Book review: Final book in trilogy an ode to community

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"A Silver Moon for Rose" is like stepping right into scenes from long ago, very personal, and written with the care and respect we think of for those who have gone before. There is an accuracy here that is just like putting on the clothing of the day. Ruth Bass brings these characters so alive in their thoughts, actions and special ways of expression, it seems we are part of their conversations.

When Rose leaves teaching to get married, we are reminded of what passion there is in living, just being, in this beautiful world. The settings of late 19th-century rural farm life are brought back to those of us who actually had parents and grandparents who knew the taste of that bucolic life and in this novel it is preserved in portraits for the much younger of us who don't know what a wonderful world it was before we went digital. People talk deeply to each other and feel deeply. The main character, Rose, is lovely in every way and her story is spread out for us like an exquisite quilt made by those women who were the fabric of that era. The story of Rose and Newton's elopement is a treasure and the family and town response will make your eyes mist because it is about community and people caring about each other, no matter how much they gossip.

There are other stories here as well. A man struggles to live with what he saw in the Civil War, how in his story he is compelled to return to the battle, and there is the disease of alcoholism portrayed in these pages. We must remember that it was family who took care of each other in those days. While it was difficult there was great wisdom, too, often coming from a grandmother, for instance, who puts things in her own way, but you get it. Another woman decides with courage and conviction to divorce and amazingly finds unconditional support among the Shakers outside of Pittsfield, whose unerring practicality and devotion to truth gives her everything she needs to start a new life.

The book makes you long for such a utopian and rock solid community of seekers today. There is an underlying story of community in this novel that just may be slipping away from us now. This novel is a reminiscence and a tribute that is far-reaching. But we would expect no less from one whose social commentary and keen eye on our world has not erred in her many columns and commentaries. Published this past November 2016, this is the third in the Rose Hibbard trilogy.

Colin Harrington is the Events Manager at The Bookstore and Get Lit Wine Bar in Lenox. Colin welcomes reader comments at charrington686@gmail.com.

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