Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sun Tunnels and Secrets Book Review

Sun Tunnels and Secrets is described on the cover as “an LDS novel” but the religious elements are not central to the plot. In other words, readers of all faiths will enjoy this book.

Think small town. Really small town in northwest Utah. So small, there wouldn't be any spectators for the annual Fourth of July parade unless relatives and friends come to see it, as all the residents of Grouse Creek are in the parade.

The events in this book begin as three sisters visit a remarkable piece of outdoor art erected in the seventies in the middle of the Utah desert, now largely forgotten. Note: the Sun Tunnels are real. The stunning photograph on the book's cover was taken by the author.

Meet LaRue, Mabel and Norma, the Hansey sisters, strong capable women considerably over a certain age who have made many a potato salad and weathered many a storm, and have also kept more than coveted recipes from each other. They're like most sisters. In a pinch they're at each others' doorsteps to help out; they just know when they're needed, even when the phones aren't working. Mabel sums it up: “I just had one of my feelings."

When a devastating family secret is revealed, the lives of the three sisters are changed forever. Will the sisters be able to regroup? What will happen, now that they know the truth? Norma’s quest to uncover a secret her late husband kept from her all through their marriage confused me at times, but in the end, her search leads her to surprising results. Perhaps we’re meant to be as puzzled as Norma as she pursues all possible leads.

The Hansey sisters aren't the only residents of Grouse Creek who are keeping secrets. Many truths are revealed to others throughout the book.

Some of these characters include Tony, a handsome, lovesick singing cowboy who performs his original tunes for an audience of attentive cows. Add a few other staples to the mix: Kelli, the confused young woman he loves, an assortment of neighbors and friends, an LDS bishop, police, and a good-looking undertaker.

In the telling of this story are lines Mrs. Malaprop or Yogi Berra would be proud to utter, such as “that’s just water over the bridge.” Filled with small town flavor and likeable, quirky characters, Sun Tunnels and Secrets is a page-turner. With Norma's entertaining weekly columns from the Tremonton Leader and Kelli’s letters to friends, we learn more about life in Grouse Creek.

There’s even a car chase.

Find out what happened to LaRue's unfinished embroidered pillowcase and why she will never set foot in Tremonton, Utah. In a hundred years you would never guess and I won't divulge the answers. To quote LaRue (who is very quotable), "it would be unseemly."

Seriously, you KNOW these people. One of them may be standing on your porch as we speak, bearing a batch of cookies, a prized jar of chokecherry jam, or a lemon meringue pie. You never know.

Sun Tunnels and Secrets is published by Walnut Springs and is available at and local bookstores. Click on the title of this post to visit Warburton's homepage.

She is holding a launch party on Saturday October 9 at the Book Table in Logan Utah from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Other events:

September 18th: Logan Gardner's Market from 9-1pm. (Cache County Courthouse on Main Street.) Discounts on pottery and books.

September 25:  Pottery at Sundance, Utah from 9 am to 4 pm.
October 4: Book Chat about writing and publishing "Sun Tunnels and Secrets" at the Hyrum Library. Come buy a book signed by the author. Donation to the Hyrum Library.

Author Carole Thayne Warburton describes herself as “a 50-something woman who loves the great outdoors.” Besides writing, she spends her time roaming the hills and mountains in Northern Utah, making pottery, and enjoying life” with her husband of 30 plus years.”

Warburton holds degrees in art education and English literature from Utah State University. An accomplished potter, she exhibits her work in many local and regional juried art fairs. She also teaches pottery classes and has been an artist in residence at several elementary schools.

She and her husband taught school in a K-10 two-room school with 24 students in the small town of Grouse Creek, Utah. The nearest grocery store was sixty miles away and most of the road was unpaved and windy. Much of her writing was inspired by the six years they spent living there.

Warburton blogs at

Note: Carole Thayne Warburton’s first two novels, False Pretenses and A Question of Trust, originally published under her maiden name, have been re-issued with new covers and can be found at under the author's full name.


Cami Checketts said...

Thanks for the review. I'm so thrilled that Carole's new book is out. I loved her others. Writing Oct. 9th on my calendar so I can get my own copy!

JoLynne Lyon said...

Can't wait to read it!

Pam Williams said...

Like a lot of women my age, I gave up reading fiction by LDS authors thirty years ago because it just wasn't that good, but now there are so many excellent authors popping up all over. It's such a pleasure to pick up an LDS author and know your sensibilities aren't going to be assaulted. I'm glad to know of this new book. I'll certainly pick it up and tell my reader friends about it. BTW, in college I knew someone from Grouse Creek and the place has always fascinated me.