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Wildwood Creek: A Novel

By Lisa Wingate


With love and loss tangled together, how was she to know where her life would lead?Allie Kirkland has always heard the call of her father's unfinished destiny. When she's offered a production assistant's job on a docudrama filming in the hills near Moses Lake, Texas, the dream of following in her director-father's footsteps suddenly seems within reach. The reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step into the film industry. A summer on set in the wilderness is a small price to pay for a dream. But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delavan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the region's folk songs. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned. When filming begins, strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, and everyone in Wildwood--including Blake Fulton, Allie's handsome neighbor on the film set--seems to be hiding secrets. Allie doesn't know whom she can trust. If she can't find the answers in time, history may repeat itself...with the most unthinkable results.

Book Takeaway:

Well, to begin with, that our journeys, struggles, and challenges are never without purpose. God places stones in our paths to teach us many things. From them, we learn to be watchful, to be resourceful, to be strong, to fall down and rise up again. There's no shame in suffering. The only real shame is suffering and not growing stronger from the experience.

There is also a theme of redemption and forgiveness in the story. Both Allie and Bonnie are suffering from the grief and shame of painful pasts. The inability to let go of the past, to trust God with the future has left both women unable to move forward, unable to feel worthy of love and a future. In Wildwood, God pushes both of them to break free of the boxes in which they have imprisoned themselves and find strength they never knew the possessed.

Why the author wrote this book:

I think we all have mysteries that linger in our family histories or in our hometowns. Those tales are told at family gatherings, in the corners of local cafés, and around cook fires at Scout campouts. It's impossible not to wonder, when hearing the retellings of things that have been passed down by word-of-mouth for generations, how much is true? What real events inspired this story? Was it only spun in the mind of some cowpoke looking to entertain along the trail or were there real people involved? Who were they? What happened to them? Would it ever be possible to investigate and find out the truth?

I think in some way, we're all captivated by the idea of finding an unexpected connection to history -- a hidden treasure in a family trunk, an old journal at an estate sale, a letter that has somehow traveled through time. Wildwood Creek is a tale about a thoroughly modern girl drawn into discovering the story, and clearing the name, of a woman who lived and died long before. Despite the century and a half that separates Allie Kirkland and Bonnie Rose, there are striking similarities between them, both physically and in terms of their struggles with life, faith, and trust. Though the trappings of civilization change as centuries pass, the human heart does not. Wildwood Creek is in some ways a story about two different time periods, but it's also a story about the things that are timeless and those are the things that matter most.


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