No Secret Too Small

 By Loretta Miles Tollefson

Sometimes I think there must be a rule that says when you’re writing about history, you should make it as dry and monotonous as you possibly can. Provide names, dates and locations but don’t share anything that gives insight into what the personal experience was like for people. Fortunately, in her historical fiction novel, No Secret Too Small, author Loretta Miles Tollefson ignores that rule. The historical context is northern New Mexico in 1837 during what was known as the Chimayó Rebellion. As a part of Mexico, New Mexico is experiencing challenging times as the federal government imposes crushing taxes on the citizens. Already unpopular, New Mexico Governor Albino Pérez embraces these policies enthusiastically which leads to an armed rebellion.

Into this setting, Tollefson inserts a family experiencing its own challenges. A family secret is revealed which tears apart the marriage of Gerald and Suzanna Locke. Unfortunately, eight year old Alma and her six year old brother, Andrew, are ripped from a comfortable life in their valley in northern New Mexico and thrust into the middle of the Chimayó Rebellion. The story unfolds for the reader through their eyes. They encounter mountain men, politicians, soldiers from both sides of the conflict, as well as members of the upper crust of New Mexican society. They make new friends but they also experience cruelty and prejudice of which they had previously been unaware.

When we have the luxury of looking back at historical events, we are able to follow them through to their conclusion. When a person is living through the event, they don’t have the advantage of knowing how it will turn out. In the 21st century, we are acutely aware of what it is like to “live through history.” National and global events keep us in a state of trepidation about where our world is headed; meanwhile, day to day challenges continue to present themselves. There is some comfort in realizing that this has always been the case. Tollefson captures the uncertainty and anxiety that young Alma and her brother Andrew experience as they watch and wait helplessly to see if the adults around them will find a way to restore order and safety to their world.

Loretta Miles Tollefson has written five novels based on the history of New Mexico… two in her Novels of Old New Mexico series and three, including No Secret Too Small, in her Old New Mexico series … and she really knows her stuff. She expertly weaves historical events through the lives of her characters. The result is that the reader experiences a fascinating story while learning about the culture and history of a unique and special place … the Land of Enchantment.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This