Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review: Lisa Wingate's Wildwood Creek

I was unaware that this book was the same as Firefly Island, as they both run in the same series. I really did not enjoy reading Firefly Island. This book may have a tad bit better of a lead character, but the story is even more boring. The story does something trendy that has been happening in romance novels of late. It's been flashing back in the past, and then flashing forward in the future by showing how the town was in the past, and how it's being inhabited now.

Summary: Allie Kirkland is aspiring to follow in her family footsteps and wanting to work in the movie industry. Now she has been offered the chance to do costumes for a documentary drama that is filming about Wildwood Creek in the 1800's as the unexplored mystery of the disappearance of the town's inhabitants is being looked into. Mr. Delvan was essentially the leader of the town then, but the person who is blamed for what happened is a woman named Bonnie. When connections between Allie and Bonnie are revealed she becomes further curious, and even more cautious of current people residing there during filming like Blake.

Characters: I don't want to bash books like this, and honestly I would love to find one I enjoy. While the story has potential the characters are just flat. I couldn't place a distinct personality, and even more so with this one. There was so much placement on making the story spooky and a mystery that it forgets the characters completely. Allie is just a tool to reach into the past to Bonnie, and Bonnie's story feels like it reaches nowhere. Then there are other smaller characters like Maggie Grace, Bonnie's sister, and multiple love interest that get lost like a captain and the future Blake. Everyone feels so undefined that when they do show up they aren't very interesting to read.

Writing: The positive is that unlike Firefly Island, the story seems a tad less emotion driven. There isn't a ton of time over spent on going over obvious things the reader could pick up on dialogue or the reader just going over a lot of pointless questions. For some reason though the writing never connects me with the characters either though. There are rare moments that they have where I feel like they do.

Plot: I guess another huge problem I always encounter with these books, that resonates in this one as well is how unrealistic they are. I can understand why people like them. They have enough problems to give the characters a dilemma, that seems fun to read. Like with this one Allie is letting the paranoia of the past and the rumors of the town being cursed haunt her own future there, but the threat could be more real than she thinks beyond what the story is. Then there is the past with Bonnie that shows a woman who has an entire life that has been misread by the present, and sadly she's been turned into a bad guy by the stories. It has a lot of interesting conflicts happening. The fact that these characters never interact like anyone I know takes me away from being interested in the story though. While working on a film set in close proximity everyone is having very chaste romances, and the biggest actor problems are just spoiled child actors. In the film world I assume a person of faith would have a lot more conflicts going on including the clash of faith and those in the film industry who usually are a lot different than what a Christian lifestyle might practice.

Wildwood Creek provides a safe and suspenseful read for those who enjoy this genre and for those who have been following the Moses Lake series. It's got a lot of stronger attributes than Firefly Island, but the story tries to do so much that it becomes lost. I never knew the pattern of the story, and sometimes I would be bored that I lost trying to keep up.

This book was provided by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review.

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