Title: The Road to Paradise (Vintage National Parks #1)
Author: Karen Barnett
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Length: 344 Pages
About the Book:
An ideal sanctuary and a dream come true–that’s what Margaret Lane feels as she takes in God’s gorgeous handiwork in Mount Rainier National Park. It’s 1927 and the National Park Service is in its youth when Margie, an avid naturalist, lands a coveted position alongside the park rangers living and working in the unrivaled splendor of Mount Rainier’s long shadow.
But Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is still haunted by his father’s death on the mountain, and the ranger takes his work managing the park and its crowd of visitors seriously. The job of watching over an idealistic senator’s daughter with few practical survival skills seems a waste of resources.
When Margie’s former fiancé sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, the plans might put more than the park’s pristine beauty in danger. What will Margie and Ford sacrifice to preserve the splendor and simplicity of the wilderness they both love?
Karen Barnett’s vintage national parks novels bring to vivid life President Theodore Roosevelt’s vision for protected lands, when he wrote in Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter: “There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.”
I have heard wonderful things about Karen Barnett’s writing and purchased a copy of this one back when I was at FRS last year, but sadly it took me until just now to finally get to read it. Wow! What a fantastic story! I must now go out and get her others (well… once we’re allowed to go back out INTO the world).
This was the perfect camp read. I could picture myself laying in a hammock, hearing the birds chirp while watching the squirrels scurry about. Yes, there was plenty of action and intrigue to keep the pages turning, but I also loved the moments where the author took the time to appreciate God’s creation through the awed eyes of the characters. I confess I am not a good camper. I like my bed and private bathroom. BUT I like to go for walks on nature trails–and when I used to live a short walk from one, I enjoyed finding a quiet place there for devos. There is something unexplainable about the closeness with God one feels when standing in the middle of woods along a gentle stream. It’s no wonder the setting in this novel had me fully captivated and wanting more.
I also adored the characters and their arcs in this one. Margie came from wealth and prestige, yet it was obvious that her heart was in the national park. I could relate to her fear of heights though, which made a few scenes rather relatable even as they were comical. Ford was understandably skeptical of her in the beginning, but he still treated her with respect and was willing to change his mind about her. He also had a lot that he was dealing with internally but it made him a stronger person in the end.
I don’t even have all the words to say how much I adored this novel. I can’t wait to read the other ones in this series! Historical Fiction fans and those who love the great outdoors–you need to read this one too!