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The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society

Cover of The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society

The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society

A Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow

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

From the Hardcover edition.

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

From the Hardcover edition.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    The goat was Connie's idea.

    "I'm not so sure about this," Madeline Davis says, frowning. At seventy-five she's trying to make her life simpler, not the other way around. Then again, running a tea salon isn't what most people her age are doing these days. Madeline's days are busy, yes, but she goes to sleep each night happily content, her heart full. And for the past year she's had Connie Colls, her tea salon manager, an unexpected godsend with black spiky hair who has also become her friend and housemate.

    Now Connie is tearfully looking at her and Madeline feels herself wavering. Connie has never asked for anything before and seeing this young woman about to cry is more than Madeline can bear.

    "Well . . ." she says reluctantly. "Maybe for a couple of days until you can find a more suitable home." She watches as the goat sniffs its way around the garden, then starts chewing on a patch of orange nasturtiums.

    "Oh!" Connie wipes her eyes and hurries toward the goat. She waves her hands over the flowers in an attempt to shoo the goat away, but the animal ignores her.

    Lord, Madeline knows how this is going to go. She watches as Connie tugs unsuccessfully on the goat's makeshift collar, a frayed rope with a tail that has been chewed through. Well, the good news is that the goat belongs to someone. They just have to find out who.

    "I'm going inside," she tells Connie, who's trying to drag the goat into the shade of a walnut tree.

    "Thank you, Madeline," Connie says, forcing a bright smile. "She won't be any trouble at all, I promise."

    "Hmm. Well, I think she's eating my Double Delights."

    Connie turns, stricken. "No! No roses! Bad goat!"

    Madeline just shakes her head and walks through the back door of the house into the kitchen.

    The morning light streams in behind her, a generous sliver of sunshine falling onto the farmer's table that rests in the middle of the kitchen. Fresh loaves of Amish Friendship Bread, scones, and muffins are cooling on wire racks. Two arugula-and-bacon quiches are in the oven. Her kitchen is fragrant and inviting, and Madeline knows that her customers find these smells a reassuring comfort. They come to Madeline's Tea Salon for that very reason--the promise of good food and an encouraging smile. A kind word and possibly a joke or two, depending on her mood.

    If they're lucky they may get more, like an impromptu performance by Hannah Wang, the young cellist who used to play with the New York Philharmonic and who now resides in Avalon. There's Bettie Shelton, too, with her mobile scrapbooking business. She comes in under the pretense of ordering a pot of Darjeeling tea while she indiscreetly sets up her wares at an adjoining table. On the days Bettie is here even the least crafty Avalonian or unsuspecting tourist is sure to leave with a packet of patterned paper and random embellishments. Madeline remembers what happened last month when a group of men had lunch at the salon, hunched over a table as they ate, speaking in low whispers. It was clear by their body language that they didn't want to be disturbed. Bettie, however, had marched up to them undaunted. Less than a minute later the men found their table littered with colorful ribbons and glittery sequins. Two men bought scrapbooking starter kits, dazed looks on their faces as they handed their money to Bettie. As quickly as she had arrived, Bettie was gone, leaving everyone to wonder what happened while Madeline cleared her table with a chuckle.

    The small brass bell over the front door tinkles. A pair of women walk in, smile at Madeline, and choose a table by the window. Madeline knows it's only a matter of time before...

About the Author-
  • Darien Gee lives in Hawaii with her husband and their three children. She is also the author of Friendship Bread.

Reviews-
  • #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

    Praise for Darien Gee and The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society

    "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."

  • Booklist "There are many threads to this story (including a female plumber with a secret past), but, like a good scrapbooker, Gee puts them all together beautifully. Bettie is the glue that holds the residents of Avalon together--whether they like it or not--and as she seems to unravel, the town comes together. This funny, moving book is the follow-up to Friendship Bread (2011), although The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society can stand on its own. A welcome addition to any women's-fiction collection and a good choice for fans of Debbie Macomber's knitting series."
  • Publisher's Weekly "A three-hanky nod to It's a Wonderful Life. Gee--who also writes as Mia King (Table Manners)--gets the unapologetically schmaltzy tone just right with the irresistible premise that we can love the impossible. A surefire book club hit."
  • RT Book Reviews "In this exceptionally well-written novel you'll find heartwarming inspiration, humor, wisdom and endless charm ... This is one of those books you'll want to tell your friends about so you can talk about the antics and struggles that will stay in your heart long after the final page is turned. Gee is an author to keep a close eye on."
  • Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March "Truly charming! You'll want to read and then immediately share with your best friends (and then start a scrapbooking society of your own!). Darien Gee writes about friendship and family with depth, grace and heart."
  • Lisa Wingate, bestselling author of Dandelion Summer and Blue Moon Bay "Darien Gee pieces together lives and scraps with the skill and heart of a true storyteller. The ladies of Avalon will have you calling your sisters and girlfriends to share old memories and make new ones. I loved it!"
  • New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice Praise for Darien Gee's Friendship Bread
    "A vivid, tender portrait of friends, a window into the intricacies of friendship itself."
  • New York Times bestselling author Beth Hoffman "With heart and soul, Darien Gee has crafted a charming story of love, friendship, tragedy, and the surprising ways healing weaves its way through a small town."
  • New York Times bestselling author Kate Jacobs "You'll root all the way as these characters stumble toward forgiveness, understanding, and, ultimately, celebration. Friendship Bread is a perfect book club selection."
  • Ladies' Home Jo "Charming."
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The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society
A Novel
Darien Gee
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