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Wonderland Creek

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Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But the happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real one. To top it off, Alice loses her beloved library job 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 tiny coal-mining town 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.

385 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2011

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About the author

Lynn Austin

46 books4,007 followers
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 27 novels. Eight of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. 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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,080 reviews
Profile Image for Anne.
502 reviews475 followers
May 15, 2016
This review is shockingly late. I'm sorry friends. The truth is, I don't know WHAT to say about this book. It was so surreal, so fantastical, so beautiful, so...I just don't know. I don't know how to explain this book, I don't think it's even possible (I shouldn't even be allowed to review it, because I can feel I'm about to ramble and probably won't make much sense). I've never read a book like Wonderland Creek, that's for sure, but it's the kind of book I think everyone should try at least one.

It's a story that makes you think and makes you re-evaluate your life choices (maybe, perhaps, I don't know...it might be just me :P), but at the same you're not sure if you should take it seriously because the story is so implausible. It's fun and exciting for the most part, features really interesting characters, but sometimes (often) it bordered on the impossible. However, it sure got the point across, and it's worth reading just for the character of Alice.

Written in first person POV, Wonderland Creek read almost like Alice's diary, and the execution and the writing themselves alone deserve a five-star rating. In fact, I'm giving it a full 5 more because of the quality than my enjoyment, because although I loved it, there were a few things that left me disappointed. But, for now, back to Alice. That girl was wonderful. She was direct, honest and just straight-up hilarious. I loved her comments, her perspective, her loyalty and her desire to do good. I'd never encountered a heroine like her before, and I'm sorry. She is definitely high on my list of favourites!! I really admire Lynn Austin's talent for creating characters that go through such impressive personal growth. If you compare the Alice from the beginning and the Alice from the end, you'll find the same, beautiful blond-haired young woman full of charm and dreams, but the first Alice was lost in her dreams, while the second Alice takes control and makes her dreams happen.

I loved the various feels of this book; it's dreamy, sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes sad, mostly exciting, and always beautiful. It takes place in the middle of nowhere in 1930's Kentucky (small town called Acorn), where there is no electricity, no running water and no cars. To city girl Alice from Illinois, it feels like being thrown back in the Middle Ages, and she's not shy enough not to let everybody know that. She finds herself having to take care of a wounded man, a hundred-year old woman, a lonely pregnant neighbour, and is responsible for delivering books to various scattered townspeople. I was expecting city-courting and pretty hats, outings to the theatre and afternoon teas, but...nope. There was danger, mystery, murder, treasure-hunting, family feuds and assassination attempts, and the only "quiet" moments were about garden-planting or learning to bake bread.

I'm not going to lie though, for all the action (and a lot of it highly far-fetched), I was often a little bored. I know, I know. What the hell, who could be bored that book was so beautiful!! But I found it to be a bit repetitive sometimes, and wish things could have sped up. There were also several things for which I was highly anticipating some sort of conclusion, and they never happened, and some things for which said conclusion was unsatisfactory.


Overall though, I have to admit this book is incredibly good, and most definitely a memorable read. The character of Lillie was an absolutely brilliant creation, and gave a whole new dimension to the story. I doubt I will ever find a book like Wonderland Creek again, but thank goodness I still have many Austin books to read!!

Definitely recommended :D
2,741 reviews1,724 followers
December 3, 2011
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's 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.

Profile Image for Morgan .
767 reviews128 followers
August 22, 2020
This is the 4th Lynn Austin novel for me and I have enjoyed them all enormously.
This one, however, is special.
Alice Grace Ripley immediately stole my heart when she lost her boyfriend because her head was always buried in a book and then lost her job as a librarian too. Alice, in despair, takes off on what she expects to be a tiny adventure and lo & behold it turns into a life changing experience. Austin's novels are categorized as `Christian novels' but I would not call them that at all - yes, they all have a shred of Christianity throughout but it is not blatant or palpable and only lends another level to the story. This story is about a lonely introverted young lady finding herself, her courage and her lust for life in a most unexpected rural place. At the end I was surprised and thrilled to find Ms Austin's statement that the premise for the story was inspired by a children's book dealing with the real pack horse librarians of Kentucky which I didn't even know existed. Now I can't wait to read a book on the real ladies who must have been unsung heroes.
This was a really terrific satisfying easy read.

(Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky By Kathi Appelt)
fictionalized story by Lynn Austin, who said at the end that this children's book was the inspiration for her novel.
Profile Image for Ed.
412 reviews13 followers
April 6, 2020
A Really exciting read. If a person reading this book does not have tears and laughs reading it, then they need to stick a pin in them to see if they are still alive.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
106 reviews25 followers
August 30, 2020
Wonderland Creek. Right off, the title and cover intrigued me. Lynn Austin did not disappoint!

What a lighthearted, somewhat comical, read! I absolutely loved the main character, Alice Ripley. She was a little spoiled and self-absorbed at the beginning, but it was so much fun to watch her character develop as the story progresses. She gets dropped off in little Acorn, Kentucky which is very much a backwoods, primitive little town - very unlike the suburb of Chicago where Alice lives. She comes to town to drop off some of her friends' and family's donated books at the local, underprivileged library. What she gets is a whole lot more!

Alice learns so much from these "simple" people. She learns how to give more of herself and expect less from others. She learns the value of life and family. She learns how rewarding it is when you work for something, rather than just being handed everything. She learns that she is capable of far more than she thought possible. And, best of all, she learned what it truly means to have faith in God, rather than just sitting in a pew on Sunday, biding your time.

This is not the style I typically read, but it was honestly so good it left more wanting more! I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good adventure with a bit of romance, mystery, and feuding all rolled into one!
Profile Image for Katie (Hiding in the Pages).
2,839 reviews205 followers
September 8, 2017
"If my life were a book, no one would read it. People would say it was too boring, too predictable." Right from that very first line, I felt myself identify with Alice. I look at myself at times and wonder what I've accomplished in my life. Like Alice, I often find my nose in a book and love to escape "real" life and live the lives of fictional characters. As she unfortunately discovered, that kind of life can't protect a person from heartache. When her life falls apart, she comes up with a plan, but like most plans, it doesn't go anything like she....well...planned.

Lynn Austin managed to transport me straight into the heart of the Kentucky backwoods during the Great Depression and left a lasting impression on me through her fantastically sumptuous writing, splendid characters, and outlandish experiences. The whole book is vividly imprinted on my mind and I've been thinking about it for days now. The events are so unbelievable, but don't they say that sometimes real life is stranger than fiction?

The characters are an unlikely bunch that melted into my heart like a chocolate left in the sun. Literally forced to help these Kentucky residents, Alice learns so much about herself along the way and the growth she exhibits is stunning as she truly comes to life. I think I need to learn from her and actually live in the here and now. I loved these characters so much, especially the plucky 100 year old, Miss Lillie.

I love the library system that is used in this rural area and had no idea that it actually existed. I love learning a little history, along with being entertained.

Content: very mild romance; mild+ religious elements; mild violence.
Profile Image for Jazzy.
202 reviews62 followers
May 23, 2018
OH MY WORD THIS WAS AMAZING.
Profile Image for Sonya.
45 reviews
July 23, 2016
“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.”

Austin has done it again. With Caroline from Candle in the Darkness, I was transported back in time, to Richmond, Virginia through the Civil War. Now, with Wonderland Creek, I found myself in a little town in Kentucky, during the Great Depression. It didn’t take long after that opening (the quote above) for me to be engrossed in the novel.

After her boyfriend broke up with her and losing her job as a librarian, Allie, our protagonist, decided to deliver the donated books she collected to a town in Kentucky. Little did she know that she would be stuck in this backward town, find herself being involved in a mystery, do things she never imagined and perhaps experience romance.

The people from the town slowly grow, not only on Allie, but on me as well - the packhorse ladies who seemed cool at first but are actually kind; Maggie has her problems but I like how she stays in the town to take care of her mother-in-law; genuine June Ann; Lillie, a hundred-year-old lady who might sometimes force her way on Allie, but is really wise and cares about the people around her; Mack, who also cares and serves the community; and Allie, who has her flaws but has grown a lot throughout the novel. All the characters are so real that I can’t help but love.

And the story. It has everything I love in a novel – adventure, mystery, murder, buried treasures, romance, a historical setting and also characters who love books! And I could see myself re-reading this in the future (that says a lot since I seldom re-read books), perhaps when I get my own copy.

I noted down a lot of quotes that I love. And I will end this review with one of them.

“If I’ve learned anything at all from my time away, it’s that you’ve got to take chances in life. Jump in with both feet and do things you never dreamed of doing. We only got one life, and we’ve got to live it to the full. Most of all, we’ve got to love others to the full.”
Profile Image for T.
151 reviews41 followers
October 22, 2016
This book was absolutely adorable, and Alice (or Allie) is a heroine that I like very much simply because I could relate to her so well. Reading constantly day and night? Check. Terrified of horses? Check. Sometimes oblivious to the real world? Check. What I really loved most was her character growth because she started off whiny and entitled, but I was really impressed by how she grew up and changed for the better.

And another highlight of the book was Lillie. She's the best, and I absolutely adored her. The setting of the town was really well done, and I felt like I was really living there while Allie had her adventures. The only downside to this book was the romance. That's usually not a problem for me, but I felt like Allie's romance with Mack wasn't that fleshed out, especially since she seemed to be head over heels in love with Ike Arnett for awhile. I didn't really see any reason why Allie liked Mack. Of course I was happy when they were together but... I didn't understand why they actually liked each other.

This is the first Lynn Austin book I've successfully completed (I haven't completed Candle in the Darkness because I've been so busy and haven't had time to just sit and listen to it as an audiobook. Even though I really like it. Shame on me :( However this was wonderfully written and I'm looking forward to more of this author's books.
Profile Image for Cheryl Olson.
224 reviews98 followers
November 8, 2011
Early on with my book reviewing I had to make a decision as to what criteria I would use with my marking system. I mean to be honest, there are so many great books out there by so many great authors that I could give everyone 5 stars and feel fine about it. But when I started to pay attention a bit more, I found that there were 2 things that really helped me pick out the 5 star books. The first was writing that truly transported me to that place created by the author that I just couldn’t wait to get back to so that I could see what those characters were up to and how everything works out. The second thing was even more impactful, that Christian fiction book that has the power to hit me right where I am and speak a word of truth in my life that actually make me take a look at myself and ask God to help me change something. Lynn Austin has consistently done that in all of the books that I have read by her and Wonderland Creek is no exception.

Wonderland Creek opens with young Alice Grace Ripley, a recently hired librarian from Blue Island Illinois, being unceremoniously dumped by her year- long boyfriend Gordon. I’m afraid that Alice was expecting a ring soon, not to be “let go”. And unfortunately, right after being “let go” by Gordon, she is “let go” by her job as well. This novel is set in 1936 so the library where she was working was going through tough times financially as the depression was affecting the whole country. (Sound familiar?) As a result, Alice is left wondering what to do with herself. From all of her extensive reading, Alice discovers that in the hills of Kentucky, they are in desperate need of books. She had already been heading up a book drive at her library for this need and since her aunt and uncle were heading to Kentucky , she decides to hitch a ride with them and deliver the books herself to a little town called Acorn , Kentucky. She arrives to this very rural, and rustic little town, if you blinked you would miss it, and marches right over to Leslie MacDougal’s house, the resident librarian with whom she had been corresponding about the need for the books. She rashly decided to come without waiting to see if she was invited, only to discover that “Leslie McDougal” is a “he”, not a “she”. She is left by her aunt and uncle in this little town for 2 weeks, but that 2 weeks gets extended as she needs to help out with various things such as being a packhorse librarian and traveling a route to the different families of Acorn (who happen to be incredibly divided over a 100 year long feud regarding buried treasure). She ends up in one scrape after another with having to learn how to exist with no electricity, learning to ride a horse, and oh yeah help with the staging of the fake death of the resident librarian Leslie MacDougal “Mac”. Life is not boring in Acorn, Kentucky.

The characters in this book are a pleasure to read. Alice has a lot of growing up to do in terms of engaging in life with others, more that keeping her nose stuck in a book. As she grows and matures and learns the joy of helping others, loving others, and truly living life with those around you, you can’t help but come to really love this character. Probably my favorite character is Lillie, a former slave, who really becomes a mentor to Alice, and needs to push Alice several times in her growing process, but her storyline is fascinating to read as it unfolds as well. Leslie MacDougal or “Mac” is also a lover of books as the local librarian, but has struck that right balance of reading great stories and living a great story. He is definitely a character that grows on you as well.
All I can say is it is no wonder that Lynn Austin has won 7 Christy Awards as she writes with truth, humor and a clear moral to love and engage with those that God has brought your way. I definitely recommend this book for those that love great historical fiction.

I was graciously provided a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House publishing in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.
Profile Image for Rebekah Brown.
136 reviews6 followers
August 12, 2018
Wonderland Creek is my first novel from Lynn Austin. If it's any hint of how I feel about Wonderland Creek, I am currently reading another novel from Lynn Austin right now. Austin is great at transporting her readers to the setting of the story, often a special time and place in US
history. I really enjoyed learning about the running of libraries during the early 1900’s and the women who would deliver books to their community. Imagine if we continued serving the community in this way today, how many lives could be impacted with a single book. Children whose parents do not value a trip to library, or a elder man or woman who cannot leave their home could be deeply impacted.

Alice (Allie) is character that thoroughly annoyed me to no end, but at the same time it’s hard not to like her. Alice’s character development throughout her stay in Wonderland Creek is wonderful to witness, as she begins the story as a self centered and somewhat ignorant woman. Even though I have a strong love for reading, I cannot imagine reading a book during someone’s funeral! Come to think of it, I feel the same way about most if not all of the characters in the novel. Ms. Lillie is a richly developed character, someone you would love to spend time story telling with. However, the lying and conniving behavior started to get under my skin quite a bit. As for Mack,I feel he was somewhat underdeveloped, especially when it came to his relationship with Allie. Why did they even like each other? I definitely never saw the connection or draw between the two. And the ending of how they ended up together...Let’s just say I was not convinced. The lack of romance and relationship development was a flaw in this story in my opinion.

All in all, I enjoyed Wonderland Creek. I am hoping that the next Austin novel I read also provides wonderful characters, but with more romance :)
Profile Image for Bekah.
Author 11 books24 followers
February 23, 2019
Wow, this book was a pure delight to read and SO bookish. It made my little reader heart happy. After hearing some excellent things about this book from some dear friends of mine, I decided to look it up and see if my library had it. It did and I quickly downloaded it to my Kindle and delved into the story.

What I Liked: All of the characters were so very enjoyable. This book seriously reminded me of the "Christy" TV episode series with Alice Grace, the main character, in the backwoods of Kentucky in a town called Acorn.

This book had so many twists and turns and at points you were loving the two secondary characters, Mac and Lillie, but at other times I sympathized with Alice Grace.

How Alice Grace lost herself time and time again in a story was hilarious to me and I found myself relating to her as an avid reader myself, but it was neat to see her grow throughout the book and be able to better distinguish between real life and fiction while still advocating for the importance of books.

Lynn Austin did an excellent job with her character development. I was able to see the ways in which Alice Grace was growing spiritually and in her ability to adjust to the rural atmosphere.

What I Didn't Like: There really wasn't anything that I really disliked about this book. In fact, it has become a favorite of 2019!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for an excellent book by this author. I look forward to reading more books by her. This story was a true delight to read.
Profile Image for Emilee.
461 reviews86 followers
July 19, 2016
This book was SO MUCH FUN to read! It totally kept my interest throughout the entire book. This book is fun, adventurous, compelling and sweet. It has interesting characters and did I say adventures? I enjoyed Alice's character, I could definitely relate to her. Miss Lillie's prayers and love potions made me smile.
I had read a book by Lynn Austin a couple of years ago that I didn't love and had just never pick up another by her. I decided to give this one a chance because of all the great reviews and I'm so glad I did.
Profile Image for Christy.
683 reviews
April 23, 2016
Alice is probably one of my favorite characters in fiction. I could almost see her making her way up the mountain delivering so much more than just books. My first and hopefully not my last Lynn Austin. I have to admit what made this one special to me was the love of books in this most interesting read.
January 13, 2020
OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK. I went into book hangover after I finished it. It's that good.

What I liked:

- Alice. I wanted to shake her in the beginning because she was such a huge brat, but her character arc was super fantastic. Especially how she learned to wean herself off of technology (BE STILL, MY OLD-FASHIONED HEART).
- MISS LILLIE. She's one of my favorite characters.
- The tasteful manner in which post-partum depression, family feuds, and other complex adult issues were handled.
- How Ike and Alice's relationship was handled. It really points out how physical stuff such as kissing can really skew judgment (nothing bad happens, I promise!).
- how the book shows a little known chapter in Depression history (packhorse librarians).


What I didn't like:

- I felt Mack kinda got the short end when it came to character development, especially in the romance department.
- Maggie....something about her arc's resolution seemed a little weak.


RW ratings:

Language: 5 stars.
Abuse: 4 stars. Family troubles, some "unmotherly" behaviors, and a whole lot of deceit going on.
Lust: 4 1/2 stars. A little kissy for my liking, but it was necessary I assure you. I don't normally say that, but that is a big lesson in this book and I absolutely respect the author for putting it in and doing it so tastefully.
Profile Image for MK ( MaKayla) ✨.
278 reviews99 followers
January 22, 2021
As usual words seem to fail me when I want to gush about how much I love a book . It's a whole lot of arm flailing , crying , and book hugging . This book will always dear to me . It pierced my soul in a way I was not expecting . It left me feeling convicted , like a dear friend had taken my hands and said " I love you which is why I tell you this ."

I think that almost any reader could read this and find Alice's character relatable . Alice is like many readers ( okkk like me 😂) who get so caught up in made up stories that she was not truly living her own . *Insert meme about how I'm in this picture and I don't like it *

One of my favorite scenes in the whole book was when Alice goes on a date in a meadow . So while I'm reading this all I could think of was when Anakin and Padme ( Star Wars ) went on a picnic in the meadow . So literally for the rest of the book I could only picture them looking like Anakin and Padme .😂😂

Anyways pardon my fangirl moment . 😂 This story was gorgeous and it couldn't read anything else for a while afterwards . * Book hangovers am I right * 🤦🥰
Profile Image for Elaina.
314 reviews172 followers
August 1, 2018
Loved certain aspects of this book...but the romance wasn't one of them 😕 The story was different than I was expecting though and I liked it. Lily was great! She had me laughing a lot 😂 I thought the end could have been a little bit better, but it was a nice read.
Profile Image for Amanda Tero.
Author 24 books522 followers
June 11, 2019
Yet another book recommended me for a more research-type read than just pleasure. But I did enjoy this one. I’ve come to admire Lynn Austin as a steady voice in historical fiction, weaving in true notes throughout her entire story.

Alice was an endearing—yet sometimes frustrating—character. She begins in the book as a pampered girl lost in the world of literature. As the book progresses, she comes to earth through some crazy situations that require more than the book knowledge she possesses.

The Wonderland Creek characters were very interesting. Everything I’ve researched with mountain folk sang strong in this book: suspicion of newcomers, family feuds, and illiteracy. Interestingly enough, this didn’t have quite the same voice as the other Lynn Austin books. Usually, hers are on the verge of too-detailed for me. Here, I didn’t catch long detailed descriptions. Instead, she wove in just hints of historical pieces through the story.

Romance was not the key issue in this book. Alice has a full-blown infatuated relationship with one young man with the “I must be in love” bitterly experiences. Several kisses are mentioned as well as her conscience keeping her from placing herself in a position of going “too far.” I didn’t particularly like the message portrayed at the end when Alice is talking with someone about “every time you fall in love” (as if it’s okay to give your heart to more than one guy).

Spiritually speaking, there was a steady thread. I didn’t find that Alice herself was that spiritually-minded, but she was coming from a background of pastor’s daughter who knew answers but not application. Lillie was pretty solid in her Biblical points—even though she was kind of a “woman preacher” who offered words at funerals.

It was an enjoyable read. If I’m being nit-picky, not my favorite historical fiction flow, but I did like it and would like to add this one to my personal bookshelf someday.
Profile Image for Carly.
275 reviews71 followers
October 19, 2011
Oh my goodness! Are Lynn Austin’s books all this good? I have never read any of her books before Wonderland Creek and I can’t help but wonder what I have been missing out on all this time. My interest in this book started simple enough. Alice Grace is a book lover, well, that’s putting it mildly. I knew Alice was a girl after my own heart on page 23: “The books were stiff and spotlessly clean, with that incomparable new-book fragrance. Is there anything like it in the whole world? I’ve been known to open new books and inhale the aroma like perfume.” That sounds just like me, so I knew I could relate to this character.

So, I got further into the story and found that she was spunky and quite funny. This book had me laughing so many times. I was not expecting that. Then, as the book moved along, the story kept building and it go more and more interesting. The characters in Acorn were, well, characters. Add in some mystery and some romance with these characters and Alice’s love of books and we have a book that I adored. I had no idea I was going to like this book so much because Lynn Austin’s stories have not appealed to me in the past, but I am thinking I need to reconsider that. I highly recommend Wonderland Creek. It is going on my 2011 favorites list for sure.
Profile Image for Alicia.
318 reviews67 followers
April 1, 2017
When city-girl Alice Grace (Allie) Ripley volunteers to deliver donated books to the rural town of Acorn, Kentucky, she is transported from her dream world in books to a real life adventure, complete with buried treasure, a fake funeral, night time sleuthing, horse-back riding and a 100 year old town healer named Miss Lillie. It was fun to read Allie's journey to finding the gumption and adventurous spirit she didn't know she had, and each character along the way made the story even better!

In my opinion, the first person point of view in this story was exceptionally executed. Seeing everything through Allie's eyes gave a bit more mystery to the other characters, and Allie's honest thoughts made her character makeover believable and genuine. I also loved the ending, though it took long enough for Allie and Mack to come to the conclusion that Miss Lillie knew long ago!

One of my favourites by Lynn Austin! A book that deserves several re-reads.
Profile Image for Sarita.
1,043 reviews624 followers
March 17, 2021
If it wasn’t for a planned group read, this book would probably not have been on my radar very soon. I’m very glad I decided to join in this group read - this was a fun, adventurous with some danger, story.

The main character had me laughing a few times with her innocent antics. There was a few times I actually thought it strange what she knew so little while she read so many books. There was so many characters to enjoy, Lilly, Ike and Mac to name a few.

The character growth Alice went through was really well written. And I enjoyed Lilly’s input in this journey.

The narrator played a big role in my enjoyment of this story.

Recommended to fans of Historical Fiction - especially where you want an enjoyable story which is a bit lighter on the romance.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
312 reviews150 followers
June 11, 2016
It was a fun book just the thing I wanted when I lay in a reading slump. It was all about a girl crazy about books. She reminded me of myself and that made it all the more interesting.Clean entertainment all the way .


Profile Image for Paula Vince.
Author 11 books97 followers
July 20, 2014
I knew I'd enjoy this book as I've read other Lynn Austin novels. Although not one of my favorites of hers, it was still a pretty good read. I loved the setting of the Depression era and learned a lot about keeping a good attitude and being thankful right along with the heroine, Alice. There was a bit of a mystery which kept me turning pages. I really wanted to know why she was being held against her will by two characters we were supposed to like.

One of my main gripes was that the demand of the plot forced Alice to act out of character at a crucial part. She'd been established as a timid, book-loving girl who hated to take risks. Therefore, I can't believe she would have leaped out of her comfort zone, getting herself involved with the strange population of Acorn in the first place, especially without a definite invitation.

Although I love the lessons we can learn from centenarians, I was too busy resenting Miss Lillie for being a know-it-all and a control freak for a good chunk of the book. I did warm to her later when I learned more about her personal story and why she acted the way she did. As far as romance goes, although I'm sure Alice ended up with the right man for her, I preferred another suitor all the way through. However, in spite of all this, many of the more minor characters stirred my heart so I have to say it's a book I think other readers would also enjoy.
Profile Image for Casey.
416 reviews105 followers
September 30, 2011
“Wonderland Creek” is one of those stories that I nearly laughed outright at the first chapter and found myself more than just a bit relating to the heroine of the novel, Alice Grace.

Alice has her nose stuck in a book and not a single thought planted in reality. She is one of those characters who has so far to grow and to grow up (ha!), but has a voice upon the page that drew me as a reader. And in many ways it was almost uncomfortable the similarities I found in her character and mine. (though I hope I don’t view all of life through a novel. ;-)

The novel is more romance than what I have read of Lynn Austin before and doesn’t have the deep plots she is known for, but the novel is still enjoyable. There is a complexity to the characters, especially the mountain people with their feuds and struggles.

The “murder” of Mack took several twists, but I’m not quite sure if I’m completely satisfied with the ending of it. I could have missed something along the way, which is tainting my view, but I thought it was closed up a bit too easily.

The close of the novel was completely sweet and wonderful. The journey Alice and Mack make through the story with the other characters give the novel such a mix of personality and made the book an enjoyable read.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through CFBA for my copy to review.
Profile Image for Elizabeth S.
89 reviews3 followers
December 17, 2012
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did but it was wonderful. In fact it was on the top ten book list of 2012. I started reading it in the middle of a hospital during my Grandma's hip replacement surgery. So it must be good to hold my interest through all that.
Allie is a super fun character because I identified with her love of books. She reminds me of Catherine in Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Lily is one cool Grandma and I must say I want to steal her.
Then there is the love story. Before I get all Twilight-esqu on you let me tell you the love story was somewhat unexpected but amazing. I just wish Austin hadn't wasted so many pages on the other guy.
The mystery part was fun in a Nancy Drew sort of way but it made me smile. There were a couple of parts which were really suspenseful but most of it was pretty cozy. The only thing I didn't like was that I felt the author excused wrongdoing on a certain character's part.
Then there is Mack. He is such a cool character because he is a geeky, bookish person with a penchant for getting himself into danger. I mean how many times do you see a librarian fake his own death.
Do yourself a favor and read this book. It will make you smile.
Profile Image for Mary Knipp.
42 reviews5 followers
April 6, 2021
The world is full of a lot of heavy things right now. Sometimes it's just great to get away with a good story. That's what this was. A great story. I listened to this book a lot while out walking and found myself smiling a lot while listening to the character development.
This was my first Lynn Austin book, but, Lord willing it won't be my last.
Profile Image for T. Rosado.
1,667 reviews41 followers
December 18, 2020

4.25 Stars

I really enjoy Depression Era historical fiction and interestingly, this is the second or third book I’ve read this year that focuses heavily on the Roosevelt Pack Horse Library Project. Albeit, this book was published in 2011 versus more recent releases.

Wonderland Creek is a women’s fiction type historical about a young woman leaving the confines of her protected city life and venturing out into the simple (in respect to modern conveniences) life of Appalachia to deliver books to the newly structured WPA. She then gets pulled into the lives and antics of it’s residents. Most prominently into the lives of Miss Lillie and Mack (the librarian.) Even though she’s the daughter of a minister, it’s Miss Lillie’s spiritual wisdom that truly impacts Alice’s self-centered personality and it's Mack who gets her to embrace adventure.

This book is full of surprising and fun characters along with story depth and a light and sweet romance. 100 year old Miss Lillie has the realistic attitude of a woman who’s seen it all and knows better than most. Alice was hard to swallow at first, but I believe she was realistically portrayed as a young sheltered 20-something who hasn’t worried for nothing. While holding onto some of her feisty and nosy ways, her indoctrination into Appalachian life realistically changed her focus on self. Overall, a very entertaining story with many nuggets of wisdom that I found myself pondering long after I closed the book.
Profile Image for Diana C. Kobylak.
347 reviews3 followers
March 22, 2021
Wonderful story about Alice, a bookworm librarian who is also preacher’s daughter. Her boyfriend Gordon breaks up with her because she lives life through her books. When she loses her job, she joins her aunt and uncle on a road trip. They drop her off in rural Kentucky for a prolonged stay. While there, she experiences a real adventure experiencing being an accomplice to an undead man, being a packhorse librarian, and sneaking into a mine twice as a spy. She is also responsible for helping settle a dispute between two rivaling families. This story was quite a humorous adventure narrated audibly by a realistic narrator.
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