Ever Faithful, by Karen Barnett

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more–and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.

Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

The Formal Stuff: Thank you to Waterbrook Press for my complimentary Uncorrected Proof of Ever Faithful.

First Thoughts:

I am delighted to be selected as a reviewer for Waterbrook & Multnomah’s Summer Launch. I’ve read the previous two Vintage National Parks novels and I also have an interest in the Civilian Conservation Corps. Continue reading

Where the Fire Falls, by Karen Barnett

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford has shed her humble beginnings to fashion her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine, including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty. 

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling? 

As Clark opens Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas–a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.

First Thoughts:

This is the second of Barnett’s Vintage National Parks series. I enjoyed the first in the series, and I love the covers. Continue reading

The Road to Paradise, by Karen Barnett

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

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.”

First Thoughts:

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.

My Take:

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

Read more on:   Karen Barnett’s Website   WaterBrook’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com