I read the first book of The Refiner’s Fire series by Lynn Austin in four hours.  In the bath tub.  I literally sat in the bath for four hours reading Candle in the Darkness.  Pruny and mentally exhausted when I finished it, I slept for six hours then got myself up to trek to the library to see if they had Fire by Night.  Fortunately for me (unfortunately for my husband who I neglected and my students whose papers remained ungraded), the library had it and I dove into another four hour journey to another world.

So, all that said, I began Lynn Austin’s latest, Wonderland Creek, with high expectations.  I was not to be disappointed.

First thing, when I read the back cover to my husband, he shook his head and said, “Wow, Jess, I think that book may just be about you.”  I felt such a connection with Alice (and sadly, her crazy inability to put down books in the most inappropriate places…funeral for her, work for me :)).  Second thing, I loved this story.  It was exciting.  It was funny.  It was heart-breaking.  It was shocking.  It was inspiring.  It was just plain old good fiction.

The relationship between Alice and Mack made for a fun read, and I loved Lillie’s role in the novel.  I felt like a sleuth as I read and tried to figure out the mystery of Mack’s “murder” and the treasure.  So fun.

I felt like Austin wrote Wonderland Creek just for me.  Why?  Because through a novel, I was able to learn the lesson of the joy that can be found when you put a book down and live life.  Alice is thrown into a mystery and a challenging new existence (and believe me, I would NOT do the horseback riding as she did!) and she learns how to live it, not simply avoid it by sticking her head in a book.

This was a great reminder to me, and I’m thankful for the great story, strong writing, and reminder.  Also, thanks, Bethany House, for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.  It was a joy!

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