Carthage Book Club

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Hosts Book Review

The Carthage Book Club is a civic organization made up of 26 women who dedicate themselves to giving back to the community. Jo Nell Phillips, this year’s Book Club President, chose “Literary Treasures from the Blue Bonnet State” as the theme for the year’s events.  Each of the Club’s meetings is centered on books that were written and published by Texas authors. “We’ve had some really interesting programs on the “True Blood” series by Charlaine Harris and also Patricia Highsmith’s, “Stranger on a Train”. Another Texas author is to be featured at the Club’s annual Spring Event.

A review of the book, “Life Between the Lines, the Chuck and Melba Felder Story,” is the focus for the April gathering which is open to the public and free of charge. Written by Lana Lynne Higginbotham from White Oak, Texas, and co-authored by Melba Felder, from Slidell, Louisiana, the book focuses on love letters written during the World War II era. A synopsis: “The world was at war when a junior-grade naval lieutenant first laid eyes on the love of his life. In December 1944, after his return from naval service in Europe, Lieutenant Charles E. Felder met Mary Kosko in New York City. Although Mary was engaged to another and “Chuck” was preparing to deploy to the Pacific, the certainty of their destined connection made them willing to face any challenges that would come. The unbreakable commitment of 19-year-old Mary and the surprising maturity of 24-year-old Chuck are a testament to the ‘Greatest Generation,’ and hold lessons for this generation. With the entire country making sacrifices for the war effort, they found strength, resilience, and Life Between the Lines.

Author Lana Lynne Higginbotham is a speech-language pathologist who holds three college degrees, including a Masters.  She has written books of historical fiction under her pen name, Lana Lynne. Co-author, Mary K. Felder, was married to Chuck Felder for over 56 years, until his death in 2001. She carefully saved the hundreds of letters they exchanged during WWII. It was Susie Heller, Mary’s daughter, who insisted that her mother’s letter be preserved. The two women traveled to New Orleans to the National WWII Museum this past August for a book signing. They will review their book for the Spring Event on April 9 at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. The program begins at 9:30am with music provided by Bill and Betty Bailey. Bill will play the saxophone and Betty will accompany him on the piano with 40s-type music selections. The book review will begin at 10:00am.

The Carthage Book Club has a long-standing reputation for fundraising to provide areas of beautification and enhancement within the City. The largest moneymaking project is the Home Tour held each December. With funds raised during this popular event, the Club has most recently been able to add artwork to the Civic Center, refurbish the Anderson Park gazebo on the square, donate a piano for the Hall of Fame, and make contributions to the Panola College and Carthage Education Foundations, just to name a few. The initial project completed by the organization was the addition of the first concrete sidewalk in Panola County in 1914. Committee members for this year’s Spring Event are Pam Goodson, Walta Cooke, and Toni Biggs.