by Lynne Hinton
Welcome back to the charming world of Hope Springs, the small southern town at the center of bestselling author Lynne Hinton's Hope Springs trilogy. In this sequel to Friendship Cake, the same delightful women have finished the cookbook that brought them together, showing each the true meaning of friendship. Now these bonds are challenged by Margaret's sudden illness, Nadine's mourning for her lost daughter, and Jessie's desire to see the world outside the confines of a small town. Even Charlotte, the steadfast young pastor, has a spiritual crisis and finds herself questioning her calling.
Standing by each other through tragedies and triumphs, these unforgettable women come to realize that true friendship, like faith itself, is a garden that needs to be tended and nurtured. In the end they learn that there is more to living than just surviving -- they discover a life of health, courage, and freedom. Interspersed throughout this heartwarming tale are amusing and handy gardening tips from Bea's Botanical Bits -- memorable snippets of advice that help to cultivate the spirit, as well as the garden. Watered with tears of laughter and sorrow and fertilized with a touch of humor, Hope Springs is just plain good for the soul.
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1. Lynne has stated that her grandmother, to whom the book and the opening poem are dedicated, taught her to garden. Is there anyone in your life who taught you to love the earth? What does gardening mean to you?
2. Charlotte realizes that she doesn't have anything to offer her suicidal parishioner, Nadine. What do you consider an appropriate pastoral response to a person who attempted suicide?
3. The doctor is concerned about his patient Margaret when they discuss the findings from her mammogram. He wonders "what kind of support systems she had, what gave her purpose, and how well she could fight trouble." What are the resources you think a person needs when facing an illness?
4. Charlotte decides to see a therapist. What are your thoughts about a minister going into counseling?
5. Jessie discusses her desire to move from Hope Springs, her home town. Have you ever desired to live in a place other than where you live? Where would you choose to move and why?
6. Marion, Charlotte's therapist, asks the young pastor to tell how she thinks of God. How do you think of God? How comfortable are you with a feminine image of God?
7. Margaret, Louise, and Beatrice discuss what makes makes a woman, a woman. What are your thoughts about what distinguishes a woman from a man? Is it physical or emotional?
8. In order for Nadine to begin to heal regarding her loss she must forgive herself for what she considered her responsibility in the accident that killed her daughter. How does a person learn to forgive herself? What helps in encouraging the forgiveness of oneself?
9. Jessie realizes her fears that James will leave her again. Are you surprised that she took him back when she did? How does a couple who has separated and come back together regain the trust that was lost?
Why do you think the women decided to shave their heads? What displays of empathy and friendship have you experienced in your life? How important is friendship in facing illness?
Jessie and James decide to take a trip to Africa. What trip have you always wanted to take? Where would you go if you could go anywhere?
Since there's another book in the Hope Springs Trilogy, another book about the women in Hope Springs, what do you think might happen next? Which character would you like to know more about?
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"...a beautiful story grows side by side with powerful truth. It caused my soul to bloom."
Philip Gulley, author of Front Porch Tales, Home Town Tales, and For Everything A Season
"It's a 'giver' readers will want to buy and share with mothers, daughters, sisters and special, forever friends."
Suzann Ledbetter, author of East of Peculia, South of Sanity, North of Clever and West of Bliss
"For all those who loved Friendship Cake, Hope Springs will be like a garden party with old friends."
Loraine Despres, author of The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc
"Hope Springs is a lovely novel filled with hope."
Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees
"With a loving eye for her characters, Lynne Hinton tells a gentle story of faith, healing and redemption."
Brenda Jernigan, author of Every Good & Perfect Gift
"Like Rebecca Wells, Hinton has a knack in her novels for tapping into a woman's longings for lifelong, authentic, messy friendships."
"Hinton celebrates the power of women's connections through a story about hope, loss, and the sometimes fragile nature of faith"
Ann Howard Creel, author of The Magic of Ordinary Days
an anthem to friendship
.. To miss it is to deny yourself a small treasure."
Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and A Theory of Relativity