Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Review: Just Shy of Paradise by Carole Thayne Warburton

Two stories are skillfully woven together in Just Shy of Paradise by Carole Thayne Warburton. First, there is a contemporary obstacle-filled romance. When Sky Brown meets Lily Anderson and they learn of connections their ancestors had in Cache Valley, Utah, he “even wonders if his ancestors had orchestrated events so he would meet her.” Soon after their first encounter on the Blacksmith Fork River in Cache Valley, however, ownership of a one-of-a-kind fly fishing rod comes into question, and becomes a symbol that will challenge their developing trust and cause them to question each other and their own belief systems.

Their story is played out in the very northern Utah valley where Sky’s mostly peaceful Shoshone ancestors once farmed, hunted, and fished, until driven away by events such as the shameful Bear River Massacre, when  hundreds of the natives were exterminated by the U.S. Army. While Sky tries to rid his heart of bitterness over this and other wrongs done to his people, he reflects: “It seems to me that our ancestors aren’t exactly in another place---that they are right here with us - - - and that what happened to them happens to us.” The words of Chief Sagwitch echo in his heart, though, and challenge the hatred he feels: “I have ever been an advocate for peace. I abhor war today. I want peace. I want peace today. I want to be at peace with all men . . .”

In a parallel experience, Lily finds and reads a journal penned by Emma, a young Scandinavian ancestor who struggles with the settlers’ treatment of the Shoshone. When she meets a tall strapping young Shoshone, her account reads: “He held the sack of potatoes and said thank you slowly. And then he took off his bear’s teeth necklace and gave it to me. Never have I had such a gift. I am embarrassed even now to write about him and how it felt to see him again. He left and joined the other Indians who waited for him. Even if I never see Topi again, at least I know his name and know he lived through the battle. I am grateful to God for letting me bask in His goodness, for seeing to the desires of my heart. 

Only when histories are revealed, old wrongs righted, justice granted, and forgiveness freely given can Sky and Lily learn to trust each other, as each must face their own fears and demons before they can truly be free to love.

Just Shy of Paradise is a well-balanced, fascinating read with powerful historical and cultural references that raises challenging implications for the present. It is permeated with a haunting sense of place and ancestry, causing the reader to ponder the role of personal heritage in the development of the people and nations we are today. 

                                                     ---reviewed by Janet Kay Jensen

Launch  Party: Monday March 28
Hyrum, Utah library

50 W. Main, Hyrum  245-6411

Book signing 6-8 p.m. At 7:00 Carole will speak about her books and there will be a drawing for prizes - books and pottery! 

Just Shy of Paradise

by Carole Thayne Warburton
  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Brigham Distributing (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935217917
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935217916

find it at and Deseret Book

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Birthday to Barbie

Did you know...

... that today is Barbie's birthday? Ruth Handler created the Barbie doll on this date in 1959, naming her after her daughter Barbara. Trivia fans: Barbie is from Willows, Wis., and attended Willows High School, she has had more than 108 careers, and Barbie and Ken broke up on Valentine's Day in
2004 after 43 years together. But they're still "friends." ;-)

c/o Audri and Jim Lanford

I have mixed feelings about Barbie and her effect on girls' self-images as they grow up. But it's not worth a rant today. After all, Barbie's getting older, too, and I can identify with that. 

I am pleased to report that so far Darling Granddaughter #1 prefers her stuffed animals, particularly Tigger, and Darling Granddaughter #2 cuddles with the Grinch. She has tried to chew his nose off, but no luck yet. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just Shy of Paradise - new book out!

When Lily's valuable fishing pole is stolen, her Native American friend Sky is charged with the crime. But things are not always as they seem in this intriguing tale of romance, secrets, and betrayal.

available at and Brigham Distributing 
 (click on book title)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Review: Journey of Honor

Journey of Honor
A Love Story
byJaclyn M. Hawkes

I found ten definitions of “honor” in my dictionary. Here are three that apply to this book and form the backbone of the story:
  1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honor
  2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one's family 
  3. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor

These phrases from the dictionary also typify the behaviors of the main characters:
  1. in honour bound: under a moral obligation
  2. in honor of: out of respect for 
  3. on one’s honour, upon one’s honour, on the pledge of one’s word or good name.

Sometimes it seems that the concept of honor has taken quite a beating over time, and some people may find these definitions old-fashioned and even outmoded, but Journey of Honor illustrates the ideal of honor in its original context.

Giselle, a young LDS Dutch woman, is determined to reach Zion with her grandparents. A victim of mob violence, she demonstrates remarkable strength and endurance in everything she does. Trace Grayson sets his medical career aside for a while, disgusted with racial issues that abound in Georgia. He begins to take goods to the territories, transporting them from east to west by teamster train. Giselle and Trace meet on the street in St. Joseph, Missouri, and the attraction is mutual.

Quickly married ("in name only") to protect Giselle from a false accusation and to protect her as she travels west, these two young strangers have many experiences on the trail that reveal their true natures to us and each other. They are tried in just about every way imaginable, and even pestered by a native American who becomes obsessed with Giselle, offering many horses and other possessions for her. But she’s not for sale, and eventually convinces him with an outburst of her “Dutch temper.”

We’re engaged with these characters and we want them to survive their arduous journey – both physically and spiritually. There are many examples from both realms in this story, and Giselle and Trace prove equal to their challenges. A special moment (I won’t give it away) suggests the gift of tongues guiding a character’s thoughts and beliefs.

When Trace and Giselle finally reach Salt Lake City, it’s a bittersweet time; she is committed to joining the Saints and becoming a plural wife, and he is committed to take his goods onward to California. It takes the intervention of Brigham Young to suggest other possibilities to these two honorable people.

Journey of Honor is an enjoyable and uplifting read and the book has an attractive cover. I do fault the editors for not catching slang words and phrases such as “pretty up front” and “he’d deal with the whole leaving thing later.” These are just two examples of modern language forms that jolt the reader out of the 1840s and into the present, where we don’t want to be. We want to stay immersed in the story and find out what happens next. 

Journey of Honor
Jaclyn M. Hawkes

ISBN: 978-59936-059-1
Cost: $14.95, paperback
Granite Publishing
Salt Lake City, Utah