THE ROAD TO PARADISE
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 Mount Rainier's long shadow.
But Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is still haunted by his father's death on the mountain, and the ranger takes his work managing the park and it's crowd of visitor's seriously. The job of watching over an idealistic senator's daughter with few practical survival skills seems a waste of resources.
When Margie's former fiance sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, the plans might put more than the park's pristine beauty in danger. What will Margie and Ford sacrifice to preserve the splendor and simplicity of the wilderness they both love?
Karen Barnett's vintage national parks novels bring to life President Theodore Roosevelt's vision for protected lands, when he wrote in Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter: "There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children's children forever, with their majestic beauty unmarred."
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 Barnett cleverly sets the stage for one very captivating read.
Margie is a tree sprite in human form while Ford is all no-nonsense mountain man. She's rapturously poetic about nature, can spout verse and quotes from renowned naturalists -- a book-taught city girl with a love for the great outdoors. He's as pragmatic as they come and doesn't have a romantic bone in his body so when some Senator's socialite daughter wants to play naturalist on his mountain for the summer, well, he's less than thrilled.
And there's poor Margie, naively anticipating a warm welcome as she prepares to sit at the feet of the master. "Margie sighed. Ranger Brayden -- born on the mountain, untainted by human society. He sounded like the embodiment of Rousseau's noble savage. "I'm positive we'll get along splendidly." (p 3)
Bwahahahaha! That untainted by human society bit? Yeah, that means he's kinda grumpy. And set in his ways. Unpolished. Short on patience. But he's..excuse the pun...stuck between a rock and a hard place. Because he has orders from the boss:
"Find a way to make it work. Show her a good time. " He snorted, a smirk pulling at the corners of his mouth."Who knows? Maybe she can turn you into a gentleman."
Ford gritted his teeth. "Unlikely." (p 9)
The way their relationship develops is sheer brilliance. And if that was all there was to this story I'd be a happy reader but there's so much more! Like a truly despicable villain with absolutely no redeeming characteristics. It's pure joy to hate him. I know that sounds terrible but sometimes a reader wants to let loose some righteous indignation!
And the piece de resistance is the powerful conversion story that blew me away with its imagery and heart. Simply stunning.
If you would like a chance at winning a copy of The Road to Paradise, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday April 1 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!