The Road to Paradise: A Review

The Road to Paradise, Karen Barnett’s newest novel and the first book in the Vintage National Parks Novel series, is a sweet story of two people’s interaction with God’s creation – a woman who sees His fingerprints in every flower and sunrise and a man whose past has blinded his eyes to the tenderness of God’s love as revealed in nature.

It’s the summer of 1927. Margaret “Margie” Lane, the only daughter of Senator Lane, has landed a job at Rainier National Park in Washington State. Her new boss, head ranger Ford Brayden, is skeptical about having a pampered debutante on his park staff. But the Senator’s funding for the park’s new administration building leaves him little alternative but to humor the poetry-spouting skylark with the curly hair.

Yet, as Ford watches Margie – her love for nature and the way she sees a story of love in every flower petal – something begins to change in him. Margie no longer seems ridiculous, but rather lovely. When Philip Carmichael, a slick operator who has just purchased the Rainier National Park Company, begins to pursue Margie, Ford’s defenses go up. As the plot unwinds, Margie and Ford must work together to halt the advances of Philip, who intends to develop the wilderness of Rainier for profit, and ultimately, use it as a bargaining power to gain Margie’s hand in marriage.

Favorite Elements:

  • Uniqueness – I’ve never read a book quite like this one. I particularly enjoyed the rich element the setting played in the story. The historical period and location were endearing and truly made the story.
  • Faith – This book taught me a little something about the way God works. I love how God isn’t forced into Margie’s life. He’s a part of it. She rejoices in His workmanship and seeks to share His love. She trusts Him to open the opportunities He desires for her to verbally witness to the lost and goes about glorifying Him until that time comes. Her demonstration of simple trust and love for our Creator has shown me the importance of letting go, rejoicing in the God of my salvation, and trusting Him to open the doors He wants me to walk through.
  • Cover – I know that sounds kind of shallow, but the cover is so cute and vintage-y. It immediately caught my eye when I was browsing for a book to review!

Least Favorite Elements:

  • Initial Character Development – At first, I felt Margie’s character was a little too perfect. She didn’t seem to have enough character flaws, or just overall spunk, to be relatable. However, if you stick with the story, you’ll soon see otherwise! She possesses a quiet determination – a paradoxical “gentle” spunk.

The Road to Paradise is now available for purchase in paperback, hardback, and e-book formats. To purchase the book, check out Amazon or the Waterbrook Multnomah publishers’ website.


I received this book as a review copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion, as represented in this review.


The Rescuer: A Review


I am really loving this pre-Thanksgiving season. I have found that my schedule has slowed down enough to let me enjoy a few good books. Could I really ask for anything more?

Anyway, I believe this is the 8th book I have finished in my 10 Book Reading Challenge. And I must say, I did find it an enjoyable read.

A little something about me: I love, love, LOVE thrillers (as long as they don’t involve mangled body parts, blood splattered hands, or psychopaths with weapons of mass destruction). I was kind of expecting The Rescuer to fall under the Christian thriller category when I picked up a copy for a buck at a book sale in the spring. As I got into the story, I realized it wasn’t quite what I expected (the back of the book classifies it as Christian Romance). It’s not really a thriller, although there are a few semi-thriller moments. But, despite failing to meet my original expectations, I found Dee Henderson’s final book in her O’Malley Series to be an enjoyable read. (Why am I reviewing the final book in a series without reviewing the previous 5 books, you may ask? Simple. I’m just weird like that.)

A little background on the O’Malley series: The O’Malley family is a group of “adopted” brothers and sisters who grew up without parents and learned to love each other like family through all the tough spots in life. As adults, the O’Malleys all have “exciting” jobs: Kate is a hostage negotiator, Jack is a fireman, Marcus is a U.S. Marshal. And Stephen, our man in this novel, is a Chicago paramedic.

After losing his “sister,” Jennifer, to cancer, Stephen O’Malley is running from his pain. He finds himself more and more unable to deal with the stresses at work as he becomes more personally involved in each victim’s case he treats. Yet, there’s one thing that can still put a smile on Stephen’s face: Meghan, a childhood friend and emergency room nurse.

Stephen’s grief is multiplied when Meghan is tragically blinded due to head trauma incurred from a car accident. The injustice of Meghan’s plight only adds to the fresh wound from Jennifer’s death. The only way Stephen knows how to deal with the pain is to take a break from the paramedic game. When Meghan moves back to her hometown in Silverton, Illinois, Stephen decides to give the little town a try, take up carpentry part-time, and purchase a farm as a fixer-upper project.

But, Stephen isn’t destined to catch that “down-time” he craves for healing. While in Silverton, he experiences a cyclone of the unexpected – ranging from discovering a jewelry stealing ring, to falling in love, to slowly coming to see Jesus as someone he can trust. His journey to healing is one filled with excitement that will keep the reader riveted to the story.

I’ve never read any of Dee Henderson’s books. But, after reading The Rescuer, I’ll have to check out some of her other works.(I’ve got book 4 in the O’Malley Series – The Protector – sitting on my bookshelf right now. I’ll have to read it this winter.) I find her writing style somewhat similar to Colleen Coble’s in her novel, Distant Echoes. If you liked that book or if you just need a little spice in your literary diet of classics, I encourage you to check out The Rescuer and the rest of the O’Malley series.


Happy Reading!

~The Vintage Book Lady