In my new book BETTING THE RAINBOW released April 1, 2014, I first walked into a place I’d never been in my mind. A little lake, too small to be a community, just three houses tucked away in the trees. One a cabin leased by Ronny Logan who simply wants to be alone to grieve. A huge old two story that looks out of place called Hawk House occupied by a man whose spirit is broken. And a small pecan farm run by two sisters who dream of what might have been.
As each one of the characters began to tell me their story, I wove together their dreams and fears in a small town called Harmony, Texas. A charity event at the Truman Farm to raise money for the library draws everyone, carrying their hopes with them. Reagan Truman runs the huge event while in the middle of her own crisis. The one man she’s ever loved has come home, but she’s not sure she can accept him and all the baggage he brings. Noah has to do something far braver than riding bulls if he wants to win her back.
Part of the great fun of being a writer is that I go new places and meet new people all the time. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I fall in love and sometimes bullets fly. Probably the hardest question a writer tries to answer is, “Where do your stories come from?” I’ve written 40 books and I have to say, “I don’t know.” They just come. It’s like I meet someone new in my mind and they tell me their story.
While I was researching this book, I learned that the term “betting the rainbow” is used in poker and means shoving all your chips in on one bet. I did that once in my life when I quit teaching and decided to be a writer. I’d love to know from any of you if there’s been a time when you’ve bet it all for one dream. Then take a chance on BETTING THE RAINBOW.
Publishers Weekly Review of Betting the Rainbow
Thomas knocks it out of the park again with her seventh contemporary set in Harmony, Tex. (after Can’t Stop Believing). Ronny Logan and Austin Hawk are looking for peace out by Rainbow Lane. They both have reasons to crave solitude—he’s recovering from injury, she from grief and a year’s travel—so they’re surprised to enjoy each other’s company. Ronny also becomes friends with neighbors Dusti and Abby Delaney, sisters who are counting on a poker tournament to make their dreams come true. As Dusti gets poker lessons from flirtatious Kieran O’Toole, tournament organizer Reagan Truman waits for rodeo rider Noah McAllen, her longtime love interest, to “grow up and man up.” Thomas is a master at creating damaged yet appealing characters, and their expressions of love—as siblings, as friends, as partners—are intense and beautiful. Their paths to happiness are interwoven in an intricate tapestry with the tournament as backdrop, combining in an epic tale of the kind of love that lasts forever. (Apr.)
Betting the Rainbow (Harmony) by Jodi Thomas
Review by Vickie Denney at Reader To Reader
Ronny Logan has returned to Harmony after traveling the world for a year. This was one of the things that her late friend, Marty Winslow, wanted her to do with some of the money he bequeathed her. Ronny will always love Marty, but must start a new life; however, she doesn’t know what to do since she has enough money to last her for forever. Marty’s butler and friend, Mr. Carleon, has stayed in Harmony to help Ronny with any and every thing. While she was away, he leased a cottage for her on Rainbow Lane and it sits on a small lake. There are only three houses in that area. Across the lake the Delaney sisters, Abby and Dusti, have a small farm and raise chickens. Hawk House is on Ronny’s side of the lake and currently is housing Austin Hawk.
Abby had to quit nursing school with only a year to go due to finances after parent’s illnesses. Dusti has entered a local fund raising poker game that sends the winner to Las Vegas to play for a million dollar jack pot. Dusti asks Kiernan O’Toole to teach her the finer points of the game. She hopes to win locally and then win enough in Los Vegas to send Abby back to school. Kiernan will help her but warns her he is also a competitor and he will be hard to beat. The Irishman has loved Dusti forever, it seems, and she is totally unaware…but not for long.
Austin Hawk is also back in Harmony rehabbing from burns and injuries suffered during a fire. He just wants to be left alone, but Fate has other plans for him. The first night that Austin and Ronny meet had this reviewer hee-hawing. A connection is made between these two lost, wounded, and very sad souls, which evolves into a magnificent relationship.
Reagan Truman gives Noah McAllen an ultimatum – her or the rodeo. Noah can’t always run from his responsibilities.
Betting The Rainbow visits so many of the core characters and updates their status. Jodi Thomas has truly outdone herself with this fine, fine story. I know, personally, each and every character in Harmony, Texas and hope to meet many more. They are wonderful, kind, generous, real people with real problems. Be warned that having a box of tissues close by will come in handy. Beautiful stories like Betting The Rainbow don’t come around too often, and reading this tale is like finding a pot of gold.