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Just Shy of Paradise Paperback – March 1, 2011
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The Amazon Book Review
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Just Shy of Paradise is a stirring tale that explores the lives of two people who must reconcile their differences that trace back to roots deeper than the Bear River soil. With a rich blend of Native American life, Swedish ancestry, and modern-day struggles that persist in the charming town of Paradise, readers will soon be caught up in the vibrant narrative and vivid characters, quickly becoming wholly devoted to Lily and Sky. --Heather B. Moore, winner of Best of State and Whitney Awards for Abinadi
Just Shy of Paradise is a well-told story of fresh perspectives and deep characters sure to help every reader reflect on his or her own pursuit of happiness amid the stumbling blocks none of us are able to steer clear of completely. --Josi S. Kilpack, author of the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series
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 that causes the reader to reflect on the role personal heritage has played in the development of the individuals and nations we are today. --Janet Kay Jensen, award-winning author of Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys
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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 tooth 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 raise 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.
Central to the story is the discovery of a rare bamboo fishing pole that belonged to Lily's grandfather, which unbeknownst to Lily, is of a rare quality, and constructed by Sky's father before he died, years earlier. Once it is discovered in the town that Lily, who has never learned to fish, possesses this rare item, numerous others seek to buy it from her, for exorbitant amounts. But then when it is suddenly discovered to be missing, Lily and Sky are thrown into an investigation process that yields surprising and unhappy results. As these two join hands and become good friends, they are able to see new possibilities for their lives. As they help each other through the painful process of learning to trust, and then forgiving when needed, they discover that healing and pure love awaits them. Looking forward to reading other books by the talented Carole Warburton!