Book Quick Facts
Title: The Road to Paradise
Author: Karen Barnett
Nature calls to Margie Lane, promising to wrap her in its wild embrace and protect her from the city, her family and the problems she yearns to leave behind. What can’t a summer in the meadows and glaciers of Mount Ranier National Park fix? To Margie, nature is more than beautiful. Nature represents God’s love for her and all of mankind.
Cheif Ranger Ashford (Ford) Brayden couldn’t disagree more. His heart still torn apart and his faith shaken to its core by his father’s death at the hand of an avalanche, he sees nature as something dangerous. He keeps his heart numb as he spends his days clearing logs from roads and ignoring the beauty surrounding him.
Which works just fine, until Margie shows up at his ranger station, his new, wide eyed employee.
Karen Barnett’s The Road to Paradise draws a beautiful portrait of Mount Ranier National park in 1927. She fills the pages with such detailed, beautiful imagery that it made me feel like I stood at the foot of one of Washington’s greatest mountains. Her words flowed smoothly, her characters blossomed and the plotline pulled me along.
I appreciated how Margie and Ford’s relationship developed naturally. While Margie thinks Ford is handsome from the beginnings, she’s not instantly in love with him. Meanwhile, Ford takes a while to warm up to his new, nature obsessed friend. Yet, once their feelings start to develop they keep their romance sweet and clean.
Faith comes into play a lot in Barnett’s story. Margie’s faith is central to her life and I did appreciate that she always gave the Creator his due for his wonderful works. Meanwhile, Ford struggles to come to terms with the fact that God did not save his father from an untimely death on the mountain. I kept wanting to just sit him down with a Bible and explain that Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, “I have seen something further under the sun, that the swift do not always win the race, nor do the mighty win the battle, nor do the wise always have the food, nor do the intelligent always have the riches, nor do those with knowledge always have success, because time and unexpected events overtake them all.” God doesn’t protect us against disaster right now, but he does give us the hope that he will resurrect us in the future (John 5:28-29). However, in the book, Ford never really seems to get a satisfying, Bible-based answer to his question. Which made me feel quite sad for him.
Recommendation: If you love nature, God and the 1920s, then this sweet “vintage national parks novel” is for you.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.