Book Review: Where The Fire Falls

7 Jun

Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”

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.

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 and other national magazines.


My Impressions:

My happy place is a cabin nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While it doesn’t match the majestic peaks found out west, my views are still awe-inspiring. There is just something about the mountains! That’s one of the reasons I like Karen Barnett’s Vintage National Parks series — she brings to life the early days of the National Parks and the beauty of God’s handiwork. In her latest book, Where The Fire Falls, readers travel to Yosemite circa 1929. This well-researched novel explores the wonders of Yosemite while capturing the era so well. This one is another recommended read!

Artist Olivia Rutherford has remade herself. The packaging matches what she thinks art collectors want — a sophisticated flapper. But Olivia has a past that she tries to run from all the while being held captive by devastating secrets. When offered a prestigious job painting scenes of Yosemite, she wavers, but how can she give up the lure of fame and fortune?

As I stated above, I loved the setting of Where The Fire Falls. It was such a treat to visit the hotels, camps, and join in on the entertainments that have long passed away. Of course, the beauty of the national park remains today, but barring a bucket list trip, I will have to be content to enjoy it through the author’s detailed descriptions. The characters of Olivia and Clark are wonderfully written. The two main characters have complex spiritual journeys that readers can identify with — both feel a weight of judgment from their past experiences. Supporting characters add depth to the story. Mystery, peril, and romance in store for Olivia and Clark keep the pages turning. There is really something for everyone in this story!

Although part of a series, Where The Fire Falls can be read as a standalone. But when you are finished with this one, you’ll want to head over to Mt. Ranier and The Road to Paradise for more adventure and romance! I can’t wait for more from Barnett!


Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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


2 Responses to “Book Review: Where The Fire Falls”

  1. Mary June 7, 2018 at 8:37 am #

    Can’t wait to read this. It sounds so good!

    • rbclibrary June 7, 2018 at 2:41 pm #

      Hope you enjoy it!

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