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Local women’s book club about making connections off the page, says founder

For Brownsburg resident, Jamie Hunt, founding a women’s book club in 2015 was the first step in reclaiming the confidence and independence that she said was lost while in an abusive relationship. The former Army sergeant and mother said it helped her to become more active in the community, make new friends and eventually live life on her own terms.

“I gained a lot of confidence because there are some really brilliant women in the group, people that I wouldn’t normally run into in my life,” Hunt said.  “I found out that as a 40-year-old woman, it is very difficult to meet new friends, especially anyone outside of work or the people that you went to high school with, which is great, but you aren’t the same person that you were in high school. While you cherish those relationships, you evolve.”

The book club now includes 15 members who gathered to celebrate its third anniversary on Aug. 13th. Hunt invited special guest speaker, Julianne Q. Johnson, author of the novel, “Ghost in the Park.”

“I think that when women get together it’s a very powerful thing,” said Johnson, a former Plainfield resident. “It’s important, whether they’re talking about a book club, social issues or just hanging out.”

Ages in the group range from 20s to 70s, and the reasons for joining seem unique to each member.

“I’m the senior member. I joined a few years ago after my husband passed away,” said Avon resident, Karen O’Mara.

O’Mara said she enjoys the social life it offers, especially connecting with her book-club friends on Facebook. Hunt seems to have formed a special connection with O’Mara.

“She’s so active and has so many hobbies and activities, and her life is really interesting,” Hunt said. “And because my both my grandmothers and mother have passed away, she’s been like a role model to me.”

One of the club’s newest members, Katie Robison, said she recently moved to Brownsburg with her family from Northwest Indiana.

“I have a bunch of little kids at home and it’s nice to be able to leave home for a little while. And, we are not originally from here so I didn’t really know anyone yet, so here I am,” Robison said.

While club meets to discuss literature, Hunt said the book mostly serves as a starting point to connect with each other.

“When I go to recruit women, they’re often a little bit scared and say they just like reading for fun. I tell them I might ask a question that I found on the internet and then, all of a sudden, we’re on a tangent, relating characters and poems to our life, talking about our kids and husbands. The book is almost a smaller portion of the group.”

By Chris Cornwall