Friendship Cake (Hope Springs Series #1)

Friendship Cake (Hope Springs Series #1)

by Lynne Hinton
Friendship Cake (Hope Springs Series #1)

Friendship Cake (Hope Springs Series #1)

by Lynne Hinton


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“I would welcome a friendship with Lynne Hinton. I would welcome an invitation to sit down at her table, but mostly I would welcome her next book.”
—Maya Angelou


Lynne Hinton’s beloved bestselling classic, Friendship Cake, is a beautiful, poignant, and funny novel of five small-town women friends that offers inspiring life lessons in faith, love, strength, survival, and community—as well as a host of delicious Southern recipes! A heartwarming delight reminiscent of Jan Karon’s New York Times bestselling Mitford books, Friendship Cake, in the words of Rita Mae Brown (Rubyfruit Jungle), “will give you plenty to chew over. Delicious!”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062517319
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 11/03/2009
Series: Hope Springs Series , #1
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 548,609
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

About The Author
A retreat leader and writing teacher, Lynne Hinton is the author of numerous novels including Pie Town, Wedding Cake, Christmas Cake, Friendship Cake, Hope Springs, and Forever Friends. She also writes a mystery series under the name Jackie Lynn. She lives in New Mexico.

Read an Excerpt

Friendship CakeChapter One

The Cookbook Committee of the Hope Springs

Community Church is currently receiving

recipes for their upcoming Women's Guild Cookbook.

Anyone with recipes please contact one of the

following women: Margaret Peele, Louise Fisher,

Beatrice Newgarden, or Jessie Jenkins.

I here. That was short, to the point, and easy to type.Surely, Rev. Stewart wouldn't have a problem printing that in the bulletin. one could never be sure. She likes her announcements worded a certain way. At least four people I know of, personally, have seen their flower memorials and their thank-you notes shortened or added to by this woman pastor who thinks she has a flair for words.

Truth be told, no one really complains about what she does with the announcements, it just seems like a lot of work for a girl who appears not to have any extra time. After all, no one really cares if the flowers are "lovingly placed in memory" or simply "put at the altar." They just want to make sure their mama's name is spelled right and that each of the seven children is listed in correct birth order. Names and dates. That's what matters.

Sometimes I'm not sure the young pastor has a good hold on what really matters; but she tries hard and most of the people are warm to her, so I don't plan to rock her boat by saying such a thing to her. Besides, she's young, she'll learn. We all do.

This cookbook was not my idea. Since the Women's Guild is dying out, we're running out of money. It was Peggy Du Vaughn's notion that we needed to raise some money. And then I think it wasBeatrice Newgarden, who has nothing better to do than volunteer at the funeral parlor, who agreed we should have a project. Great, I think, a project. Another project. And before I have a chance to write it down in my secretary's notes, it's a cookbook, and I'm in charge.

As far as cooking goes, I'm considered only fair by the women in this community. out here, everybody grows their own vegetables, has their own livestock, kills, milks, and cans. So every recipe begins with something like "Strip all the feathers from the bird" or "Make sure the roots and stems are cut." The standards are a little higher than say, Greensboro, where I took my sweet potato casserole to a women's meeting; and having set it down next to all the KFC boxes and the Winn-Dixie potato salad, was treated like I was Cordelia Kelly from Channel 2's cooking show.

Here, in the county, women grew up learning to cook before they were tall enough to reach the stove. It was the mother's and the grandmother's responsibility to make sure all the girls in the family could make a meal out of one strip of meat and a cup of beans. So we learned to cook. And we learned to be creative. We learned how to stretch dough across two weeks at three squares a day. We learned how to make soup from bones and old potatoes. And we learned to knead our sorrows and our dreams into loaves of bread and our worthiness into cherry pies and fatty pork chops.

When my mama died and I was ten, I lost interest in what the female gender does in the kitchen. My older sisters cooked and cleaned while I worked in the fields, on the tractor, and behind the woodshed. I did anything that kept me from standing in my mama's prints that were worn into the boards in front of the sink or cast in iron in the handles of skillets. Those days folks didn't know what to do with a grieving child, so they just let me do the work of men and left me to myself.

My daddy was solemn, not much with words or girt children. But because I looked the most like my mother and because I stayed as close to him as the film of dirt that crept from the fields into wrinkles and under nails, he paid me the most attention. I pretended for a very long time that my sisters and brothers didn't notice, but after he died I sensed the resentment and the stones of sibling rivalry as they pelted me with their grief-stricken stares.

I was, after all, the only one he would let shave him or feed him teaspoonsful of honey. His last five years he lived with each daughter and son, but everyone knew that he was saving my house for last. Like getting ready for retirement, Daddy mapped out his final six months with great care. When he left Woodrow's to enter the hospital for the eighth time, he sent his belongings to me, and, leaving the cancer unit, Daddy came home to 516 Hawthorne Lane to die.

Surely he knew that I was the only one who would pick him up and set him behind the wheel of the tractor, wait until the vomiting stopped, and then steer him across the pasture while he worked the pedals. I was the only one who would pad down the dirt and make a hard path so that I could push his wheelchair through the soybean field. I was the only child of his who would not mind hearing his stories over and over, help him reorder his memories, or who would sit with him through thunderstorms...

Friendship Cake. Copyright (c) by Lynne Hinton . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.\

What People are Saying About This

Rita Mae Brown

Friendship Cake will give you plenty to chew over. Delicious!
— (Rita Mae Brown, author of Rubyfruit Jungle and Outfoxed)

William McKinney

Friendship Cake could only have been written by someone who knows firsthand that anything can and does happen when faithful, flawed, quirky people gather together in religious congregations. Hope Springs Community Church may be the product of Lynne Hinton's imagination but it can be found on thousands of street corners and village greens across North America. I look forward to the sequel!
— William McKinney - President and Professor of American Religion at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California and co-author of American Mainline Religion Studying Congregations)

Reading Group Guide

Plot Summary
Good humor, tender moments, and life lessons abound in this heartwarming portrait of small-town Southern life that is anything but simple and quiet. Five churchgoing women from Hope Springs, North Carolina, animate this humorous, poignant tale of coming to terms with one's weaknesses, honoring the fragility of life, loving passionately, laughing through tears, and thinking with the heart.

The cast of colorful characters includes:
Charlotte Stewart -- a freshman pastor, who experiences a crisis of faith.
Margaret Peele -- a no-nonsense widower who is the town confidante.
Louise Fisher -- known for her sharp-tongue, she has loved another woman for over forty years and finally gets to show it by caring for her in the last stages of Alzheimer's.
Roxie -- the woman loved by Louise, and suffering from Alzheimer's.
Jessie Jenkins -- the only African American in an all-white church.
Beatrice Newgarden -- the town busybody, who turns out to be the most solid friend to them all.

As these five very different women come together to create a church cookbook, they quickly become a source of solace, support, and strength for each other. Each struggling to make sense of her life -- her past, her relationships, her faith -- the women share much more than recipes; they share their passions, loves, heartbreaks, and hopes. Celebrating together and mourning together, they develop a deeper understanding of and compassion for each other and a genuine appreciation for the softness of heart and toughness of spirit that joins them as women. Just as surely as delectable Southern foods such as sweet potato casserole, prune cake, pecan pie, bananapudding, and corn relish sustain the body, it becomes evident that friendship nourishes the soul. The women end up with renewed faith, rekindled spirits, and the ingredients for true and lasting friendship.

Topics for Discussion
  • Margaret says that, "a heart can hold sadness a lot longer than it can anger," and that "sadness always outlasts the anger." Do you find this to be true? Is sadness a more durable emotion than anger?
  • Louise confirms that she is comfortable with death. She says that she thinks that, "death is an appropriate answer to the equation of life;" and that she "can sit in a room, watch as death approaches, gently take the hand of the dying person and lift them in its arms." Have you ever been with a person who has died? How would you describe this experience?
  • Beatrice, unlike Louise, fights against the arrival of death. If you were faced with a terminal illness who would you prefer to be with you, Louise or Beatrice? Why?
  • Jessie says that white women and black women have different traditions when it comes to cooking. Do you believe this to be true? If so, is this because of economically based differences or culturally based differences?
  • If you are a part of a community of faith, is it integrated? Do you think that worship should be integrated or remain segregated?
  • Rev. Charlotte Stewart, writes about how she likes to imagine God as a cloud, a pillar of fire, as manna from heaven. What images of God do you find comforting?
  • Do you think it was appropriate that Roxie should move to North Carolina and be cared for by Louise or do you think the "family" should have provided the care for her? Who if you had to and were able to, would you choose to care for you if you became sick?
  • Margaret claims that being a wise and trusted friend was better than being someone's mother. Do you believe it is possible for a woman to be fulfilled without having children?
  • Charlotte is distraught after Brittany's death and she asks her mother why God doesn't hear her prayers. Have you ever felt like God doesn't hear your prayers? Does her mother's response to this question help you at all in your own faith struggle?
  • The men from the church coming to help clean off the sidewalks for the wedding was for the young pastor, "the picture of grace, undeniable, indescribable grace." Name an event when you have seen evidence of grace.
  • Grace usually has to do with pardon, mercy, providing a gift of unmerited favor. Out of the five principal women in this story who do you think demonstrated the most grace? Why?
  • What are the ingredients you would like to include in your friendship cake?
  • What makes a good friend? Who is you best friend? Why?

    For Further Discussion
    Scripture says: "And she said, 'See your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.' But Ruth said, 'Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you.' And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more." [Ruth 1:15-18]

    Used frequently in wedding services, most people assume that this passage is between two lovers. But it actually comes from a story between in-laws. Naomi was Ruth's mother-in-law. When Ruth's husband died, Naomi encouraged Ruth to go back to live with her people; but Ruth loved Naomi. They were more than just mother and daughter-in-law, they were friends; and Ruth chose not to leave Naomi, her friend.

    In Friendship Cake, in the Corn Relish chapter, Margaret discovers that Louise is caring for Roxie by herself, Margaret goes to see her friend to find out what is going on and she learns about Louise's secret love. After hearing how Louise feels, Margaret commits herself to helping Louise care for Roxie and commits herself to love Roxie as Louise loves her.

    Topics for Further Discussion
  • How are the commitments of Ruth from the Bible and Margaret from FRIENDSHIP CAKE similar? How are they different?
  • How important is the element of loyalty to a friendship?
  • When have you experienced a friend's loyalty? When have you expected to have a friend be there for you and then have them leave or not show up? How did that experience affect you and the relationship?
  • Would you consider yourself a loyal friend?\

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