Plot Summary: Allie Kirkland is an aspiring film student working on the set of a reality tv show. The series, documenting the historical mining town of Wildwood Creek, stars contemporary people living as the pioneers would have in 1800’s Texas. But there’s a mystery surrounding the place: All of the people of the town disappeared over a hundred years ago, and historians have never been able to solve the eerie puzzle since. What happened so long ago? Will the same thing happen again? And what is the mystery concerning the historical character of Bonnie Rose?
My Book Review: Wildwood Creek is the fourth in the “Moses Lake” Series by Lisa Wingate, but the first I’ve read by this author. I am under the impression that these books do stand alone, but some of the characters reappear in some of the same books.
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It was one good piece of storytelling! The story skips back and forth between the present day (from Allie’s POV) to 1800’s Texas (Bonnie Rose’s viewpoint). This kept the suspense throughout the book and consequently kept my interest. I love books that slowly divulge secrets throughout, while somehow still spinning more mysteries. The suspense also gave me some anxiety, and having my emotions invested in a story is a good thing!
The writing felt solid, the chapters weren’t too long, and I enjoyed the character of Allie. Although there is some romance included, the novel really wasn’t about that aspect of it and I’m not really sure I would qualify it under the romance genre. I could identify with her in that she has lived her life for a long time expecting things to always be hard, difficult, and miserable. But something changes her perspective throughout the course of the book and she begins to realize that she can embrace all of life, both good and bad. She opens herself up to life as a whole as a result.
There were a few nitpicky things I felt didn’t benefit the story. In some ways I felt that things dragged on too long in the present day setting. The character of Bonnie Rose, though I sympathized with her, started to become redundant with her narrative. Some extra characters didn’t really feel like they had anything to do with the plot and probably weren’t necessary. I still had unanswered questions after finishing the book, such as SPOILER ALERT: Why did Allie look like Bonnie Rose? Why did the mysterious director want her to play the schoolteacher? Did he have inside information that no one else did, and if so, what? END OF SPOILER.
A couple of surprising plot twists keep things even more interesting near the end so I never got bored. I really liked how the author didn’t end things exactly how one would expect in a typical romance, SPOILER with Bonnie marrying another man for a number of years, instead of the handsome captain. But that she was happy and learned to love him despite him never being her first love. END OF SPOILER. Another aspect I really enjoyed was the epilogue, in which Allie listens to an early historical recording of one of the characters who survived Wildwood Creek. It somehow added a feeling of history to an entirely pure work of fiction.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone, and I hope I’ve peaked your interest. Those who loathe preachy novels will appreciate that this isn’t one of them. I’m planning on reading other stuff from Lisa Wingate in the future!