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Wonderland Creek

Wonderland Creek

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An excerpt from Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin, published by Bethany House Publishers.

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.

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.
An excerpt from Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin, published by Bethany House Publishers.

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.

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.

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Published by: Bethany House Publishers on Aug 25, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/27/2011

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7
Chapter 
1
Blue Island, Illinois
1936
I
 my lie 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 perectly content with my lie—that is, until the pages o my
story were ripped out beore I had a chance to live happily ever ater.The end came, appropriately enough, at a uneral. Not my own
uneral—I’m only twenty-two years old—but Elmer Watson’s u-neral. He was a kindly old gentleman who patronized the public
library here in Blue Island, Illinois, where I have worked as a librar-
ian or the past year and a hal. I knew Mr. Watson—or I suppose
it would be more accurate to say that I knew his taste in books
and magazines—and I thought very highly o him because o hisreading preerences.When I heard that his uneral would be held that day, I walkedto the uneral parlor ater work and took a seat in the back row by
mysel. My ather, Reverend Horace Ripley, conducted the service.But rst an entire host o Mr. Watson’s boring relatives—long-lost
cousins, sons, nephews, and in-laws—decided to get up and tell
long-winded stories about how Elmer had once walked to the store
 
Wonderland Creek
8
with them, or bought a horse rom them, or some such inane piece
o history. None o these people could tell a decent story to savehis lie. I wasn’t the only one in the audience who was yawning.As the dreary eulogies dragged on and on, I pulled a book rom
my bag and began to read. I thought I was being quite subtle about
it, glancing up every now and then, and nodding in sympathy asanother one oMr. Watson’s ne character traits was eulogized. Icould have added that he always returned his books to the libraryon time, but why prolong the service?
That’s when my boyriend, Gordon T. Walters, son and grandson
o the uneral directors, tiptoed up behind me and slipped into the
chair beside mine. I quickly nished reading the paragraph and
stuck a bookmark in place beore closing the book.I expected Gordon to reach or my hand, but he didn’t. He satso stiy beside me, all buttoned up in his dour black suit, that he
might have been a corpse like poor Mr. Watson. I looked up at
Gordon and smiled, but he gave me a unereal rown and shook his
head. I hadn’t realized that he knew Elmer Watson, but why else
would he act so somber? When the service nally ended and we
stepped outside through a side door, away rom the other mourn-ers, I discovered the reason.
“You were reading a
book
during a
funeral
?” he asked as i 
horried. “Alice, how could you?”“Well . . . it was a very good book,” I said with a little shrug.“I couldn’t help mysel. I needed to nd out what happened to theheroine.”“What dierence does it make what happens in a stupid book?It isn’t real. It’s a made-up story. But a uneral, Alice—a uneral is
real lie!” He was gesturing wildly, as i unable to convey his outrage
with mere words. I reached or his hand, but he wouldn’t let metake it. We stood in a beam o weak February sunlight outside the
uneral parlor where Gordon lived and worked, and we were an
oddly mismatched couple—Gordon tall and dark-haired, mysel,short and blond. Patches o snow dotted the grass and lay in dirty
mounds around the parking lot as black-clothed mourners climbed
into their cars or the trip to the cemetery. Mr. Walters sometimes
needed Gordon to drive the hearse, but not today. Most othe

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