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The Road to Paradise

(Vintage National Parks #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  772 ratings  ·  300 reviews
From Book 1: An ideal sanctuary and a dream come true–that’s what Margaret Lane feels as she takes in God’s gorgeous handiwork in Mount Rainier National Park. It’s 1927 and the National Park Service is in its youth when Margie, an avid naturalist, lands a coveted position alongside the park rangers living and working in the unrivaled splendor of Mount Rainier’s long shadow ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Waterbrook Press
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Karen Barnett's writing makes you feel as if you are right there in the forests, seeing the mountains, delighting in nature's beauty. As I read, I really felt transported to Mount Rainier National Park. Her writing instills courage, strength, and faith in the reader. You feel like you too can do everything that Margie does and that Ranger Brayden's path could just as easily be yours. This was a very enjoyable read for me, the book cover is simply gorgeous, and I can't wait to read more in this s ...more
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
If you like a story that has really well-developed characters, a wonderful message of how God is in the beauty of nature, a romance between a nature-loving young woman and an emotionally broken park ranger, then you need to pick up The Road to Paradise.

I was touched and inspired by Marge's love of nature. It made me relate to how I feel when I am at a national park or just when I commune with nature at daybreak. With a menacing entrepreneur named Philip shows up the fight begins to save the par
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a sweet story about Margie, a young woman who grew up in the upper society, yet had a heart and desire for the simplicity and beauty of the natural world. It was easy for me to admire Margie because she reminded me so much of my younger self. She was a book learned botanist and admired God's beautiful world with excitement. I really enjoyed how this novel focused so much on the flora and fauna of Mount Rainer National Park. Now, I want to go see this National Park and scale to the summi ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You know how you meet a book and instantly know that you're destined to become bosom friends? The energy crackles from page to fingertip and you're hooked before you've cracked the spine open (not that I'm an advocate of spine cracking, mind you, that's just an expression.) Well, The Road to Paradise is that kind of book for me. So I was prepared to be spellbound but the humour took me totally by surprise. It's pure understated genius and I giggled my way through the first few chapters as Barnet ...more
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
The first thing that caught my attention about this book was its amazing cover. I collect the vintage-style postcards from national parks, sites, memorials, and cities that we visit on our road trips, and earlier this year I mounted them all on my living room wall :) Since I love national parks and I enjoy this author's writing I knew this would be a perfect book for me! The early 20th century setting in the Washington wilderness had a distinct feeling and I appreciated seeing the park and chara ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's the late 1920's, and Margaret Lane has gone to Mt. Ranier to fulfill her dream to be a naturalist. Chief Ranger Ford Brayden feels Margaret has no real place in this National Park and has few practical survival skills that will make her anything but trouble. Throw in Margie's former fiancee, Philip Carmichael, who wants nothing less than to pave Paradise and put in a parking lot; and you have a mix that's guaranteed to explode.

Full of beautiful scenery, lots of adventure and excitement, so
Sarah Sundin
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A story as invigorating, inspiring, and perilous as Mount Rainier itself! The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett pulled me in with humor and fascinating characters and a delicious romance, then kept me up late as Ford and Margie strive to save the national park that seems determined to kill them. The author’s experiences as a park ranger give this novel both authenticity and passion, and I can’t wait for the next book in the Vintage National Parks Series!
Jocelyn Green
A true delight. With its expertly rendered setting of breathtaking beauty and danger, combined with charming characters and a swiftly moving plot, The Road to Paradise is a journey worth taking more than once!
Hallie Szott
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-for-review
As a fan of the national parks, I couldn’t help enjoying The Road to Paradise and the historical trip to Mount Rainier National Park it provides. With exquisite imagery, Karen Barnett sets the scene beautifully for the drama (and romance, of course) surrounding Margie and Ford to unfold. The novel captivated me from the start, and I so loved the different appreciations for and experiences with the wilderness that drive the main characters. The Road to Paradise is a pleasure to read, a great star ...more
Fans of historical and ROMANTIC fiction, don't you just LOVE this cover? It really does a lovely job capturing the essence of this clean, faith-based, nature's bounty history/mystery love story. A story celebrating pioneering female naturalists, and set in beautiful Mount Rainier National Park in its infancy.

Sweet, enlightening, well written with integrity. And somewhat topically unique. But also, a bit predictable when it comes to the romantic elements. And far more sentimentality swooning tha
Camille Eide
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a charming story! I thoroughly adored the quirky Margie (and actually found myself identifying with her obsessive love of nature), and it was a pure delight to watch Ranger Brayden fall in love. As one who lives in the foothills of Mount Hood near the trails, rivers, woodlands, and lakes of a national forest, I was struck by how well the setting rang true, humming with the life and beauty of mountain splendor. Lovely story! I'm looking forward to the rest of this charming National Parks ser ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
"My soul is at peace here. Like God has led me to the promised land."

Margaret Lane has made her great escape; leaving a life of social obligation and burrowing herself into life at Mount Rainer National Park, as a result of her father's generosity, she finds herself dubbed a "naturalist" by Chief Ranger Ford Boynton to whom she is assigned. Surrounded by wildlife and flora to her heart's content, Margie's love of the outdoors flourishes, in spite of Ford's initial concerns about her ability to s
Jen. (JenGalaxy4 Christian Book Reviews)
The Road to Paradise was beautifully and vividly written!

Amazing characters!!

I loved every twist and turn, every adventure...everything about this book! I'm so glad I read it...highly recommend!!
Carrie Turansky
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Road to Paradise is a delightful story! Being from the NorthWest, I loved reading a novel that highlights the natural beauty there. Ford's spiritual journey was very well done, and Margie was a delightful heroine. Highly recommended!
Julie  Durnell
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars for mainly the beautiful National Park scenery descriptions. The romance part of the story was not really my cuppa tea, but enjoyed the credit given to our Creator!
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Readers, get ready to go on a full out adventure as you hit the wilderness with Margie who loves Mount Rainer. Don't be fooled by the title "The Road to Paradise." This book is nothing but a road to paradise, but an adventure of a lifetime that Margaret takes. She doesn't hike the forest alone but meets a very charming and handsome chief park ranger, Ford Brayden. He is determined to keep her safe, despite the fact she tries to put her life at risk to save the mountain.
Will Ford and Margie be a
4.5 stars
A delightful story about a young woman and a man from vastly different backgrounds. Margie was gently raised among the best of society; Ford grew up in the wilderness. When Margie wants to escape society and become a forest ranger, exercising her favorite pursuits as a naturalist, she joins Ford's staff. He feels the need to look after her, since she's their first woman on staff and has a habit, annoying to him, of looking at nature with awe and wonder and joy rather than with respect o
Jaime Jo Wright
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. For one, it was refreshing to read a historical not set in the Victorian era but instead in 1927. I loved the authenticity of the era, the old tricks, the wool trousers, the jargon, the cigarettes, and the early days of national parks. The setting was stellar! I mean. Mt. Rainer. I recall the first time I set eyes on its peak ... beautiful. Ms. Barnett tells a hefty story built around its base. Thick with history and references to Muir and Thoreau and other great ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Historical Fiction is my favorite. I adore mountains, hiking and nature. Unfortunately, I didn't love this novel and found the characters and story line to be just ok. I am glad so many adored this novel. It just wasn't a good match for me.

I have another novel by the author, Out of the Ruins, and look forward to reading it.
Sarah Monzon
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Can I just say how much I love this cover?!? Probably my favorite cover all year. Gorgeous. I wanted to read the book based on it alone. Well, the fact that I can see Mt. Rainier from where I live increased my curiosity. ;) The story was cute with a satisfying ending. Looking forward to more National Park books.
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a truly enjoyable read!

I really liked the characters in this book, and you just can't beat the fact that a huge portion of the story has a great backdrop of the beautiful nature God has created.

I've always loved the freedom and beauty of the outdoors. I can totally relate to Margie, and her fascination of the beauty that surrounds her at Mount Rainer National Park.

Great characters, well- written plot, and a beautiful faith theme that I loved. I love when the faith theme is intricately woven
Caitlyn Santi
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read Karen Barnett's book, Mistaken a few years back and really enjoyed it! The Road to Paradise intrigued me from the first moment I read the description, I thought ooh, I've gotta read that! And I am thrilled to say that this book was completely delightful! Having grown up on 75+ acres of land I am a huge nature lover, so I could totally relate to Margie's love of the outdoors and her joy in seeing God's fingerprints on every bit of nature!
It was such a great idea to write a historical seri
Beth Erin
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full review on Faithfully Bookish

Margie Lane is brave enough to break out of the grasp of social expectations and so much more. I admire her work ethic, her eagerness to learn, grow, and experience, and her appreciation for the natural beauty of creation. Margie has a heart of gold and enduring spirit.

Ford Brayden is a quintessential mountain man! His dedication to the park is deeply rooted in his identity and his father’s legacy. Ford’s initial Darcy-esque demeanor is ea
Malia Saldaña
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-books
This book was so cute! I loved it! I love how it was set in a National Park. That was neat. Margie and Ford were so cute.
Kerry Johnson
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely enjoyed every moment with this story (starting with the incredibly lovely cover)! The Road to Paradise is a delightful historical romance by a new-to-me author, and I'll definitely look for more from her.

The story is sweet but not too, adventurous (love all the outdoor & hiking scenes), tender and humorous, and quite romantic! The hero's spiritual arc is realistic and touching, and the antagonist is well, he's quite the baddie. (I kind of wanted to smack him through the pages.)

If yo
This book made me want to put on my hiking boots and take a long hike away from civilization. I really enjoyed reading about the early days of US national parks and had a hard time putting it down!

Margie and Ford were genuine, likeable characters and it was awesome to see their (Ford’s especially) faith journeys. The plot also kept my interest (though I did feel like some parts and background stories could have been expanded).

Overall, I had fun reading this and felt “refreshed” (with all the be
Molly Jaber (Cover To Cover Cafe)

My Thoughts
I loved this book and everything about it. It was wonderfully written, with characters that are real-to-life, a setting that will sweep you away to the Mount Ranier National Park and a plot that will leave you dying for more of this talented authors work. It was such a fabulous feeling reading this book. 

This novel is a mix of historical and beautiful scenes. I felt as though I was right there with Margie and the Rangers, looking at the parks in fr

Karen R
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great start to a wonderful new series!
Enjoyed reading this with images of mountains still fresh in my mind after a vacation in another mountainous national park. Living in view of Mount Rainier in all it's glory made this especially fun to read. It is a dangerous place to hike and climb still today.
Interesting, solid characters with a believable plot line made this a satisfying read for me. Loved the detailed descriptions of the places they explored, along with their perilous moments on the
Chautona Havig
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just a really wonderful book that earned a permanent place on my shelf.

What I Loved about These Books

I have a new name on my “If he/she writes it, I buy it” list. Karen Barnett. Author of the “Vintage National Parks Novels,” Karen is a phenomenal writer. Seriously.

Look, the more I learn about the writing craft, the pickier I get about writing. I can love a book with “inferior writing” if the author does his or her job right. I can. And I have. And I will again.

However, when I read an entire book
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Karen Barnett has begun writing a new series about National Parks beginning with Mount Rainier National Park. I decided I wanted to read this book because Mount Rainier is only a three hour drive from my house. I have been to the Paradise area of the park and I have camped in one of the campgrounds. My husband has hiked the Wonderland Trail around the base of the mountain. It truly is a natural playground.

Margie has come to the park to work for the summer and to escape what is alluded to be an
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Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of the Golden Gate Chronicles (Out of the Ruins, Beyond the Ashes, Through the Shadows) and MISTAKEN. She lives in Oregon with her husband, two kids, and a bevy of furry friends. You can learn more about Karen's writing journey at


Other books in the series

Vintage National Parks (3 books)
  • Where the Fire Falls (Vintage National Parks, #2)
  • Ever Faithful (Vintage National Parks #3)

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