Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Review: Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

Book Two in the Shadows of the Wilderness series

Heidi Reads... Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


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 fashioned 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 choice of becoming a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark helps open 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 Review

There are two things I especially appreciated about this book- that it's set in Yosemite, a place I've visited several times, and that the main character Olivia is an artist. The author really made the time period come to life, and though it's not my favorite era for fiction, once Olivia got to Yosemite and began to shed her flapper girl facade, I was a happy camper ;) She really undergoes quite a transition,  from fearful and desperate to courageous and confident. Clark's frank demeanor influences her to make the effort to get in touch with the spirit of the landscape, enabling her paintings to evoke more emotion and touch the viewer. Clark is on his own spiritual journey, seeking for guidance with his purpose and future. These two lost and hurting souls have a bit of a rocky start, but in time form a friendship as they learn to trust and reveal their hidden secrets. There is plenty of intrigue and angst while Olivia faces pressure from various sources, all of which is balanced nicely with the beauty and grandeur of the location. I loved all the little nuggets of history of Yosemite's early days as a National Park sprinkled into the story, and it made me look forward to camping and backpacking there again.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

Don't miss the first book in the Shadows of the Wilderness series . . .

Book One
Heidi Reads... The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett


In 1927, Margie Lane, an avid naturalist, convinces her Senator father to procure her a position at the fledgling Mount Rainier National Park. Since Ranger Ford Brannon lost his father in a climbing accident, he doubts his ability to protect the park and its many visitors. He certainly doesn't relish the job of watching over an idealistic and privileged young woman with no practical survival skills.
When Margie's former fiance sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, Margie and Ford will have to work together to preserve the beauty and simplicity of this mountain hideaway, but the developer's plans might put more than just the park in danger.

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