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The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society by Darien Gee (Excerpt)

The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society by Darien Gee (Excerpt)

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Published by Romance At Random

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.

Welcome to Avalon, Illinois, Pop. 4,243

At Madeline’s Tea Salon, the cozy hub of the Avalon community, local residents scrapbook their memories and make new ones. But across town, other Avalonians are struggling to free themselves of the past: Isabel Kidd is fixing up her ramshackle house while sorting through the complications of her late husband’s affair. Ava Catalina is mourning the love of her life and helping her young son grow up without his father. Local plumber Yvonne Tate is smart, beautiful, and new to Avalon, but finds that despite a decade of living life on her own terms, the past has a way of catching up—no matter where she goes. And Frances Latham, mother to a boisterous brood of boys, eagerly anticipates the arrival of a little girl from China—unprepared for the emotional roller coaster of foreign adoption.

Enter Bettie Shelton, the irascible founder of the Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society. Under Bettie’s guidance, even the most reluctant of Avalon’s residents come to terms with their past and make bold decisions about their future. But when the group receives unexpected news about their steadfast leader, they must pull together to create something truly memorable.

By turns humorous, wise, and deeply moving, The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society is a luminous reminder that the things we hold most dear will last a lifetime.

“In a gathering of women there will always be compelling stories. Throw in a love of craft and these stories take on a whole new dynamic. There are shared secrets, support, encouragement, and love as the Avalon Ladies come to terms with the past and boldly step forward into the future.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

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.

Welcome to Avalon, Illinois, Pop. 4,243

At Madeline’s Tea Salon, the cozy hub of the Avalon community, local residents scrapbook their memories and make new ones. But across town, other Avalonians are struggling to free themselves of the past: Isabel Kidd is fixing up her ramshackle house while sorting through the complications of her late husband’s affair. Ava Catalina is mourning the love of her life and helping her young son grow up without his father. Local plumber Yvonne Tate is smart, beautiful, and new to Avalon, but finds that despite a decade of living life on her own terms, the past has a way of catching up—no matter where she goes. And Frances Latham, mother to a boisterous brood of boys, eagerly anticipates the arrival of a little girl from China—unprepared for the emotional roller coaster of foreign adoption.

Enter Bettie Shelton, the irascible founder of the Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society. Under Bettie’s guidance, even the most reluctant of Avalon’s residents come to terms with their past and make bold decisions about their future. But when the group receives unexpected news about their steadfast leader, they must pull together to create something truly memorable.

By turns humorous, wise, and deeply moving, The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society is a luminous reminder that the things we hold most dear will last a lifetime.

“In a gathering of women there will always be compelling stories. Throw in a love of craft and these stories take on a whole new dynamic. There are shared secrets, support, encouragement, and love as the Avalon Ladies come to terms with the past and boldly step forward into the future.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

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Publish date: Jan 29, 2013
Added to Scribd: Dec 10, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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09/17/2013

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alekee_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
This book brings us back to Avalon IL, and our friends from Friendship Bread and Madeline's Tea Room. How great to be able to spend time again with these remarkable women. We also meet some of the other residents of this great town.Bette has done with scrap booking what friendship bread did for the community in the last book. Although, loaves of this amazing starter keep showing up.Bette is an awesome, sweet, elderly lady, that runs a scrap booking business. She is suffering from a form of dementia, and the sweet soul is actually quite funny. She gives away a lot of her supplies, and makes each and everyone feel special. She has been gifted with a talent to help one find their inner self.Isabelle is Bette's neighbor, and don't think she ever knew when and where Bette would appear. We find a gruff exterior in Isabelle as the book opens, but I never expected what would happen.Madeline is still running the tea shop, and Connie still lives with her, now including a goat named Serena...keeping them on their toes!This story comes at you from a lot of directions, some have lost love ones because of deceit, others from divorce, and others from death. We have couple of stories of adoption, and the heart ache both good and bad that comes with it. We enjoy life with adorable Max, a precocious three year old!Don't miss this one, would recommend you read the first book, but this can stand alone. We end with an epilogue, which I loved! Also included are some great tips for Scrap Booking, and then some recipes that were used in the book!!I received this book through Net Galley and Random House Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review.
nightprose reviewed this
Rated 4/5
“Scrapbooking” is an active hobby, with several million women in the United States and worldwide participating. Not only does it have sentimental appeal, it is driven commercially.Clubs have formed, where women come together to share ideas, exchange opinions, also supporting each other in other ways. In some ways, it is like the quilting bees of past generations.In this heartwarming book, Bettie of Avalon, Illinois, starts a “scrapbooking society”. Her goal is to form a women’s group of common bonds and interests, while preserving memories.The women who join the scrapbooking club however, may have other things that lead them there. Yvonne has a past that is chasing her. Ava Catalina is a single mother still in mourning. Frances is a young mother of boys, trying to adopt a foreign-born daughter. Isabel is trying to fix a past, including her that of her late father.Together, with the obvious help of Bettie, each woman finds the courage and support to deal with past and create a future. When tragedy strikes, the group must pull together creating some very unexpected, special things.This novel reminds us of the importance of preserving memories, and also of making them. This is a beautiful novel of friendship.
darcyo_12 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Author Darien Gee has assembled a broad cast of characters in "The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society." But, Bettie Shelton, the town scrapbooking maven, brings them all together. Though a bit abrasive, Bettie believes everyone should scrapbook to create lasting family memories.Many of the characters of Gee's "Friendship Bread" return in this novel. I think readers should probably read "Friendship Bread" first as Gee jumps right in with lots of characters. "The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society" is a heart-warming tale of friendship, food and scrapbooking. I will definitely be reading more of Gee's work.
carolee888 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I loved 'The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society by Darien Gee. I was so happy to go back to the little town of Avalon, Illinois, the town that the Friendship Bread was centered on. If Darien writes a third book based in this town, I know that I definitely invite myself back for more stories of families and friends. I really like having the familiar characters developed even more and reading the poignant story of a nosy but friendly woman, Bettie Shelton, the founder of the society. In this book, she starts suffering from a dementia that has similarities to Alzheimer’s disease. She has no relatives. What will become her? How will Avalon deal with this? Each character in this book has a story to discover just like in real life and when you read about them you feel almost like you are reading about your own relatives. I advise reading Friendship Bread first as many of the characters continue on in this book. Also there are new characters to meet and it may seem like too many characters to keep track of first but just hang on until you get immersed into the story. If you are like me, you won't want to lay this book down at all.I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about friends and family. I enjoyed reading this story immensely.I received this book from the Amazon Vine Program and that in now way influenced my review.
dpchapman reviewed this
Rated 5/5
As a fan of Ms. Gee’s first book ‘Friendship Bread’ as well as being a scrapbooker, I knew that this would be the perfect book for me to read. I was so right! As soon as I opened up this book I was immediately taken back to the small town of Avalon and to the wonderful and interesting people that live there. Just like in real life everyone there has their own unique voice and story. Not everyone has a happy life and nor do they make the right choices but with this kind of novel you get a chance to see why people do what they do. How love and friendship is so important to us all. Why showing kindness to someone my just change their life. This book can be read as a standalone but I do recommend that you read ‘Friendship Bread’ first. Some of the characters that are in the first book are in this one and I feel it would deepen your love for them if you know and understand what their background story is. If you happen to pick this one up first don’t worry, just enjoy!
shelleyraec reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Last year I read Darien Gee's charming debut novelFriendship 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!
lauras67_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
3-1/2 StarsI really enjoyed the small town atmosphere of Avalon and the quirky characters. Though this book is not fast paced and at times a bit too slow.... overall it was a very enjoyable read. I'm a mood reader and there are times when I prefer a slower paced book over a fast paced thriller. My only complaint was there seemed to be too many characters introduced all at once. I had a difficult time keeping everyone straight during the first half. I haven't read the first book in this series, 'Friendship Bread'; so perhaps it would have helped if I had read it first and already been introduced to some of the characters. Once I had the all the characters sorted out and could keep them straight, I found myself drawn into their lives and I hated to see the book end.
sdbookhound reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This story takes place in the town of Avalon. The characters are quirky and all joined together in some way by Bettie Shelton and avid scrapbooker or keeper of memories. For the most part I enjoyed this book. I did feel there were a lot of characters to keep sorted out at first. I enjoyed Yvonne, Isabel, and Ava the most and found myself wanting to skip ahead to see what was happening with them instead of reading the rest of the book. I am going to recommend this book to some friends I know who will enjoy it.
angel2649 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Bettie Shelton is determined that anything wrong in a person's life can be fixed by making a unique personal scrapbook. She tricks some of the people into doing just what she wants all the while smiling as if keeping a secret. And, the secret is that she is slowly losing touch with reality due to vascular dementia. It isn't until several characters in the book notice her doing odd things (naked on her front porch, burning down her house) that they all begin to really worry about her. I have not read the previous book, so at least each of these characters were introduced. You know somehow they are all going to tie in together somehow. Scrapbooks seem to be a way to help Bettie remember the past, and the other characters to figure out the present and future.
kblinn_2 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Author Darien Gee continues her tales from Avalon, Illinois that she began in her book Friendship Bread. Some of the same characters appear in both books. This book covers a gamut of issues and situations, from a lost goat to vascular dementia to international adoption of special needs children. The book has very humorous moments throughout as well as a few tear-jerking ones, too. Only one thing bothers me a bit about these books, and it is that they are written in third-person singular. It takes me about 200 pages or so to get used to hearing that voice constantly. After that, I'm fine with it, but up to that point I find it a bit annoying. It is certainly a distinctive writing style for the author, but I'm just as glad that other authors choose not to use it on a regular basis. Anyway, pick this up for a look at small-town life in modern American. Enjoy your trip!

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