I usually restrict my book reviews to Christian fiction but when I was offered Friendship Bread through the Amazon Vine program, it seemed to be an intriguing but safe choice. As it turned out, Friendship Bread was a thoroughly delightful story – well written with an interesting plot and a stellar cast of characters. Although it is not a faith based book, I found nothing in its pages that should offend the Christian reader. It is a wholesome tale centered around family, friends, and community with central themes of friendship, reconciliation and doing the right thing.

Friendship Bread has several primary characters whose lives intersect in one way or another. As it begins Julia Evarts, a young mother who has been isolated from friends and family since the death of her son, receives a plate of Amish Friendship Bread and a package of starter. Little can anyone imagine the events that one package of starter will set in motion and the lives that will be changed as a result.

Not only is Friendship Bread a warm and tender story but the author has included recipes for the starter, basic Friendship Bread, and several variations. If that is not enough for you, the companion website offers a wealth of recipes, hints, and ideas.

This book was provided for review by the Amazon Vine Program.


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.

Read an excerpt from Friendship Bread HERE.

Learn more about the author, the book, and friendship bread:

Darien Gee is an author, wife, and mother of three. She’s a Libra Monkey, a chocoholic, and of late, an Amish Friendship Bread addict. A former California resident, Darien served on the board of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and ZYZZYVA, an award-winning literary journal. She’s an alum of Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Her next Avalon novel, Memory Keeping, will be published in 2012 by Ballantine Books.