Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wonderland Creek

Wonderland Creek. Lynn Austin. 2011. Bethany House. 400 pages.

If my life were a book, no one would read it. People would say it was too boring, too predictable. A story told a million times. But I was perfectly content with my life--that is, until the pages of my story were ripped out before I had a chance to live happily ever after.

Our heroine, Alice Grace Ripley, has spent most of her life in Illinois taking things for granted. Things like her job at the library, even though it's the middle of the Depression, Alice assumes that work at the library will continue on. After all, don't people need to read more than ever? And she completely takes her boyfriend, Gordon, for granted. Assuming that he will always be by her side--even though the two have little in common. She's not interested in his work--he's an undertaker, or at the very least he works in the funeral home business. And he's definitely not interested in her work, the number of books she's read that week, the characters in those books, plot elements and twists, etc. So when Gordon discovers her reading a book at a funeral, well, he makes the decision that their relationship would never work. Soon after this disappointment, she learns that the library will have to change its hours and let go of their newest hire; yes, that would be Alice.

Her parents--her father in particular--are big on lists. So Alice won't be allowed time at home to be depressed. So when her Aunt and Uncle mention a trip to a spa--a trip that will take them through Kentucky, well, she asks--almost begs--to join them. For there is a small town (a mountain town) in Kentucky in need of books. Alice has been having a book drive for them, and she's got five boxes of books. She'd love to deliver them herself.

What Alice couldn't predict was her welcome in that town. And how VERY different this rural life would be from everything she's ever known. The librarian, Leslie MacDougal (Mack), isn't all that thrilled with her when she arrives. Where will she stay? Where will she sleep? There isn't exactly a hotel or boarding room about?! And Alice is shocked to discover that the librarian is a man! Which definitely complicates things!

But soon SOMETHING happens that changes everything, it seems that God had a very clear purpose for Alice coming to stay just when she did...

Will her friends and family ever believe her story?!

Wonderland Creek is a great book. Alice is a librarian, a book lover. Though her life in Kentucky does not offer much opportunity to read. The book is a fascinating look at packhorse librarians. Librarians who deliver books to their patrons--by horse. And, of course, it's an interesting look at Appalachian life as well.

If you enjoy historical fiction--set in the 1930s--or mysteries, or romance, then you should try Wonderland Creek. I loved the setting. (It reminded me--in a good way, of course--of Christy.) I loved the characters. And the story.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

10 comments:

thereadingpanda 11:53 PM  

Yay for bookish librarians going on grand adventures. I also really like your opening quote! Thanks for the review.

Christina T 5:42 AM  

Oh this sounds fantastic! I kind of just grabbed this and checked it out at my library when I saw it without really paying attention to what it was about other than the fact that it had to do with a librarian (I am a librarian so I'm always interested to see how librarians are portrayed in books). It sounds like so much more than i expected. So excited to start reading this, especially with the similarities to Christy. Thanks for your review!

BooksDogsCoffee 7:00 AM  

I can’t help it- when the main character is bookish, I have a desire to get my hands on that book! And I love that part where Alice reads a book at the funeral :) Thanks for the great review.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) 9:47 AM  

Oh wow this looks really great. Love the concept.

Emma Hox 3:58 PM  

I think this book sounds very interesting. I love historical setting with a touch of romance and mystery.

Cozy in Texas 1:19 PM  

Thanks for posting this - it sounds like a good read.
Ann

Lisa 6:28 PM  

This one sounds interesting, especially the characters however I am wondering how much of this book is a romance novel. Can you tell me?

Becky 6:43 PM  

Lisa, it's not heavy on romance in my opinion.

Laura H 6:56 PM  

I love Lynn Austin. Hope this one is at my library.

Laura H 11:00 PM  

Becky, I got the book and LOVED it. I think I have read to many Dystopian books lately so this one was really refreshing. I cant help but loving Alice who loves books as much as me!

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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