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