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Vintage National Parks #2

Where the Fire Falls

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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.

352 pages, Paperback

First published June 1, 2018

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About the author

Karen Barnett

9 books492 followers
Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of the Vintage National Parks Novels, 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 http://www.KarenBarnettBooks.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 267 reviews
Profile Image for Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...).
1,517 reviews449 followers
July 19, 2018
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)
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,644 reviews3,637 followers
June 8, 2019
About this book:

“A beautiful piece of art. A stunning cathedral of trees. Both perfect for keeping truth hidden in the shadows.
Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford believes an avant-garde persona is key to becoming wildly successful in California’s 1929 art scene. When she lands a lucrative contract to paint Yosemite Nation Park for a travel magazine, she reluctantly takes on the project, hoping the money will keep her past hidden from anyone traveling in the nouveau riche art circles.
When Olivia meets backcountry guide Clark Johnson, she assumes he is the rugged mountain man he appears to be. But Clark has secrets of his own and isn’t sure if becoming a national park ranger is answering the call of the wilderness or fleeing God’s divine guidance.
As Clark opens Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers that people are as vital to the park’s story as are its vistas—and that the gap between who she is and who she pretends to be could mean the difference of life and death.”

Series: Book #2 in the “Vintage National Parks”, series. Review of Book #1 Here!

Spiritual Content- Scriptures are mentioned, quoted, read, & talked about; Many Prayers & Thanking God; Church going, a sermon & singing hymns; Witnessing; Many Talks about God, His creation, His will, faiths, & callings; ‘H’s are capital when referring to God; Olivia doesn’t believe in God & believed He turned His back on her family *Spoiler* *End of Spoiler*; Clark was a pastor; Many mentions of God, His creation, His will, & callings; Mentions of prayers, praying, & blessings over food; Mentions of faiths & witnessing; Mentions of churches, church going, ministries, pastors, sermons, & hymns; A few mentions of thanking God; A few mentions of those in the Bible; A few mentions of blessings & being blessed; A couple mentions of Heaven; A couple mentions of hymns; A couple mentions of sins;
*Note: A mention of hellfire; A mention of personal demons; A mention of a devilish scheme.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: an ‘idiot’, two forms of ‘blast’, and four ‘stupid’s; A but of eye rolling; Being held hostage & at gunpoint; Fighting & a Gunshot (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a murder, the murderer, & the body; Mentions of (the possibility) of people falling to their deaths & a (possible) suicide; Mentions of crimes, criminals, & the disappearance of one; Mentions of someone held hostage & gunshots; Mentions of blood/bleeding & injuries (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of blackmail & threats; Mentions of fires; Mentions of lies & lying; Mentions of rumors, gossip, & gossip rags; Mentions of cigarettes & smoking; A few mentions of suicides, the bodies, & the reason why they happened; A few mentions of a body; A few mentions of jails; A few mentions of drinking & drunks; A few mentions of nightmares; A few mentions of screams; A couple mentions of thinking that you might be murdered (doesn’t happen, it’s a passing comment); A couple mentions of an illnesses & a death; A couple mentions of wars; A couple mentions of con-artists; A mention of hunting;
*Note: Mentions of painters, actors, & actresses; A few mentions of a book & its characters.

Sexual Content- a fingers-to-lips touch, two cheek kisses, two forehead/head kisses, a barely-above-not-detailed unwanted kiss, three barely-above-not-detailed kisses, and four semi-detailed kisses; Remembering kisses (up to semi-detailed); Wanting to kiss (barely-above-not-detailed); Touches, Embraces, Dancing, & Warmth (up to semi-detailed); Noticing, Nearness, & Smelling (border-line barely-above-not-detailed // semi-detailed); a ‘vamp’ and two ‘harlot’s; A married man unwantedly touches & kisses Olivia (up to semi-detailed, she smacks him away); Mentions of a married man having a casual interest in Olivia, his roving eyes & advances; Mentions of a married woman having an attraction for her pastor; Mentions of kissing & kisses; Mentions of reputations & chaperones; Mentions of blushes; A few mentions of affairs, wondering if a couple is having one, & scandals; A few mentions of secret lovers & crimes of passion; A few mentions of dates & a boyfriend; A couple mentions of married couples kissing; A couple mentions of flirting; A couple mentions of crushes; A mention of a couple spooning; A mention of a man trying to steal a kiss; Love, falling in love, & the emotions;
*Note: Mentions of adding a woman’s curves to a picture; A mention of drawing someone & feeling like it’s a little voyeuristic; A mention of a girl acting like a Jezebel; A mention of a man being uncomfortable when a woman rolls up her pant legs.

-Olivia Rutherford
-Clark Johnson
P.O.V. switches between them
Set in 1929-1930
344 pages

Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- One Star
Early High School Teens- Two Stars
Older High School Teens- Three Stars
My personal Rating- Three Stars
As I really enjoyed the first book in this series, “The Road to Paradise”, this sequel was added to my anticipated books list for 2018 at the beginning of this year. This one had some great faith content that I loved seeing and I found Olivia’s career to be fascinating. I have to admit that I enjoyed the first book better, though. “Where the Fire Falls” had some sweet moments in it, but, personally, it did get a bit kissy for my tastes at time and I didn’t like that we had a married man trying to get close to Olivia. I was very, very glad when he left. There was some other drama that felt a bit forced at times, but I did like the descriptions of Yosemite. I have never been there, so while reading, I would pause and look up pictures of the places. I think the author did a lovely job describing them and the emotions.
So, even while this one didn’t quite meet my expectations because of some of the content, I did like some of aspects and hope to read the third book when it releases. :)

Link to review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this book for free from the Publisher (Waterbrook) for this honest review.
Profile Image for Melanie.
2,028 reviews559 followers
June 12, 2018
I had mixed feelings when I started this book. On one hand, I've really enjoyed Karen Barnett's books in the past; but, on the other, the story line sounded different from any other book I've read and I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm very happy to say that once I got into the story, I was hooked and thoroughly enjoyed the read.

The characters were intriguing. Olivia had an air of mystery surrounding her and I liked learning more about her life. Clark was also a nice character and I felt bad for some of the things that happened to him...but the way he handled those things showed his character.

All in all, a very good read. Where the Fire Falls is the second book in Barnett's "Vintage National Parks" series, but you don't need to read them in order -- I haven't read the first book yet. ;)

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Profile Image for Jocelyn Green.
Author 31 books1,316 followers
August 26, 2018
Having loved The Road to Paradise, I was fully expecting a treat with Where the Fire Falls, and I was not disappointed. I loved Clark and Olivia's story! The setting was so vividly described, it makes me want to whip out my calendar and plan a visit to Yosemite myself. I was especially impressed with all the research that went into this novel, which was evident in the story without being overbearing, but the note at the back of the book really spelled out everything that went into its creation. Karen Barnett's passion for national parks comes through so beautifully in this series. These books are refreshing, charming, and just gorgeous. I'll be pre-ordering her next one as soon as it's available.
Profile Image for Sarah Monzon.
Author 22 books454 followers
March 14, 2018
A win for this outdoorsey, naturalist, Park-loving girl. I thought the characters were well done and interestingly developed. Olivia’s backstory was a unique one, and I always love to see new things explored in story. Loved the opportunity to return to Yosemite as I haven’t been since I was a teen. Overall a very enjoyable and entertaining read.
Profile Image for Abigail.
Author 2 books186 followers
March 30, 2019
Oh my word, oh my word, oh my word! I forgot how much I loved Karen Barnett's writing, storylines, and characters!! I love everything single thing about this book!

I have been to all the national parks that Ms. Barnett writes about and I love being able to connect with the story more because of it. I have seen for myself the beauty of Yosemite. It is beautiful!! (If you haven't been you NEED to go!)

This book was packed with faith, adventure, and romance. I read this book in an entire car trip. I could hardly put it down.

Also can we please just admired the vintage beauty of a cover?! These covers are some of my favorite!!

This book has captured my heart just like the last book did and now I want more but alas I cannot have more. Thankfully though, we do have the third book coming out soon!

Oh, and of course how could I have forgotten to mention Melba and John. I seriously loved these two. Even though they were side characters they still managed to weave their way into my heart like Liv and Clark. Ugh, the characters in this book were amazing.....well some of them at least.....*cringes*

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and I cannot wait to see what adventure Ms. Barnett brings us on in Yellowstone next book!!

FTC I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. This review did not have to be positive.
Profile Image for Staci.
1,789 reviews541 followers
July 19, 2018
I wasn't a fan of the first in the Vintage National Parks Series. I really only picked this book up because it was at my library while I was there to pick up holds. And am I glad that I did! I very much enjoyed this second book in the series.

Main character Olivia is pretending to be someone she isn't in hopes to become successful as an artist. She is ashamed of a part of her past. Her uppity ways soon come down to earth and she finds enjoyment living and refining her craft in the wilds of Yosemite.

It was a pleasant journey and I hope there will be additional books in the series.
Profile Image for Sarah Sundin.
Author 18 books2,850 followers
July 9, 2018
Majestic scenery, intriguing characters, and a delicious romance combine in Where the Fire Falls. Karen Barnett‘s experience as a park ranger infuses the story with a rich sense of place, supported by historical research. But the story is what keeps you flipping pages, as the characters’ pasts collide. Rugged Clark is a swoon-worthy hero, and conflicted Olivia will steal your heart. Make some s’mores and savor this story!
Profile Image for Chautona Havig.
Author 264 books1,620 followers
August 6, 2018
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 without a single line making me go, “Ooof… sounds passive,” or “Ugh… stop explaining and telling me everything.,” or even worse, “Enough with the info dumping!” then I know I’ve found gold.

Karen Barnett has an easy style. Natural, engaging, and with enough twists and turns in plots to keep them from being predictable. Even when you know what’ll happen, you don’t.

Genius right there.

Of course, the Fire Fall over Yosemite Falls had ceased a few years before I was born, but the wonder of that area is something that doesn’t need man’s additions.

And this story shows it. Once more, Karen Barnett takes the setting and uses it to weave a couple of mysteries, unravel people’s tangled pasts, and all with brilliant detail to the world of art in the Roaring 20s.

She used art terms in a way I’ve heard other artists use—little details that make me confident she did as much research on this book as her last. Either that, or she’s not only a naturalist but a watercolorist as well as a phenomenal writer and storyteller.

Because, oh, yes. This book was possibly, if not definitely, better than the last. Again, the detail that didn’t weigh down, the respect for nature that didn’t worship, the full characterization of every person—it all culminates in a story that should not be missed.

If you enjoy a glimpse into the life of a flapper—and more than the superficial story at that—you’ll want to read this book. If you’ve ever found yourself defining yourself by your past, you’ll want to read this book. And if you love a mystery in a lesser used historical setting, grab it. I can’t imagine anyone not loving these books.

These two books have made it to my top ten for 2018.

And, I have hopes for the next being in the Black Hills National Park. There was a hint of Mt. Rushmore mentioned, so… fingers crossed!
Profile Image for Jaime Jo Wright.
Author 17 books1,473 followers
April 22, 2018
I’m a sucker for National parks, being a wilderness/camping type of girl. So what is the next best thing when I can’t make it to one in person? Visit one and travel to their formation in the early 20’s.

The story of Olivia and Clark is engaging, delightful, and rich with historical culture of early parks and the lifestyles of those who visited and who ran them.

If I had any drawbacks it would be that I could’ve gone on a few more camp outs with Clark and Olivia and I could have used a lot more of Filbert. ;)

A great stand alone novel in the National Parks books. A must read for historical romance lovers, and wilderness lovers the same.
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,446 reviews1,338 followers
June 20, 2019
What a lovely suspense read! I love the outdoor feel in this series, and the mystery is top-notch. It can be hard to find a good historical suspense read, since that's not precisely a "recognized" genre, and I always love it when I do. This book leaves nothing to be desired in the way of thrills and chills as the heroine works to help her younger sisters (while keeping a secret about the past, of course) and the hero battles to find his true purpose in life after a crushing betrayal.

Thanks to the publisher for a free review copy.
Profile Image for Kremena Koleva.
217 reviews62 followers
September 12, 2022
Четящият Where Fire Falls ще се наслади на съвършеното творение Йосемити с величествените водопади, огледалните езера, с внушителните силуети на скалите и с широтата на пространствата. Годината е 1929 . Един период на глад за изкуство и на търсене на сцена за изява. Кой където може. Някои притежават талант да покорят публиката, но са неспособни да го направят без стабилната ръка на меценат и импресарио. Други имат пари, връзки и възможности и търсят цененен артист, художник или писател, който да им предложи уменията си за търговия. Свят на възможности и хищническо съперничество. От луксозните бални зали и елитни художествени галерии до зеления рай на Йосемити Where Fire Falls ни среща с различни характери и с техния поглед към определящите ги средства в живота им. Оливия Ръдърфорд е гениален художник, който придава нова изтънченост на рисуването си, благодарение на взаимодействието си с планинския водач Кларк Джонсън и с обкръжаващата я природа в националния парк. Благодарение на описанията на Карен Барнет " видях" пейзажите, които Лив пресъздаваше върху платната. Разходките по пътеките и честните духовни разговори с Кларк вдъхваха живот на картините й. Докато любителите на изобразителното изкуство започнаха да търсят нейните творби навсякъде. И по всевъзможни начини. Всеки би харесал Кларк Джонсън. Силен мъж, обичащ отворените пространства и сигурен водач из завладяващите места на Йосемити. Щедър и състрадателен към всеки, чийто живот не е минал леко . Отдал се на духовността, но срещнал лицемерието и подлостта в лицето на собствените си енориаши, той решава, че не заслужава да служи на църквата. Но аз срещнах един Кларк Джонсън, който беше деликатен, внимателен, разумен и търпелив в работата, която му беше дала убежище от света. Същия този Кларк Джонсън срещна и Оливия Ръдърфорд. А те заедно бяха чудесна двойка. Отдадени на призванията си ,но копнеещи да се потопят взаимно в дълбоките си души. В съвършеното на общото им съществуване. И да допълнят липсващи парченца от живота си чрез търсенията на другия.
Романтиката на фона на Йосемити и нишка на трилър.Разговорите за изкуство, съчетани с теми за грешните избори. Гледките на съвършените творения на природата в Йосемити съпоставени със съвършените творения на човека като Сикстинска капела. Вярата в Бог и реакцията на църквата към грешките. Сигурността и устойчивостта на природата на фона на преходността на нашите страсти и щения.Where The Fire Falls ми хареса изключително много!

* " В ден като този Кларк копнееше да изчезне сред дърветата, да последва потоците до техните източници и да не говори с друга човешка душа дни наред."
* " Не разбраха ли, че тайната на спокойствието се крие в тишината?"
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,905 reviews107 followers
June 5, 2018
"So you're at my disposal?"

Not exactly what Yosemite National Park guide Clark Johnson was expecting to hear from the raven haired artist, accompanied by her millionaire friends. Sure, he'd been assigned to guide Olivia Rutherford towards the park's splendid displays of natural beauty so that her paintbrush could capture their magnificence, but she is making it sound like he is nothing more than a glorified porter. "First chance he got, he'd be setting this little minx straight."

How could Olivia have let herself be talked into returning to Yosemite? What happened in this park years ago changed the course of her life and the lives of her younger siblings, who are now dependent on her success for their livelihood. Living behind an assumed name and an altered persona might gain her notoriety in the art world, but stepping back into her family history is tricky business, especially when a handsome, rugged mountain guide's simple friendship and discerning gaze dares to chip away at her carefully applied facade. Clark Johnson honestly believes that Yosemite is God's creative masterpiece, and maybe it is.

Enchanting, brimming over with descriptive scenery, and a bit unnerving at times, "Where the Fire Falls" is ultimately a freedom canvas; coloring in the emancipation of two pained individuals from the shame of their pasts; finding that "dis-grace is a human term . . . . . . God invented grace. " And the romance? . . . . . . . always and forever, unless greed finds a way to destroy the scene.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Sabine.
595 reviews76 followers
April 27, 2018
4.45 stars

This was my first book by Karen Barnett and I am thrilled. I am not usually a reader of historical fiction or romance but this story was fantastic.

Being a big outdoor fan I loved the descriptions of Yosemite National Park with its sights and attractions. The characters were lovely and the writing pulled me right into the story and made me feel like I was right there experiencing the adventure together with Olivia and Clark. I had a hard time putting this book away when life got in the way of reading.

In my humble opinion there could have been even more camping and hiking in the story ... it was just so much fun!

I appreciated the additional historical facts that the author added at the end of the book about locations and persons that were included in the story.

I requested this book on Netgalley and would like to thank WaterBrook Multnomah and the author for providing me an advance copy.
Profile Image for Rachel McMillan.
Author 25 books1,079 followers
February 21, 2018
Yosemite National Park is a character as stunning and unforgetable as its leading lady artist Olivia Rutherford in this lush and atmospheric blend of visual and natural art.

Barnett's deft prose sweeps each page with the same delicate touch as Olivia's brush so that the 1920's park comes to life. Where the Fire Falls is a surprising and unforgettable look at an indomitable heroine in a a resplendent setting full of unexpected beauty and grace. Readers of historical romance will find this a fresh and beguiling turn from a masterful researcher. And armchair travelers will sense every sight, smell and touch thanks to Barnett's inimitable spirit of place.

[read for endorsement]
Profile Image for Karen R.
615 reviews79 followers
October 5, 2022
Another enjoyable historical set against a gorgeous National Park backdrop! Well written and researched, with interesting characters, a mystery, a bit of faith, and a tender romance--something for everybody--and an ending worth waiting for. A few side characters had me grinding my teeth, but they added to the plot. Kind of hoped for more background in Olivia's father's story.
Overall, a satisfying read. Recommend!
Profile Image for Loraine.
3,024 reviews
July 16, 2019
This is my favorite book of the Vintage National Parks. With a hint of mystery, a wonderful spiritual thread, a slow developing romance pulled together by a delightful hero and heroine, this book has it all. Yosemite is one of my favorite national parks as I grew up only about 5 hours away from it. It had not yet been made touristy and still held the elements of its early days. I fondly remember sleeping in the tent cabins which were wood to about waist high and then a tent on the top. We would go with friends and gather together in Yosemite Lodge in the evening to play cards. But the special thrill was the firefall from Yosemite falls after dark. Barnett brings all the unique elements of Yosemite to life in her excellent book.

Don't miss this incredible series, and I certainly hope Barnett has more planned set in our wonderful national parks.
Profile Image for Connie Hill.
1,566 reviews28 followers
January 6, 2020
This is the first book that I have read by this author. Before I started reading, I went and read her bio. I learned that she was a former park ranger. I was excited to start reading this book. I have never been to Yosemite. Through this book, the way the author writes, I felt I got an amazing tour of yosemite. First, the cover is amazing. The artwork is beautiful. Second, the way that the author writes is very flowing. Her words flow off the page. The way she describes her characters, the scenes and the story it makes you feel like you are here. Third, This book is full of faith and adventure. It was an amazing read. I have not read any other books in her series, but I had no problems following along. I look forward to reading more from this author.

I received a copy of this book through the JustRead blogging program. All thoughts are my own.
Profile Image for Rebekah Morris.
Author 105 books224 followers
October 17, 2018
I don't say this about many books, but the covers of this series caught my interest as soon as I saw them. I love vintage, and National Parks, so combining them with novels sounded delightful.

I greatly enjoyed the descriptions of Yosemite National Park, and the whole feeling of the late 1920's. I was pulled into Camp Curry, I wanted to watch the firefall, stay in a tent, hike the mountains, dine at the Glacier Point Hotel, and attend church at Yosemite Valley Chapel for real. And the setting of the late 1920s was well done, and I could easily picture Olivia's dress and hair.
The characters both intrigued and bothered me. I did really like Olivia and wanted to befriend and help her. I did not like Marcus Vanderbilt at all, and I was glad when he left! Clark was a great character though he did seem to "fall in love" awfully quickly for someone who had been injured by a woman.
The story-line itself interested me with the hints of mystery and danger. It did feel a bit dramatic near the end. (But I have to admit the love of money and desire for it and fame can make a person attempt drastic things.)

There were a few things I didn't like.
One was the use of "big guy" in reference to God. I don't care if that was a common term used back then, I still don't like it.
There was too much kissing and passion for my tastes to fully enjoy the story. I don't mind some thoughts of the other person as that is a natural thing everyone deals with to some extent, but I was uncomfortable with the amount of "touching" going on. The worst part was a married man attempting to do "something" with another woman. He didn't, thankfully, but even between the unmarried "friends" who weren't even engaged or talking about getting engaged–I could do without.
My final complaint was the fact that there was no talk about forgiveness for sins, only about God's mercy and being a child of God. I got the impression that Olivia, and others, must have been already Christians since no one talked about how you became a child of God. This seemed a little strange with the story. There were some good Bible verses, some wonderful thoughts on trusting God to lead you in the way He wanted you to go, but it felt like it was missing the vital fact that you can't be a child of God without His forgiveness of your sins.
3,027 reviews1,731 followers
November 2, 2018
Wow! This one ticks all the boxes for me. History, mystery and romance in the breathtaking wilderness. As Clark puts it, "Yosemite is a cathedral built by holy hands." (p 103) And the author really conveys that majesty in this book. In fact, it reads like a homage to the Creator in so many ways.

There's the rugged mountain man hero who, despite a firm faith, finds himself stalled on his life journey. He's come to the national park to seek out divine answers which aren't apparent no matter how hard he prays. There's this amazing scene where he seeks counsel with a local minister that, honestly, just blew me away. I actually stopped and gaped at the page because the words written there were an answer to my own prayers. It starts out with this:

"You're frustrated because God won't give you direction, but maybe that's because you don't understand how He made you. What He made you." Reverend White cleared his throat. "Let's put it simply. In Christ's eyes, who are you?" (p 214)

And then goes on into some really powerful, straight-to-the-heart stuff that I so needed to hear. Piercing questions. Simple truths. Just one page out of 334 but so profound! Worth buying the book for that one page!

And then there's Olivia -- an aspiring artist who tries to bury her past beneath a worldly mask as she strives to make a name for herself in the art world. She's caught up in all the pretense and manipulated by unscrupulous people. But Yosemite works its magic and as she grows in courage and conviction, the mask slowly slips away. Clark can't help but be smitten. But sweet romance is threatened by treachery and there are a few gasp-out-loud moments that kept me on the edge-of-my-seat right to the very last page.
Profile Image for Michelle.
914 reviews39 followers
February 22, 2018
I love anything that has to do with the National Parks. This is the second book in a series but both can be read as a stand alone. I think that Karen has really grown in her writing especially with this series. This book was fun and grabbed my attention from the start though it did slow down just a tad, it was still an enjoyable read. I had a difficult time with loving Olivia's character, she was difficult for me to relate to but she does grow through the book. I LOVED Clark and the setting is wonderful. The secondary characters are well written and really bring the whole story together. There are some great history tidbits and having been to Yosemite it was easy to imagine many of the scenes. I am eager to read more of Karen's books to see what she comes up with next!

Four Stars.


"I received an ARC copy of this book from Blogging for books. All opinions are my own."
Profile Image for Melissa (Semi-hiatus Very Behind).
4,650 reviews2,114 followers
October 24, 2018
What a gorgeously written novel! I adore the settings of these books, the scenery is so vividly described that you feel like you are right there with the characters. It has been many years since I traveled to Yosemite, so after reading this book it is definitely time for another visit!
This novel has relatable characters with emotional appeal, I believed the relationship between Clark and Olivia, and their faith journeys made the story richer and more meaningful. Plus, there are themes reflected throughout that helped me with my own faith journey.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Courtney Clark.
577 reviews100 followers
June 12, 2018
Author Karen Barnett captures the spirit of the era and the enormity and beauty of the setting in this romantic adventure story of an artist unaware of her own beauty and worth. From the immersive look at the back country and 1920s attractions of Yosemite to the quirks and endearing traits of the characters,Where the Fire Falls provides a charming and appealing story from start to finish.

The lead characters are vibrant and memorable — as much for their heart and faith journeys as their strengths and likable natures. Olivia is likable and relatable in her determination for success, even against all odds. I LOVED how a bit of mystery and suspense was woven into her storyline. And, it was NOT at all predictable! Just when I had my mind made up about someone or something, another turn proved me wrong!

And CLARK. His name alone is wonderful (heheh!) His confidence and capabilities in handling both nature and humans alike is impressive. He’s not without his insecurities, though, which make him all the more special (like his comical internal dialogue concerning Olivia!). Most importantly, his revelations of grace by story’s end are powerful and wonderfully complementary to Olivia’s own lessons.

I was thoroughly enthralled by this story — and can’t wait for the next installment in National Park adventures!

Thank you to Waterbrook & Multnomah for the review copy. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for Beth | Faithfully Bookish .
879 reviews195 followers
June 6, 2018
Full review on Faithfully Bookish

As much as I dream of road tripping all over this great big country of ours, visiting California never appealed to me… until this book! In addition to the captivating scenery, Oliva and Clark endure soul-deep seeking, searching, and yearning for spiritual restoration. Nature has a beautiful way of quieting the chaos and allowing us to see our need for forgiveness, direction, worth, peace, hope, etc., in a nutshell, our need and want of the Creator.

My national park bucket list keeps growing with each book in this Vintage National Parks series and I’m looking forward to the next literary journey to one of our nation’s natural treasures! Even if you are never able to visit these places in person, I highly recommend experiencing them through these inspiring and encouraging stories.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Marion.
59 reviews
December 1, 2018
This is the 2nd book in the Vintage National Parks series, and it was so good. If I could've, I would've sat and read it in one day. The story was mostly predictable, but the setting was amazing. I could see all the places she described even though it's been years since I've been to Yosemite. I was hoping characters from Road to Paradise would make an appearance, but I realize travel and communication wasn't as common in the 1920's. I recommend this book for those who like romance and painting or hiking/backpacking.
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews55 followers
May 16, 2018
The 2nd book National Parks series Yosemite is a new author for me. It was recommended to me by a friend. It Did not disappoint me but it is no my usual genre. It uses a historical romance and has a decided theme of the Christian religion. I will read the next me as I enjoyed learning about Yosemite National Park.
In 1929 Olivia Rutherford is hired to do a series of Watercolor paintings of Yosemite for a national magazine. Her artwork is just becoming known. Olive has a secret that she didn't want to become public knowledge. Only her manager is aware of this information. Clark Johnson is the tour guide and he also has a secret. He left his church in disgrace as member alert accused him of making passes at her. He has finally accepted his present job b wants to return to hoping people in their problems. Others along your are a society art patron and his wife, and a hermit. The donkey's all have names and personalities which adds much to the story. Then ending is a surprise. Will Clark figured out what happened before Olivia loses her life?

Disclosure: Many thanks to Waterbrook & Multnomah for a review copy. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Alisha.
1,043 reviews70 followers
April 27, 2019
Another well-written novel by Karen Barnett. This "Vintage National Parks" story takes place in the late 1920's in Yosemite.
Olivia is an up-and-coming artist hired by a magazine to paint scenes in the national park, though she is hesitant to venture so far. She's put a lot of effort into creating the perfect image of herself as a city-bred flapper type, plus Yosemite is the site of some serious family drama she's not keen to dredge up. She hopes she can capture the scenes she needs just by sitting out front of the lodge, no exploration required.
Clark is the paid guide chosen to look after Olivia and her friends. He's a former minister forced to leave his congregation because of some unsavory rumors that caught him off guard. He's not sure what to do next, but Yosemite is in his blood, and he loves his work...except the parts where he has to look after tourists who are clearly out of their depth. He's certain that Olivia falls into this category...but Yosemite has surprises for both of them.
As in the previous book, "The Road to Paradise," the setting is the real star here. The author does a great job of conveying how a location can leave you a changed person, or nudge you toward being your authentic self. I loved the descriptions of scenes that Olivia was painting. It also doesn't hurt that both Olivia and Clark are genuinely enjoyable characters and decent people who don't have to work too hard to get on the same page, in spite of outward appearances.
Another great read. Thanks to NetGalley and WaterBrook & Multnomah for the digital review copy.
Profile Image for Joan.
3,739 reviews71 followers
March 16, 2018
Barnett has given readers another fun historical adventure at a national park. We are transported to Yosemite National Park in 1929. Our main character is an up and coming water color artist who has an assignment to provide illustrations of the park for a magazine. Olivia needs the money but is concerned about her father's previous experiences at the park. If that dark secret got out it could ruin everything.

I appreciate the descriptions of the many beautiful features in the park's valley. Having visited the park just a couple of years ago, I liked that some of the characters expressed their emotional feelings of wonder at the scenery. I do wish there had been more detailed descriptions so readers could really get a sense of the park's wonders.

I felt the plot was a bit weak. Perhaps there were just too many aspects to it. In addition to the dark secret of Olivia's father was a wealthy and lecherous Vanderbilt as well as Olivia's greedy and very dangerous agent. To counter these was a valiant park employee. The plot provided a good deal of suspense and romance. I was disappointed that the role of Olivia's father just sort of faded at the end and was not resolved well.

I do recommend the novel to readers who enjoy an historical romantic suspense set in Yosemite Valley. Just don't expect to be overly in awe from the descriptions included in the book.

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Profile Image for Tina at Mommynificent.
601 reviews14 followers
March 11, 2020
This author has a real gift for describing the beauty of nature, and specifically the US National Parks, and directing all the glory to their Creator! She is also excellent at creating flawed and relatable characters that the reader enjoys cheering for. I love the way she weaves her characters' faith into the story and how that faith is never stagnant, but is challenged and grows throughout the story. I also enjoyed the way she writes romance - not too much and not too little. My only complaints are that her stories are a little slow to get into and her villains are too bad for my taste. I like a more relatable villain that I have some sympathy for, but this authors' villains are just awful. I know some people who love that though so it's probably just me. All in all, this series makes for an enjoyable read that feels like an escape into the mountains and encourages the reader's faith.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.
Profile Image for Dianna.
1,875 reviews32 followers
February 9, 2018
All I needed to hear was "vintage national parks series" and I knew I had to read this. Set in Yosemite in the 1920s, it follows a flapper painter who's been commissioned by a magazine to capture the spirit of Yosemite, and her ex-minister guide.

I enjoyed all the details of Yosemite (I've never been), the natural such as waterfalls, landscape, and mountains, but also the man-made attractions such as the fire falls and Camp Curry. Oh, and the mules. Loved them.

This is a Christian book, and I enjoyed the way that scriptures and thoughts about God's direction were woven into the story.
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