Historical Fiction, Review

Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

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about the book

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.”

Where the Fire Falls by Karen BarnettWatercolorist 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.

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my thoughts

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! Now my preconceived notions of gridlocked traffic and overcrowded beaches have been replaced with a natural wonderland poised to inspire, awe, and glorify its Maker.

(side trail: As a resident of southern Illinois, I should know better than to judge an entire state for its metropolitan constipation. In my defense, the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains are time-consuming obstacles which also factored into my blasé regard for the Golden State.)

In addition to the captivating scenery, Oliva and Clark endure soul-deep seeking, searching, and yearning for spiritual restoration (even if they don’t realize it at first). 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. These two are a hot mess and I love it (because there are a lot of times when I’m a hot mess, too)!

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.


Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett quote graphic courtesy of publisher, review on Faithfully Bookish
thanks to the publisher for this quote graphic


about the author

Karen BarnettKaren Barnett is an award-winning author of five novels who draws on her firsthand experience as a naturalist, former park ranger, and outdoor educator to transport readers to America’s national parks.

She lives in Oregon with her husband, two teenagers, and three mischievous dachshunds.

When she’s not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her kids through boring history museums.

You might also enjoy following her little buddy, RangerBear on Instagram.

website | facebook | twitter | instagram


Vintage National Parks series

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett


Golden Gate Chronicles series

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 Have YOU visited Mt. Ranier or Yosemite National Parks, reader friends?!
Would you consider yourself outdoorsy or not or somewhere in between?

4 thoughts on “Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett”

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