Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Review of Wonderland Creek (CFBA Tour)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wonderland Creek
Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
Lynn Austin


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 Southern Connecticut State University to become 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 (age 98), 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 graduate 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 twelve novels. Five of her historical novels have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. And two of her inspirational fiction books were chosen by Library Journal for their top picks in 2003, and 2005. One of Lynn's novels 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.


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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wonderland Creek, go HERE.

My Rating: Spring/Summer

My Review:

Once upon a time a friend gave me the opportunity to visit The World's Fair in Chicago, as well as experience some quirky intrigue and sweet romance, by letting me borrow her copy of A Proper Pursuit. When the opportunity arrived to read Wonderland Creek, I dived in and discovered another great story that let me meander Kentucky trails during the Great Depression and find all sorts of crazy adventures.

Both of my experiences with Lynn Austin's work have been quite enjoyable! Wonderland Creek is a book that holds up a mirror and gives you a chance to examine your own book-worm lifestyle (if you're anything like the heroine and me) - but be careful! When you step through the mirror you might just discover an unusual world where you shouldn't be too quick to judge or too quick to assume you know all there is to know. Sweet surprises are in store when Alice visits Wonderland...Creek, that is!

Wonderland Creek explores the joys of life and loving as the heroine discovers that living life can be more exciting than reading about it (believe it or not!). Don't worry, though - the blessings of books are also shown throughout the story. This book doesn't shy away from some serious questions about the realities of hardships, and yet it remains fun and unique in what seems to be traditional Austin style. Go ahead and visit Wonderland Creek - I think you'll be glad you did!

*With thanks to Bethany House through CFBA for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*


Kav said...

Ohhhhh very clever review, Amber! "Sweet surprises are in store when Alice visits Wonderland...Creek, that is!" LOL. And I'm itching to read this one now because of the book/library aspect. What's not to like about librarians?! Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

Amber S. said...


Hahaha, thank you! Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty proud of it. ;) Thanks for leaving a comment!

I think you'd love this book! There's definitely a strong library/book theme, and it's just so quirky but meaningful. :) Glad I could introduce you to it!


Julia M. Reffner said...

Not very good at keeping up but was taking a few minutes to catch up on your posts. Alice Wisler's newest sounds fantastic. I had been wondering if it was a good read or not, haven't seen too many reviews...but it sounds great from yours.

I hope your semester is going well.

Amber S. said...


Aw, I'm sure you're keeping busy, and I just appreciate you taking the time to stop by! :) It's good to hear from you! How are you doing?

Oh, I just loved Alice's latest! I highly recommend it! I feel like I really connect with Alice's heroines... :)

As for my semester, it's going well - just so much to think about and read! But I'm learning a lot and still having some fun, so it's all good. :)