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.”
This is the first in a new historical series set around America’s national parks. I love the cover style, representative of the era in which the book is set.
In 1927, most women of a certain status are concerned with parties, clothes, and finding a suitable husband, but not Margie Lane. This senator’s daughter has long-harbored aspirations of living and working in Mount Rainier National Park. Her dream come true becomes hard reality when she can’t light a fire in her drafty cabin and comes face to face with some of the local wildlife.
Former park ranger Karen Barnett draws in readers from the very first line. Her personal knowledge of Mount Rainier National Park shines through in the beautifully detailed descriptions of locations within the federal property. Tidbits of information about Margie and Ford’s pasts are gradually revealed, leaving the reader wanting to know more with each turn of the page. Each character experiences periods as a ‘fish out of water’ as they spend time in both the city and the wilderness. Some of the book’s pivotal scenes take place toward the end on Mount Rainier itself, as Margie and Ford let go of the past in order to have a future. I thought these were the best parts of the book and found myself staying up late to finish it because of them.
The Road to Paradise (an actual location within Mount Rainier National Park) is billed as the first in a series of “Vintage National Parks” novels. Neither Barnett’s nor her publisher’s website has any additional information. As someone who loves our national parks (I even have the NPS Passport for recording visits), I’m looking forward to seeing which location is the subject of the next book in the series.
Thank you to WaterBrook and Blogging for Books for my complimentary copy of The Road to Paradise, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read The Road to Paradise? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: WaterBrook (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
Publication Date: 06 June 2017
Page Count: 352