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.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible