The Road to Paradise
Karen Barnett’s The Road to Paradise is a delightful visit through time to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. Set in 1927, the story tells of young Margie Lane, the socialite daughter of Senator Thomas Lane. A naturalist at heart, Margie is hired for the summer, as a political favor, into the male dominated environment with the expectation that she will only last a few days. Margie, lacking practical experience, brings with her determination, enthusiasm, a sense of wonder at God’s creation, and an academic background in botany and zoology.
This book has a villain, Phillip Carmichael, who has been manipulating Margie since childhood, and it has a hero, Chief Ranger Ford Brayden, Margie’s new boss. By the end of the story the reader has learned the motivations of each character and how their backgrounds and experiences set the stage for their actions.
Maggie is attracted to Ford, but realizes they have no future together because he does not share her faith in God. Calling God “the greatest Artist ever known,” Margie sees Him all around her in His amazing creation in Mount Rainier National Park and asks God to use her to share His love with others.
As Margie struggles in her new job and relationships with co-workers at the Park, Phillip is always a force as he tries to convert the Park from wilderness to super tourist entertainment center—by any means necessary. Margie’s parents also play a role with their expectations for their daughter’s social and media status.
I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Waterbrook (Random House) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Fiction, Christian, Historical Fiction
Notes: a Vintage National Parks novel
Publication: June 6, 2017—Waterbrook (Random House)
Ridgeline after ridgeline of deep green rose to meet the jagged edges of the enormous peak, tucked into its rumpled blanket of white.
Her smile added to the graceful beauty of her face. “I love seeing God’s creation laid out in front of us. ‘The earth is full of thy riches.’ How anyone can look at this natural order and not see the Maker’s hand, I’ll never comprehend.”
“God wants me broken and miserable?” She shook her head. “I don’t think I’d go that far, Ford, but when we’re weak He is strong. It’s in His strength that we find victory.”