|Sun Tunnels and Secrets|
As is my custom since I began blogging, I am reviewing this book based on my actual feelings for it. I have received no compensation for this review and the opinions expressed have not been swayed in any way by any party.
Here is the back cover blurb from the book:
On a trip to the Sun Tunnels in the Utah desert, Norma and her sisters find a body on the side of the road. But this awful discovery turns out to be the least of their problems. Norma's husband just passed on, and she learns he kept a secret from her for sixty years. LaRue is keeping a secret from Norma. The sisters' young friend Tony is keeping a secret about his famous father, and Tony's mother is keeping a secret of her own. Tony is secretly in love with his friend Kelli, who recently escaped from a polygamist cult. And who is the mysterious young car thief with whom Norma feels a special connection? Everything converges in Grouse Creek at the Fourth of July celebration. Will secrets prove everyone's undoing?
This book caught me up from the start. The action starts intriguingly with the naked body of a young man found beside a desolate back country road in the Utah desert. This discovery is made by three elderly sisters who are on their way to visit a mysterious attraction called the Sun Tunnels. Since there is little they can do about the situation they continue on to their destination. On their return they find that not only is the body missing, but also one of the sister's car which was left parked on the highway. This is just the beginning of the mysteries this book follows.
In Sun Tunnels and Secrets we meet an array of fun and finely drawn characters who find themselves interconnected by the secrets of the past and the circumstances of the present. The setting is rural Utah in a place that seems stranded in time and isolated by geography. There is romance, humor, and even car chases as the secrets are revealed and the mysteries are unraveled.
The characters are primarily of a generation of the elderly and young folks in their twenties. These generations come together in a sweet way to present a story that is as all-American as apple pie. In fact, one of the sisters is an expert pie maker. This book is about as wholesome as it can be--after all it is a story about Mormons.
The front cover of the book clearly states that the book is "an LDS novel". I think that this could limit readership although it shouldn't. Though there are some references to Mormonism, if the cover description hadn't been there one might not even notice. This is a story of good small town folks facing the same issues that are faced by many people regardless of faith.
My favorite parts of the book were the scenes with the sisters. These scenes were often funny and eccentric, but also occasionally heartbreaking. These ladies seemed so real that I felt like they were people I've known in my life. The author captures the older characters with the greatest realism. The younger characters seemed a bit artificial and lacking in dimension at times, but they were still likable and interesting.
The book is an easy read and will probably be most appreciated by readers who like their stories neatly wrapped with a clear ending. The story was perhaps too neatly packaged for my taste and the conclusion seemed a bit contrived. It reminded me of one of those sappy made for television movies. For others, this may be just the uplifting sort of story they are looking for to pass a few summer reading hours.
Generally speaking though, this is a fun book that thoroughly entertains and maintains a good pace. There is no bad language and nothing that is offensive. If you are looking for some light fun with a well told story about characters that you will enjoy, then Sun Tunnels and Secrets might just be your cup of tea--with a slice of homemade pie.
If you've read this book I'd love to hear your opinion. Do you like stories where all the loose ends are tied up and the conflicts are neatly resolved? Would you read a book that was labeled "An LDS Novel" or would that label be off putting to you? Do you think fiction should be pigeonholed according to a particular religious audience or should it be categorized according to story genre and style so that it can be evaluated according to its merits or weaknesses?