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Where the Fire Falls

(Vintage National Parks #2)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  160 reviews
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 illustra
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by WaterBrook (first published June 2018)
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4.28  · 
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 ·  302 ratings  ·  160 reviews

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Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
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
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.
Jocelyn Green
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. ...more
Sarah Sundin
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-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 Yosemi
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chautona Havig
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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… s
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
I am not an outdoorsy kind of girl, so when I have the opportunity to visit a national park from the comforts of home, I jump at the chance! Where The Fire Falls was exactly the trip I was looking for!

Mystery, intrigue, suspense and romance are woven so beautifully together in this story. The pages flew by effortlessly. The setting of Yosemite is so vividly written its easy to get lost in the pages of this book.

Every single character was amazing! There are two sides to Olivia: the poised artist
Jaime Jo Wright
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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 o
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
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 influenc ...more
Sarah Monzon
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 har
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
Another book nothing short from amazing! I'm head over heels for this series <3

Olivia Rutherford has been carrying a heavy load for a decade, and, in order to escape from the past, she's carefully constructed the image she wants others to see - a flamboyant persona that will guarantee her success without being stained by the Rudd's name. She's pretty sure no one cares to study what's hidden under heavy makeup, red lips, and ebony hair as long as her paintings keep them happy. Nobody is intere
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 w ...more
Rachel McMillan
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 fres
Courtney Clark
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Beth Erin
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 pa
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 o ...more
Rebekah Morris
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
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 sitti
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. Havin
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, arc, e-books, cozy
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 wan
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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 enjo
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Yosemite is a cathedral built by holy hands...He hoisted up the cliffs, sculpted them with glaciers...God dropped a ridiculous amount of beauty in one place.”

I so thoroughly enjoyed this story! Each of the main characters have interesting back stories, but that really wasn’t what I found most enjoyable in the story. I enjoyed that the simple things in life...and the beauty of God’s creation we’re really the focus of this book. The characters are fun...even the secondary ones! I mostly enjoyed t
Trisha Robertson (Joy of Reading)
This sweeping, panoramic story is a feast for the eyes and the imagination! Karen's writing is dynamic and colorful and effortlessly transported me right into the heart of Yosemite Valley. It took me a few chapters to get into the story and really get to know the characters and feel for them. The story really picks up speed as you get deeper in and before I knew it, I could hardly turn the pages fast enough for wanting to know what would happen next.

Clark is somewhat of a lone-wolf. He keeps mos
First, I just have to mention the cover of this book. It is perfect! Second, it took me twice as long as normal to read this book, because I spent so much time googling all the landmarks at Yosemite, hairstyles, and even songs! I feel like I’ve actually been to Yosemite after reading this story. And it is now on my bucket list! The descriptive writing makes it so easy to picture the scenery while also making you want to actually see the scenery. And I loved the authors note at the end where Kare ...more
Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)
A beautiful setting, a secret that could change everything, humorous quotes, love and faith. What more could you want in a book? Where the Fire Falls truly has it all. Let me start with two of my favorite lines (note - these are from an arc copy and may have changed slightly in the final book):

"Everyone in this room is as fake as a schoolchild's clay creation masquerading as a Rodin sculpture."

"No, that woman is as fraudulent as a backwater medicine show."

There are several more throughout the bo
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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)
  • The Road to Paradise (Vintage National Parks, #1)
  • Ever Faithful (Vintage National Parks, #3)