Format: e-book ARC, 448 pages
First line: The goat was Connie's idea.
Summary from Goodreads: 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.
My thoughts: I read Darien Gee's debut novel Friendship Bread when it first came out and have been waiting patiently for her next Avalon book. I fell in love with the characters we met in that first book and loved Madeline's Tea Shop - oh how I wished I could stop in for a nice cup of tea and a snack!
Luckily, Madeline and Connie are a big part of the story in this installment. Many scenes take place at the tea shop and I felt like I was getting my visit after all. I also loved the idea that this time around, instead of people getting a starter kit for the friendship bread, they were given starter kits for scrapbooking. As someone who scrapbooks (although not quite enough in my opinion), I could relate to the many uses of a scrapbook and have made all different types of scrapbooks.
We also get to know a whole new cast of characters that play a major role in this book. Each character is dealing with their own set of issues - everything from international adoption, to divorce, to death of a spouse, to old-age medical issues, to dealing with family problems. It's very easy to get caught up with everyone's problems and hope they find their happy ending.
Like a good cuppa tea, this is a book to be savored and not rushed through. While it is filled with some quite humorous moments, it also has some touching scenes - some that even had me more than a little teary-eye and I can't remember the last time I actually cried while reading a book. I hope that Darien Gee is planning on writing more about the folks of Avalon. In the meantime, I definitely plan on doing some scrapbooking soon - the whole time I was reading this, I kept thinking - I really need to get my stuff out and get scrapping!
(I received this book from Netgalley.)
Giveaway Information (GIVEAWAY CLOSED):
Thanks to Lindsey at The Random House Publishing Group, I have three copies of The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society to give away to my readers.
- Open to US only
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* Mandatory entry - leave a comment telling me if you scrapbook or do you have another hobby you enjoy doing (besides reading).
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