This enchanting story begins in 1936 Blue Island, Illinois, when readers meet dreamy Alice Ripley, who spends her life inside books and whose one ambition in life is to collect used books for a small Kentucky mining town hard hit by the Depression. As the piles of donated books gets higher, so do Alice’s troubles. She loses both her library job and boyfriend in one day. Desperate to escape gossip, she decides to hand-deliver the books to the Kentucky librarian, Leslie.
Upon arrival, Alice shockingly discovers that the town has no electricity, running water, or even a functioning library. Even worse, Leslie turns out to be a brusque, unfriendly man who desperately needs help. Alice reluctantly plunges into a real-life adventure, including attempted murder, packhorse book deliveries, solving a mystery, and finding love and purpose in her life.
As with all Austin’s novels, I was immediately engrossed in Wonderland Creek, its people, and Alice’s plights. The whole town came alive as Alice met and interacted with its inhabitants. Alice’s evolution from a clueless librarian to a caring, deeply changed woman was fascinating, and I especially appreciated the slowly budding romance. Lynn Austin once again enthralls and delights.