured quickly emerge. The plot is not entirely predictable though it’s progression is not unexpected as the characters cycle through emotional highs and lows. The pace is leisurely but as you take the townspeople into your heart you will find yourself reluctant to put the book down.

Written with heart, humor and simple wisdom, The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society is a sweetly engaging novel. And as a bonus you will find delicious recipes in the last few pages – I am determined to try Madeline’s Apple Dumplings with lemonade!

Available to Purchase

@RandomHouse US I @AmazonUS I @BookDepository

Available from Allen & Unwin from May 1st

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