A Vintage National Parks Novel series / by Karen Barnett. 10.26.2018

The Road to Paradise / by Karen Barnett. (A Vintage National Parks Novel, Book 1)

Waterbrook ISBN 9780735289543

Where the Fire Falls / by Karen Barnett. (A Vintage National Parks Novel, Book 2)

Waterbrook ISBN 9780735289567

Adult Rating: 5

Margie Lane, senator’s daughter, wants nothing more than to shirk the bustle and expectations of high society to live a Walden-esque life in The Road to Paradise. Her opportunity to do so has come in the form of a job at Mount Rainier National Park, much to the dismay of Chief Ranger Ford Brayden, who has been put in charge of her duties there. The two share a love of the mountain, but forces are at play that could strip the wilderness of its wild wonders–and Margie is saddled with the responsibility to save Mt. Rainier. She’s not sure if she can, but she is willing to die trying.

Olivia Rutherford does everything she can to distance herself from her father’s history in Where the Fire Falls. A talented artist, Olivia accepts the guidance of her art dealer on everything from how to dress and wear her hair to friend choices to accepting an assignment–in Yosemite. Due to its connections with her father and his past, the last place Olivia wants to go is Yosemite. And due to her appearance as a flapper and the wealthy socialites accompanying her, Clark Johnson, handsome park guide and former pastor, does not want to lead the trio through the park. Olivia and Clark will only have a chance at life and love if they learn that not all is as it seems.

Karen Barnett’s writing offers readers an escape to the great outdoors just prior to the Great Depression. The setting of both books is vital to the story line–in both books the characters need to overcome a fear of some kind related to the park or wilderness. The descriptions aid in creating a book vacation to the great outdoors, but do not slow the pacing of the plot. Also, the characters’ sensibilities are shaped by the time in which the books are set. Filled with romance and adventure and a bit of mystery, the plots of both books move quickly. While both books are enjoyable reads, they both deal with some weightier matters through which the characters must work. Both books offer readers a chance to walk with the characters as they overcome fear, learn to accept and rely on Jesus, and learn to accept grace.

“Dis-grace is a human term, Clark. God invented grace. No one can take it from you.” (Where the Fire Falls, p. 333)

Kristina Wolcott, CLJ