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.
Longing to run from small-town gossip, Alice flees to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn., a place with no running water, no electricity, and where the librarians ride ornery horses up steep mountain passes to deliver books. When Alice is forced to stay in Acorn far longer than she planned, she discovers that real-life adventure, mystery -- and especially romance -- may be far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.
How's this for an opening line: "If my life was a book, no one would read it." Told in first-person, Alice goes on to prove herself wrong in this funny and poignant and completely spell-binding story. I bonded with Alice on the very first page -- I mean how could I resist a passionate bibliophile with a penchant for getting into trouble? Alice may live in the pages of her beloved books when we first meet her but she quickly begins writing her own absorbing story when life happens...in a really big way.
This book is full of surprises and priceless gems of wisdom and humour and tender romance, not to mention the deeper kind. It's Alice's journey out of fiction and into the real world and it's a marvel to watch her eyes open as she sees reality for the first time. She fights it tooth and nail, of course, feet dragging as petulantly as any self-centered young woman might. But her adventures along Wonderland Creek leave her transformed.
This coming-of-age story put me in mind of The Waltons. Same depression era and small-town life. Austin descriptions are rich and set the tone and setting of the rural south. Even more importantly, she manages to capture the desperation of the Depression while capturing the strength of the people. Lillie, a secondary character drew me in page after page. It's a marvel how Austin wove seemingly separate threads into a beautiful tapestry of words and emotions.
Wonderland Creek is a book of substance and beauty and well worth the read.
If you would like to win your own copy of Wonderland Creek leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. Please remember to put the title in the subject line. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday November 27. This offer is open to international readers.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".