Season of Hope Book Club

Feigning denial no longer, I must move on to the next step, acceptance;  acceptance I must either reread Rhonda Tibbs’ latest novel, Season of Hope in order to reconcile with protagonist Danny or impatiently wait to reunite (absence does make the heart grow fonder) with him in her next installment of the Coulter family saga.  Season of Hope continues with Danny (much to my delight), an art student attending the University of Tulsa, where author Tibbs’ first novel in the series, Shadow leaves off.

True to her style of writing, Tibbs is able to transport the reader to places never before seen through her descriptive writing:

A few hours after leaving Sarah and Tulsa behind, Danny passed through the quiet center of Shadow, a little town nestled in the Kiamichi Valley in the western Ouachita Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma.  At the edge of town, he turned onto the two-lane blacktop that led to his family’s ranch.  The air was chilly, but he pulled over and put the top down for the last few miles of his journey.  He cruised along, inhaling the scent of the rich earth while his eyes feasted on familiar land.  (9)

The careful selection of vocabulary such as “nestled” and “feasted” brings to fruition an English teacher’s dream of active verb choices in writing.  Aaaaaah!  Wiping the drool from my mouth, Tibbs also makes use of the literary device allusion as in “When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew”  (11).  This quote by poet, journalist, novelist, and composer Arrigo Boito was inspired by none other than Shakespeare.  Be still my heart;  I am using this quote on the hub come Valentine’s Day.

Furthermore, Tibbs’ ability to capture raw passion makes its presence throughout Season of Hope:

She looked up at him, light dancing in her eyes.  He leaned down and kissed her with lingering tenderness.  She pressed closer and his youthful body relished the contact.  Heat flashed between them and he stepped away.  (12)

No (I pleaded as I read), do not step away . . .

Ahem, for the purposes of book club, avoidance of Grandma Sarah’s experimentation in cooking might be a wise choice.  Instead, Mama Rose’s cinnamon rolls, “the most delicious cinnamon rolls I’ve ever eaten”  (264) and Caroline Coulter’s homemade biscuits would provide much needed comfort when discussing Danny and Season of Hope.

Rhonda Tibbs’ Shadow Book Club

Ooops!  She did it again . . .  Rhonda Tibbs’, author of her fourth novel, Shadow, reeled me in yet again.  Shadow, is a coming-of-age novel about Danny Coulter, a budding artist, and his affinity for the Kiamichi River.  A fan of her writing, I was anxiously awaiting the first installment of her latest series.  Yet, upon receiving my copy, I read slowly and methodically, taking forced breaks, knowing that if I dived in head first, there would be no stopping me until the last page was turned.  Alas, though, a stretch of a few hours on a rainy afternoon drew me into the novel, and there was no point of return.
Tibbs’ ability to harness the turbulent emotions of young love and then deliver them on paper is not only addicting, but nostalgic.  In fact, my own sixteen-year-old self- long a memory- manages to come alive again at the turn of every page.
For the purposes of book club, weather permitting, an informal picnic complete with a blue and white checkered tablecloth at the local park would be ideal.  A basket bearing ham and cheese sandwiches, potato salad, pickles, and bottled soda would recall Danny and the female protagonist, Isabelle‘s reunion after a summer spent apart in 1967.  For the matter of dessert, this meal would not be complete without Mama Rose’s chocolate chip cookies.

Rhonda Tibbs