Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Friendship Bread-Darien Gee

Friendship Bread
Darien Gee
Ballantine, Apr 5 2011, $25.00
ISBN 9780345525345

In Avalon, Illinois six years has passed since their offspring Josh died. Neither Julia nor Mark Evarts has moved on as each is trapped in their grief; so much so their marriage is being torn apart from inside. She also never forgave her BFF sister Livvy who was with her son when he died.

Julia and her five years old daughter Gracie arrive home to find an odd package waiting for them. An anonymous person left homemade Amish Friendship Bread and a starter kit on how to make your own loaf. She wants to toss the package out, but Gracie begs her not to dump it. They bake the bread and soon Julia begins distributing the recipe to people in need like Widow Madeline Davis struggling with her tea salon and concert cellist Hannah Wang de Brisay whose marriage and perhaps her career has died. Over tea and bread, Madeline, Hannah and Julia begin to heal while the latter ponders whether to bring Friendship Bread to Livvy who has not forgiven herself.

This is a compassionate community drama based on the concept that good food is a healer of many emotional traumas even the death of a loved one; sitting Shiva for instance includes neighborly dishes. The women are terrific as the audience will understand what eats at each of their souls. Although the men in their lives lack any dimension beyond that of the respective woman in their life, fans will appreciate the uplifting message to bake a Friendship Bread (recipes included) to help heal a hurt.

Harriet Klausner

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