By Lynn Austin
Bethany House, 390 pages, $14.99
Wonderland Creek, a highly-anticipated novel from Lynn Austin, focuses on the adventures of a librarian during the Great Depression. After losing her beloved job at the library where avid reader Alice Grace Ripley is comfortably surrounded by books, and getting dumped by her boyfriend, she must create a change of scenery in her life. Ripley takes donated books from the library across the country to rural Kentucky. Along the way, she discovers her previous life was merely the prologue to a story in which she is the heroine, adventurer and romantic.
Even the basic summary of Wonderland Creek draws in those who love books. The idea of traveling through history with a librarian is exciting. However, Lynn Austin shows readers throughout the 400 pages of her newest novel that poorly written characters and dialogue can ruin any of the best-laid plans.
Basic steps with creative writing demand creative minds to show, not tell. Austin frequently lays out character traits with simple sentences and long, unnecessary explanations. Historical inaccuracies added a little too much fiction to the historical fiction novel. Language and even social attitudes were inconsistent with the time and became distracting throughout the book. Ultimately, Austin’s editor could have done well to use the dreaded red pen more often and given stronger constructive criticism.
Reviewed by Sophie Sestero