Historical Fiction Book Review: The Road to Paradise

Publisher's Description:

"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.'"

My Review:

The experience of reading the historical fiction novel, The Road to Paradise, by Karen Barnett, was relaxing, inspiring, and thrilling all at the same time. This book was as captivating as sitting comfortably under a shady tree enjoying the wisps of wind that frolic and flutter carrying with them the fresh scents of nature and the sounds of rustling leaves and songbirds. As I read, I felt as though I had been whisked away on a breathtaking alpine adventure finding delight in the trails and paths that unfolded before me with each carefully chosen word and artfully crafted sentence.

Like a mountain stream flowing crisp and clear, the plot of this novel was refreshingly original rippling with intrigue, mystery, romance, faith, and adventure that truly appealed to all of my senses. The majestic mountain setting that is so integral to this story gracefully grew in detail and description until it practically stepped from the pages as an essential character in the novel itself. As I read, I grew to love the mountain, and like the characters themselves, I found I desired to remain within her noble shadow. Not only did I come to care deeply for the characters and find interest in their fears, their struggles, and their triumphs, but the natural setting of this novel thoroughly enveloped me and made me want to linger there long after I finished reading the final pages. 

I found this book to be well-researched, skillfully written, unique, and utterly enjoyable. I recommend it to all readers who enjoy historical fiction that is clean, inspiring, and thoroughly memorable.

*I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review, whether positive or negative, are entirely my own.


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