Continuing with the Alphabet Challenge, I decided to tackle the letter “K” by reading Carla Kelly’s Courting Carrie in Wonderland.
Despite Carla Kelly being a well-regarded writer and my having a handful of her novels, this is only the second time I’ve read her and I’m glad I did. Wonderland is a unique and well-written book. It’s set in Yellowstone National Park in 1903. The hero is a Sergeant Major who heroically served in the Philippines and who was now serving as one of the Army’s caretakers of the National Park, which was overseen by the U.S. Army before the Park Service was established. The heroine is a young woman who spends summers working in the park in order to earn money to complete her college education. From very humble beginnings, including working in the kitchens of a hotel, our heroine, Carrie, meets the Sergeant Major and they are immediately smitten. Even though they recognize their feelings almost instantaneously, a few obstacles stand between them. I won’t go any further. You can read the AAR “A-“ review of the book here:
Although I really can’t argue with the review entirely, I would take my own grade of the book down a peg or two. One of the reasons is purely selfish. Although it probably would’ve affected the price point of the book, I would’ve loved if this novel had included illustrations, maps, photos, prints or whatever Kelly could get to show us the various landmarks in the Park she referenced in her story, as well as the paintings of the artist Tom Moran which she also mentions. This is probably a compliment to the author, but I spent time googling various landmarks and other Yellowstone developments that, I think, would have made this book stellar if illustrations had also been included. Secondly, I have to tell you — despite the story having your expected HEA — I was disheartened by the form the HEA took. Not to spoil anything, but the heroine had some things going on in her life, unrelated to the hero, and I guess those things just weren’t important enough to be a part of her happiness. I was really disappointed in that. Anyway, I’ll give this book a “B,” maybe a “B+”.
The Cocktail Challenge – 8 down, 2 to go.
Alphabet Challenge – 9 down, 1 to go. (A, B, C, G, H, J, K, M, & Q)