The Road to Paradise
by Karen Barnett
From the back cover:
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 an award-winning author of four novels who draws on her firsthand experience as a naturalist, former park ranger, and outdoor educator to transport readers to America’s national parks. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children.
Growing up in the Northwest gave me a great love for majestic mountains and the wilderness surrounding them. Perhaps that was the greatest draw to The Road to Paradise, the first of Karen Barnett’s books that I have read.
Whether you have been there in real life or not, The Road to Paradise will transport you to Mount Rainier National Park and all the wonder to be found there. You’ll find yourself joining ranks with Margie and the park rangers in their quest to protect the mountain and park they love so dearly.
Not only does the setting draw you in, but the characters are well developed, including sweet secondary characters. And the villain… Ugh. I’m not sure I fully understand the idea of loving to hate the antagonist, but perhaps that would apply here. He is one messed-up dude!
The Road to Paradise is an amazing story of the majesty of God’s handiwork, both in nature and in our own lives. Truths of human nature and God’s strength undergird the story with a message that you’ll likely ponder a while. I can’t wait to read the next one!
(I received a complimentary copy of this novel. The thoughts expressed here are entirely my own.)