Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: "Wonderland Creek" by Lynn Austin

Summary from Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend, Gordon, breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real world. Then to top it off, Alice loses her beloved job at the library because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.

Fleeing small-town gossip, Alice heads to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn. Dropped off by her relatives, Alice volunteers to stay for two weeks to help the librarian, Leslie McDougal.

But the librarian turns out to be far different than she anticipated--not to mention the four lady librarians who travel to the remote homes to deliver the much-desired books. While Alice is trapped in Acorn against her will, she soon finds that real-life adventure and mystery--and especially romance--are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.

I love reading books about characters who love reading books. There's just something about reading about someone else who is passionate about my interests that makes me happy. What I don't like (and honestly don't understand) is when an author makes their character seem like a fool because they like reading. It always makes me think that the authors is trying to say that you shouldn't read books all the time but then why are they writing a book? Luckily Lynn Austin doesn't fall into that trap as we happily go back into time and see life through the eyes of a bibliophile

Alice is what I would like to call lovingly sheltered. She's a good person with a kind heart. She's just lived in her bubble and hasn't gone to experience the real world in person. When an unexpected stop happens, she is finally thrust into forced survival mode and finds that her reading has not prepared her for a life such as this. Alice didn't grow up in extreme wealth but she has been kept in the dark about how to take care of herself in situations without electricity, telephones and automobiles. Her struggles to fit her modern lifestyle with the primitive conditions are both humorous and a bit sad at the same time.

I really enjoyed reading about libraries and the importance of reading and literature even though we were in rural Kentucky and literary was low. Story telling and imagination were still useful to have even if one couldn't actually read a book. I found the historical aspects of the book to be very interesting, such as money from the government was helping to pay for the horseback librarians.

I was a bit perturbed at how much lying was in this book. I guess I was just rather annoyed that Alice was deceived into staying in Kentucky longer than she intended. People may have thought that they were benefiting her and them, but no one stopped to think that others may have been worried about Alice's safety. I'm glad that she was eventually able to call her parents and let them know as they sounded very relived to find out that she was safe. I'm not a fan of the hat on the cover model. I just think it looks very odd on her. I will admit that the girl does look exactly how I would picture Alice, right down to the slightly clueless look on her face.

Romance-wise, there's a little bit in the book. Not so much that I would classify this as a historical romance however. What was there however was very much in keeping with Alice's character as it is sweet and mostly innocent. Overall, this was a good read especially for readers. It was fun watching Alice grow throughout the story and still able to keep her love of reading intact. She's just now more aware of her surroundings and also what is out in the rest of the world. I look forward to Austin's next book.

Wonderland Creek
by Lynn Austin is published by Bethany House (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

1 comment:

  1. Great book review! I've read this book yersterday. And I also like it very much.


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