The Road to Paradise: A Vintage National Parks Novel

Written by Karen Barnett
Review by Jessica Brockmole

Margaret Lane might be a senator’s daughter, but she’s always dreamed of working at Mount Rainier National Park, a park her father had campaigned to create. A keen scholar of botany, she’s thrilled when an opportunity presents itself to teach and research in the park’s naturalist program for the summer of 1927. Not even the taciturn chief ranger, Ford Braydon, can dampen her enthusiasm, despite not sharing her reverence for God’s hand in the nature around them. Add a ruthless developer, resolved to ruin the unspoiled wilderness that they both love, to the mix, and you have a novel rich with conflict, both personal and public.

Margie and Ford’s relationship develops easily, allowing them to spend the book working together and supporting one another’s own goals. Barnett worked as a ranger and naturalist at Mount Rainier National Park, experience that heightens her storytelling. Her love of both Mount Rainier and of the nature within comes through beautifully in this novel. The scenic descriptions bring the reader right into the wilderness that awes Margie and Ford. I look forward to the next in this new National Parks series.