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The Blind season

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Reviewer: Duane Mac Simolke PhD (Lubbock, TX)

Should become a classic of gay literature.

Ronald L. Donaghe continues his "Common Threads in the Life" series with a novel that excels both as a family drama and as an action drama. Five years after the events of the novel Common Sons, Donaghe's young lovers Tom and Joel decide to start a family. The struggles they face come from unexpected sources, keeping readers guessing at the next obstacles or solutions. Donaghe delivers what should become a classic of gay literature.


Reviewer: Lori L. Lake (Twin Cities, Minnesota)

Lively, Engaging Book by a Talented Author

In the middle 1980s, author Ronald Donaghe envisioned a four book series which he called Common Threads in the Life. The initial book, Common Sons, was published in 1989 and found a cult audience, particularly among youth, both gay and lesbian, who were struggling with their own coming out issues. Then it took well over a decade to bring the sequel to fruition. The Blind Season is that long-awaited sequel and is the continued story of Joel Reece and Tom Allen, two young men from Common, New Mexico. The sequel picks up in 1970, four years after Common Sons left off. The two boys are now young men who live together, work on Joel's parents' farm, and consider themselves married. Though the townspeople continue to be suspicious, prejudiced, and unsupporting, Tom and Joel are mostly happy-but not entirely happy because they want children of their own.

The boys set out to find a young woman to carry their child, and they meet Sharon Minninger, who is a shunned Mennonite runaway living over the border in Mexico. Sharon has dreams of her own, including getting an education and making something of herself. She agrees to bear Tom and Joel's child in return for help to go to college. The circumstances of the baby's conception, Sharon's pregnancy, and the little girl who is subsequently born bring strong feelings out in the open from the townspeople and from Tom and Joel's families as well. The story of how they navigate all of this is suspenseful, dramatic, and touching. While many people are against Tom and Joel - particularly the vicious, latent homosexual police officer in town - they gradually find others like Margaret, the low-key lesbian from the local diner, who support and encourage them. In addition, there are some real surprises from members of their families.

This story evoked a tear or two along with a few chuckles. It's lively, entertaining, and a highly effective sequel to Common Sons. Mr. Donaghe is a talented writer who continues to put a realistic and reflective face on the gay young men about whom he writes. This is a book anyone from high school to age 100 could enjoy, and I highly recommend both this book and the series.


Reviewer: Jeffery Ferguson (New York)

A Blind Season Full Of Light -

Again, thank you for a splendid sequel. Their lives for the period of reading was my life and I thoroughly enjoyed being there. The compassion, forgiveness and understanding of all peoples no matter where they are in their lives came through brilliantly. Humanity is all of its forms shone brightly. Thank you.


Reviewer:Johnny (New York)

Whatever happened to Tom and Joel?

Ron Donaghe's second installment following "Common Sons" in The Common Threads in the Life series, picks up with "The Blind Season." The story continues five years afer we've left Joel and Tom in "Common Sons." Joel, never one to accept other people's ideas of what he should or shouldn't do, or what he can or cannot have as a homosexual man living an openly homosexual life, once agains follows his heart. In the process he upsets a lot of people, shocks many more, and creates a lot of division within the town of Common, New Mexico, where he lives. Donaghe's setting for this story is once again the New Mexican desert. His vivid descriptions of the New Mexican landscape come from the heart, and his love for the the setting is evident, serving only to enhance the story.

While there are some parts that have become cliché for many gay novels (we've got another obsessively homophobic closet-case in Paul Romaine), Donaghe manages to throw in a good amount of dramatic twists to keep things fresh. I also liked the use of religious diversity throughout; the conversations about God/soul/life sound very similar to thoughts that often bounce around in my head and amongst my circle of friends.

Without giving away too many details, suffice it to say that Joel finds a way to fulfill his dream of becoming a father, raising a family, and leading a life no different from anyone else's with the man he loves. Donaghe's story is a testament to listening to one's own heart, rather than to others' and about following one's dreams and making them reality, no matter how many people tell you "you can't." It's a statement about the rights--regrettably, rights that need to be fought for--of gay men to have what most people take for granted. For those who first met Tom and Joel in "Common Sons," and want to know what became of them, I highly recommend "The Blind Season." Donaghe's writing style is riveting, easy on the senses, and draws the reader in from the beginning. This book is a great follow-up to "Common Sons."


Ronald L. Donaghe was raised on a farm in southern New Mexico. The setting for many of his novels involves the desert and the mountains of New Mexico. He is a master at evoking the stark beauty and sheer majesty of such settings--but also the unforgiving and harsh side.

He is a technical writer and novelist from New Mexico. He has been published by Dutton, Edward William Publishing Company, New Mexico Council for the Arts, Xlibris Corporation and by Writer’s Club Press (an imprint of iUniverse.com). His growing body of work includes essays in three anthologies, a book of essays, two novels, and a full-length autobiography. He has a cat without a tail, and he read comics when he was young... two things he'll rarely admit in polite company.

Ronald L. Donaghe is the author of several novels, including those in the series: Common Threads in the Life (which includes the best-selling COMMON SONS), the series: The Continuing Journals of Will Barnett, which includes UNCLE SEAN, LANCE, and this book. In addition, the first book in his fantasy trilogy was published in 2002.


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