Preacher's Strawberry Jam Triffle

Preacher's Strawberry Jam Triffle

Since my first novel was released, I have met some of the most amazing readers, people who passionately care about their books. Many of them are, yes, members of book clubs.  And when a book club invites me to visit, I do whatever I can to be there.  From New Jersey to Arkansas, I have spent time with as many book clubs as possible.

And this is what I’ve learned about these reading groups.  Some are more social than others.  Some serve wine.  Some are single-sex.  Some are for couples only.  Some are for mothers and daughters — and the girls get to pick the books!  Some have a dress code (you come dressed as your favorite character).  Some serve a menu based on foods mentioned in the book.  Some meet in churches, most in homes, some in restaurants.  Some talk about the book.  Some talk about their day.  Some only read books out in paper, no hardcovers allowed.  But all of them READ!

So with the paperback coming out in one week, (Reading Guide included), I wanted to continue the celebration by sharing the ideas of one very creative book club organizer.   The excerpt below is provided by Leigh DeFreitas, facilitator of the Riverdowns Readers of Midlothian, Virginia.  Leigh, you’re amazing!


While browsing in my favorite independent bookstore, CARPE LIBRUM, in Knoxville, Tennessee, I stumbled upon this, then, newly released debut novel.  When I approached the checkout counter, the bookseller exclaimed that I was going to LOVE this book, and no truer words have ever been spoken!

Well, you ask yourself, how does one go about celebrating such a debutante of the literary world?  Did I not already suggest a party??? Read on…

Susan’s book mimics Rachel Ray’s list of recipe ideas for party foods.  Try some of these tasty tidbits of Gilmore lore.

Recipe ideas from Leigh with book reference pages…

Preacher’s Strawberry Jam Trifle served in jelly jars(found at Kroger)p.66



Prepared French vanilla instant jello pudding

Crushed shortbread cookies, graham crackers or GS cookies

Fresh raspberries or strawberries

Extra creamy cool whip (thawed)

Repeat layers and top with cool whip/fresh fruit garnish


PB & Strawberry Star-Shaped Finger Sandwiches p. 60

Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread and strawberry jam on the other piece.

Cut the finger sandwiches with a star-shaped cookie cutter.


Mrs. Gulbenk’s Good Housekeeping Tea served in jelly jars/mason jars (found at Kroger)see p. 88 for the recipe

I served the tea with 12 oz. of hot water & 2 TB of tea mix.


Dilly Bars bought at a local Dairy Queen  p. 8

Finally, for the finishing touches…

Serve your star-shaped finger sandwiches on Strawberry Shortcake children’s character’s plates from Party City, wear the character’s strawberry hat, and dress your dog in her Daisy Mae jean dress with the strawberry design blouse.


Now THAT is a Susan Gregg Gilmore book party!

And…who knows, someone might find salvation as well!


Other ideas: (they keep on comin’)

Bag a few chocolate chip cookies (p.135) and give as a parting gift along with a bottle of nail polish—look for colors like Blossom Pink and Baby Doll Pink


Have party gals bring a bottle of nail polish and present a prize of fresh tomatoes from a local stand for the neatest name of polish.


Have party participants wear hot pink flip flops.


Happy Reading!


Leigh DeFreitas






Thanks Leigh!

Thanks Leigh!



P.S. I’m hitting the road this morning so follow me on my blog, Facebook Fan Page (Susan Gregg Gilmore) and Twitter @susangilmore!









Posted June 3, 2009 at 6:00 am · 1 comment · Leave a Comment


  1. Leisa Hammett, June 3rd, 2009, 10:42 am

    Oh, Susan, this is such fun! How delightful that you've gotten to meet such fun, creative book "debutante of the literary world!" ;-)Wish I'd written that myself. Hugs. I'm also going to post this link to this on the social media site I moderate.

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Susan Gregg Gilmore