Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society by Darien Gee

4 Star

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.

Kathryn - 4 Star

There are quite a number of wonderful ladies that are all interwoven in The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society and I quickly found it was important for me to get them straight before I could really enjoy how their relationships unfolded.  For this reason it did take me a few chapters before I was hooked.

The feel of the novel for me was reminiscent of a Cathy Kelly or even a Maeve Binchy in that Gee put together strong characters and individual stories and wove them together into one novel set in a small town. The difference was of course the theme of scrapbooking which I really know next to nothing about. As a child we were given the task of creating a scrapbook of our holidays (to keep us busy during said holiday!) but the scrapbooking business of today is apparently a whole other matter. I was a bit lost when Bettie was explaining to her group about different types of kits for their books but it was still interesting to me and I loved that this brought people from all over the town to one common hobby- especially a hobby that focused on creating memories of the good things in their lives.  It was so touching to see how they rallied around Bettie when she needed it and gave me a feel good vibe that the whole novel encompassed.

There are actually so many women it’s hard to pin point one I liked the most- for some reason the one thing sticking out for me is the silly goat Serena that Connie is determined to love above everything else.  A goat in itself is lighthearted where quite a few of the other storylines made me teary so there’s something for everyone and I’m sure everyone can relate to one of the Avalon Ladies.  I even read all the Friendship Bread recipes!

Thank you to Random House for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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1 comment:

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