Review: Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate
Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: February 4, 2014

From the back cover:

Allie Kirkland has never been one to take wild risks. But when she’s offered a costuming assistant’s job on a docudrama in the hills near Moses Lake, she jumps at the chance. She’s always dreamed of following in her director-father’s footsteps, and the reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step. The family expectations will have to wait.

But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delevan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the folk songs of Chinquapin Peaks. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned.

When strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, everyone in Wildwood, including Allie’s handsome neighbor on the film set, Blake Fulton, seems to be hiding secrets, and Allie doesn’t know who she can trust. If she can’t find the answers in time, history may repeat itself . . . with the most unthinkable results.

I remember reading one Lisa Wingate book years ago and while I liked it, it wasn’t all that memorable. (Case in point, I can’t even remember which book it was.) However, the synopsis for WILDWOOD CREEK sounded intriguing and mysterious, so I decided to give her novels another try.

All Allie Kirkland has ever wanted is to follow in her father’s film-making footsteps, but her mother and step-father’s repeated attempts to brand her as a failure have left her feeling hollow and unsure of her future. Landing a job on a super-secretive docudrama out in the middle of nowhere seems like an answer to prayer — a way to save the money she needs for her tuition while getting her foot in the door in the world of film. But nothing is as it seems in Moses Lake and Allie is drawn into a past she can’t shake. As past and present weave together, Allie must discover God’s plan in her life and trust in who He has made her to be.

With WILDWOOD CREEK, Lisa Wingate has penned an engrossing dual point-of-view tale. Rich characters and an eerie history compliment each other beautifully to make for a unique page turner. Though the elements of romance are light and the Christian message super subtle, WILDWOOD CREEK manages to be both uplifting and sweetly romantic while still maintaining the mystery at the forefront.

Lisa Wingate weaves Bonnie Rose’s and Allie’s stories together so seamlessly and brilliantly that you can’t help wanting to know more, and if I found one downfall of the story, this is it. Because Ms. Wingate makes each point of view so interesting, there’s almost enough story for two separate books, and I found myself really wanting more of Bonnie Rose’s side of the tale. I was left with so many unanswered questions, and maybe that was the way the author intended it, but I’m a demanding reader and wanted those questions answered!

Still, I’m extremely glad I gave Lisa Wingate’s books another try. This one was a winner and although it is listed as the fourth book in the series, it is entirely stand alone.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
-Jeremiah 29:11


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