The Secret Place of Thunder || The Librarians of Willow Hollow Book #4 || Book Review and Author Interview
And now, it is time for the fourth and final review in The Librarians of Willow Hollow Series! This has been a lovely journey, but it has come to a satisfying end. I am participating in Mrs. Ruggieri’s blog tour, so be sure and visit her site for more book release fun!
The Secret Place of Thunder
By Alicia G. Ruggieri
Librarians of Willow Hollow Book #4
Series Rating || 4 Stars || Solo Rating || 4 Stars
|| Amazon || Author’s Site ||
About the Book ||
The mountains have imprisoned her long enough...
Edna Sue O’Connell came back to the Kentucky hills out of duty and can’t wait for the chance to escape again. Her work as a horseback librarian in rural Appalachia provides enough income for her invalid father to survive in the midst of the Great Depression, but it affords her with little else.
When an opportunity arises for Edna to take on an additional book delivery area, she spies a glimmer of hope that she might find a way out of Willow Hollow after all… and that she might actually make something of her life apart from the tragedy that has filled it thus far.
But the new routes give Edna more than she ever bargained for. Slowly, she finds that the mountains contain many valuable secrets – if she has the grit to meet them.
The Secret Place of Thunder is part of the Librarians of Willow Hollow multi-author novella collection. Each novella stands on its own but is connected to the others in this historical Christian fiction series set in 1930s Appalachia.
About the Author ||
Alicia G. Ruggieri grew up breathing in the salty air of coastal New England. She now writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction from her home in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and sweet second-hand mutt. She loves old graveyards, dusty libraries, and excellent cannolis ~ not necessarily in that order.
My Review ||
Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of this book from the author for Review purposes. All thoughts are my own.
This was another new to me author and I am so glad to have been introduced to her! Her style was lovely and realistic, very mountany and 1930s! I loved getting to know Edna Sue and even though I disagreed with her on almost everything, she was still easy to feel sorry for, though I wanted to wring her neck a few times 😊
I am not sure if Edna Sue was supposed to be severely backslidden or lost, and if the former, I am not at all sure she got saved. It was all rather vague. I also didn’t appreciate the fact that the author never insinuated that her wearing pants was wrong. I understand that she was not right with God, but there wasn’t a godly influence asserting that this was against the Bible. I also didn’t approve of a saved man, supposedly close to God, pursuing a girl that at best is grossly out of God’s will. Thankfully, the romance was only apparent in the last half of the book and went no farther than hand hold, though it was still wrong. I also don’t agree with Christians isolating them away from fellow Christians. I understand the character was grieving, but the Bible clearly states that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together with fellow believers.
Seeing the book of Job play out in this story was sad and eye opening. Because of material in the story, nothing lingered over, just tactfully mentioned, I would recommend this for ages 18+ or 16+ if mature.
And now we have an interview with the author!
1| What inspired your librarian story?
Often with me, the story begins with a little nugget, and then the title comes to mind, and God guides it onward from there! With The Secret Place of Thunder, it all began with the premise: "What if the Book of Job was set in the Appalachians?"
2| Do you feel like you relate to Edna at all?
In a bunch of ways, yes. It's hard for me to write a main character with whom I can't relate in some significant way because it's difficult for me to understand what makes them tick. Edna's feeling of despair in the face of extreme, seemingly-unending difficulty resonates with me. By God's grace, "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay." But the path to that "hope and stay" in Him can still be dark. On a lighter note :-) - I also relate to Edna's frustration at the mountain people's lack of interest in books. Whenever I encounter that kind of apathy toward good reading material, it bothers me because I know what treasures people would find in some books if they would read them.
3| What was your favorite part of writing this story?
I really enjoyed introducing the "mysterious mountain man" and the variety of the mountain people. I enjoyed learning more about Appalachian culture, and - early on - I loved the short trip I took down to the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky to see the area in which this novella is set.
4| Do you have any writing advice for Young Writers you would like to share?
Read solid, classic books - a lot of them. Re-read them. It saddens me how a lot of the really good books from the past have been pushed aside in favor of more contemporary reads. Authors like Dickens, MacDonald, the Brontes, Elliot, and others have so much to teach us about good writing!
5| Any advice for those interested in writing a collaborated series?
Communicate as much as possible so that everything is very clear at every stage regarding who is responsible for what, etc. Also, keep in mind that group projects mean a lot of give-and-take and being open to new and different ideas than you might be used to. Collaborated series can be a lot of fun - and what a wonderful result they can produce - but they are also a lot of work, and it's a good idea to "count the costs" before you start or join one.
That's all for now! God Bless!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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