Historical Fiction Book Review: Where the Fire Falls
Publisher's Description"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."
My ReviewWhere the Fire Falls is the second, stand-alone novel in the Vintage National Parks series by Karen Barnett. From start to finish, it is an historical fiction novel that is incredibly engaging and inspiring. Like a cool breeze blowing through new, spring leaves, the plot of this novel is refreshingly unique as it whispers with mystery, adventure, danger, faith, and romance. Reading this book is as thrilling as venturing on an excursion into a beautifully wild paradise, but without having to leave the comfort of a cozy chair. Through written words alone, I could practically smell the fresh scents of nature and hear the sounds of rustling leaves as I read. The pages of this novel carried me away on a scenic, outdoor journey, and I found delight in the trails and paths that unfolded before me with each carefully chosen phrase and artfully crafted paragraph.
Stimulating all five of the senses, the phenomenal natural setting of Yosemite National Park is integral to this story. This wilderness setting gracefully develops in detail and description essentially becoming an integral character in the novel itself. Page after page, I grew fond of the granite cliffs, the thundering waterfalls, the cool streams, and the towering trees, and much like the characters in this novel, I nurtured a desire to remain within nature’s wild embrace. The rustic setting of this novel thoroughly enveloped me and made me want to linger there long after I finished reading the final pages.
As the characters interact with and respond to the natural beauty around them, their story unfurls with surprises and unforgettable moments. Not only did I come to care deeply for the characters and find interest in their fears, their struggles, and their triumphs, but I found them to be genuinely sympathetic in their frailties and failures. The characters are deeply compelling as they struggle to overcome their insecurities, face their fears, and pursue their dreams. They are truly inspiring as they wrestle with their doubts and develop their faith.
Where the Fire Falls is well-researched, skillfully written, thoughtful, original, and thoroughly entertaining. I highly recommend it to all readers who enjoy historical fiction that is clean, compelling, uplifting, and truly memorable.