Outside Wonderland: Book summary and reviews of Outside Wonderland by Lorna Jane Cook

Outside Wonderland

A Novel

by Lorna Jane Cook

Outside Wonderland
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2011
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

A transcendent tour de force that explores the question "How will my loved ones carry on without me?"

When they were just children, two tragedies robbed Alice, Griffin, and Dinah Stenen of their parents. Now, as adults, their lives seem to be in crisis, each sibling struggling and in need of someone to turn to...

And without their parents' guidance - they falter.

But what they don't know is that their parents are watching them from a place not unlike heaven - worrying, smiling, reminiscing, and perhaps even guiding their children as each makes their tentative way towards happiness…

With Outside Wonderland, Lorna Jane Cooke delivers an emotional powerhouse of a novel, a wholly original work destined to stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

Publishing simultaneously in hardcover, paperback and ebook

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Although following three siblings with multiple relationships can get a little confusing, the characters are never less than engaging and appealing." - Booklist

"Overly sentimental, Cook's latest suffers from a number of flaws." - Publishers Weekly

"Lorna Cook has created a lovely heartfelt world where life often gets in the way of finding happiness. You will fall in love with these characters." - Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of Winter Garden

"From the very opening pages of Lorna Jane Cook's gorgeous Outside Wonderland, you realize two things: that you are in the hands of a strong, gifted writer, and that you should prepare yourself for anything to happen in this original, poetic, and riveting story. Those two realizations are affirmed again and again, even to the final page - which I hesitated to turn because I did not want this book to end." - Katrina Kittle, author of The Blessings of the Animals and The Kindness of Strangers

Read the prologue and first chapter

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Reader Reviews

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Kaye D. (Huntley, IL)

Left Me Wanting Move - Loved It!!!!
This was a wonderful book, I enjoyed reading every word. It followed the lives of three orphaned children and their relationships. Each one had been affected by the early deaths of their parents in different ways and this story followed each one of their relationships and how different each one of them were. A side story involved their deceased parents and their watching over their childrens' lives from heaven. I would highly recommend this book for anyone and think it would make for interesting conversations at a book club. I was sorry to see it end, I would have liked to keep reading about the lives of Alice, Dinah and Grif.

Jan B. (Aiken, SC)

Outside Wonderland
Author Lorna June Cook has a well crafted book that displays the endless love of parents for their children. She does a fine job of depicting the haunting loss young children feel throughout their lives after the tragic death of parents. The book also depicts the bond and support of siblings in troubled times. I liked the characters but wished I'd have known more about them. Overall, I thought this book was a wonderful and reassuring read.

Marta M. (Santa Ana, CA)

Wonderland of a read!
I really enjoyed this book. It was slow going at first but soon I found myself thinking about the characters and was excited to return to them. The characters were well written and made me smile and cry. Choices were made and consequences were paid but all the way through it they supported each other even when they were having a hard time themselves. I loved the fact that their parents were in heaven watching and hoping they would make the right decisions. It gave me hope and was a very encouraging novel. I think it would be a good novel for bookclubs and a fun one for mothers and daughters to read together.

Susan J. (Twain Harte, CA)

Wonderful Wonderland
I really enjoyed this well-written book. The three siblings have distinct, three-dimensional personalities, flawed yet sympathetic. I felt I came to know the characters well and was invested in their decisions. Plot twists keep it from being predictable. This story would make a great film. I was sorry to come to the end of the book and can't wait for the author's next novel.

Melissa K. (Oviedo, Florida)

A Compelling Read
I loved this book! It is beautifully written and I couldn't put it down until the end. Cook developed such believable characters, with realistic qualities. It was heartwarming at times, and heartbreaking at other times. A wonderful story was woven. I look forward to reading more from this author. I will definitely encourage my book club to read this book.

Kay B. (Lake Jackson, TX)

Outside Wonderland
I loved this book! Lorna Jane Cook writes about our earthly tragedies from an eternal perspective in a poignant yet matter-of-fact way. The settings provide interesting back ground and the characters realistically tug at your heartstrings. The author's descriptions draw in the reader such as when her character, Alice, becomes enchanted with the child, Adam, and says "she felt herself slipping into the skin of the three-year-old". The story is well-written, fun, and easy to read and you will be sad for it to end.

...40 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

Lorna Jane Cook was born in Redwood City, California, and grew up in Michigan. She graduated from college with a B.A. in social work, and embarked on a career path from Michigan to Philadelphia and Washington D.C., working at a runaway shelter; a group home for teenage girls; an emergency services program; and on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant. Finally, she turned to novel-writing, an obvious trajectory. More about the author and her two previous books, Departures and Home Away From Home can be found at www.lornajcook.com.

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