Audiobook Mini-Review: Wonderland Creek

30 Dec

I had Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin on my shelf for a while. I despaired of ever getting a chance to read it. But when I discovered my local library had the audio version on Libby, I knew it was time. It certainly lived up to all the great things I had heard. A highly recommended read!

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.

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband’s work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she’d earned at Hope College and Southern Connecticut State University to work as a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother, and daughter concerning the change in women’s roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve’s Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn’s lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published 27 novels. Eight of her historical novels have won Christy Awards for excellence in Christian Fiction: Hidden Places (2001), Candle in the Darkness (2002), Fire by Night (2003), A Proper Pursuit (2007), Until We Reach Home (2008), Though Waters Roar (2009), While We’re Far Apart (2010), and Wonderland Creek (2011). She was inducted into the Christy Award Hall of Fame in 2013. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn’s novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.


My Impressions:

Wonderland Creek is a great novel for book lovers. Main character, Alice Ripley, lives her life in books. While I am a self-proclaimed book nerd (and proud of it), I hope that I never neglect real life and real people the way Alice did before her journey to Acorn, Kentucky. After losing her library job, not to mention her boyfriend, Alice believes getting out of town and helping a poor, rural community gain access to reading materials is just what she needs. But her arrival in Acorn is a very rude awakening. Alice might as well have gone to the moon for how different life is in Acorn. She joins forces with the local librarian to become a part of the WPA pack horse book delivery, as well as to uncover a number of mysteries. The book has many laugh out loud scenes as Alice proves to be a fish out of water again and again. But the tough life of those she meets, the feuds, and the eye-opening fact that life is more than stories in a book make her grown up. I loved Alice, despite her naivety and at times downright foolishness. Her resiliency and her determination helped her to overcome her weaknesses. Wonderland Creek has plenty of drama and mystery and history and romance (albeit unconventional) for fans of all genres. I found it to be a highly recommended read!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I downloaded the audiobook from Libby. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)



2 Responses to “Audiobook Mini-Review: Wonderland Creek”

  1. Sue Wendt December 31, 2020 at 1:12 pm #

    I, too, enjoyed the audio of this book.

  2. Barbara Harper December 31, 2020 at 1:13 pm #

    I read this a few years ago and enjoyed it.

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