Book Review: The Road to Paradise

22 Jun

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.”


Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of The Golden Gate Chronicles (Out of the Ruins, Beyond the Ashes, and Through the Shadows) and Mistaken. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and three mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her family through dusty history museums. Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) honored her with the Writer of Promise Award in 2013 and a Cascade Award for her debut novel, Mistaken, in 2014. In 2016, she was named Writer of the Year by the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Karen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) and has been published in Guideposts.


My Impressions:

Karen Barnett has a winner on her hands! The first book in her Vintage National Parks series, The Road to Paradise, has everything — history, romance, adventure, and the majestic beauty of an American jewel. Great wiring and endearing characters kept the pages turning for this reader. Perfect for your summer reading, I give The Road to Paradise a highly recommended rating!

Many may believe Margie Lane is only the pampered daughter of a US Senator, but she is determined to live her dream — living and working surrounded by God’s creation as a part of the National Parks Service. And many have their doubts, especially Chief Ranger Ford Brayden. While Margie sees the wilderness as a place of healing and refuge, Ford knows the danger that lurks beneath the beauty. As they spend more time together, will their differences divide or compliment each other?

The Road to Paradise is set in the early days of the National Parks Service. Tension between commercial development and conservation was as real then as it is now. I loved that Barnett emphasized the early work of rangers and naturalists who made sure that future generations of Americans could experience the wilds of our nation. Mt. Rainer National Park, the setting of the novel, becomes almost a character in itself. It is a prominent part of the book, with its history and majesty fully developed. Barnett also does a great job of making her main human characters real and relatable. The earnest Margie and the dedicated Ford are characters I came to love. She also includes a bad guy you’ll love to hate! LOL! There is plenty of chemistry between the characters that will appeal to the romance fan. As they traverse the park, adventure, challenges, and danger abound making this novel a page-turner. Historical details are seamlessly woven throughout the narrative, allowing the reader to experience the rustic life at the park in the 1920s. Barnett includes a spiritual thread that is meaningful without being preachy.

The Road to Paradise is the perfect book to take along on your own road trip this summer. And I am anxiously anticipating the next installment in this series.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


One Response to “Book Review: The Road to Paradise”


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