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The Road to Paradise–climbing new heights

The Road to Paradise

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.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Fiction, Christian, Historical Fiction

Notes: a Vintage National Parks novel

Publication:   June 6, 2017—Waterbrook (Random House)

Memorable Lines:

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.”

Alpha Alpine–serial killer or local shenanigans?

Alpha Alpine

by Mary Daheim

Alpha AlpineI was amazed when I saw the list of books Mary Daheim has written in the Emma Lord Series. She has already been through the alphabet once with titles in ascending order and has started again. I know I would have enjoyed the book more had I read the previous 26 books because there must be a lot of back story to Alpha Alpine, but Daheim does a great job of cluing the reader in on the many characters mentioned and how they relate to each other and to the current story. In fact I would say she is a master at making the book understandable and interesting to the new reader without being redundant.

Emma Lord is the editor and publisher of a weekly newspaper in Alpine, Washington, where if everyone is not related to everyone else, they are at least all related to Vida who is the House and Home editor and makes it her job to know everyone’s business. Emma is married to Sheriff Milo Dodge, giving her an inside edge and also causing friction when Dodge can not disclose information she wants. This mystery contains the murder of young girls, an unexpected assassination attempt, an explosion, domestic abuse, and a visit by Dodge’s brother in his Texas sized RV. All of these events keep both Emma and Milo quite busy in their jobs and at home.

The paper has an interesting staff, and the story is also fleshed out with deputies, townspeople and visitors, but despite the large number of characters, I never felt overwhelmed by them. The setting is well defined as mountainous Alpine seasonally moves from hot to cooler weather.  Along with Emma and Milo, the reader is continually evaluating characters and their motives as new information and more crimes come to light. When you get to the end, you will be happy with the resolution, but you may find yourself wanting to know more about Alpine and its inhabitants.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Random House (Alibi) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery

Notes: #27 in the Emma Lord Series but works well as a standalone

Publication:   December 12, 2017— Random House (Alibi)

Memorable Lines:

But promises are flimsy things and easily broken.

She’d been bitten by the need-to-know bug. Sometimes that bite can be fatal.

I knew when to shut up, focusing instead on Hercule Poirot grooming his elaborate mustache while exercising his little gray cells. Ten minutes and a second murder later, my eyelids felt heavy. Milo turned off the light. I curled up next to him and fell asleep in the sanctuary of his arms.

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