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 myster–and especially romance–are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.
I have yet to find a Lynn Austin character I don’t like. In fact, I haven’t even found one that wasn’t memorable, unique, fresh and wholly entertaining.
While the beginning of Wonderland Creek was a little slow for me (which honestly might have been more of a result of my chaotic schedule more than the novel itself) the action picks up and Austin’s masterful subtle tension keeps you hooked all the way through. She weaves various threads from different directions and they come together to form a purely spectacular tapestry.
Set in the mining country of Kentucky, this novel explores an area that is rarely seen in fiction. The dedication and rigors of the life of the mounted librarians fascinated me and left me wanting more.
Alice’s transition from a quiet, nose-in-a-book librarian to a more assertive and confident pioneer felt real and believable, as did the romances and twists.
If you are looking for a different kind of historical fiction that will entertain, educate and stick with you long after you put it away, look into any of Lynn Austin’s books. Particularly, look into Wonderland Creek – it is definitely in my top five favorites of Austin’s!
Disclosure – I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.