I have enjoyed each and every one of Karen Barnett’s books since I had the opportunity to review “Mistaken” back in 2013. With each succeeding book I have grown to appreciate this author’s skill in developing fresh plots and engaging characters. As long as she continues to write books, I will read them!

“Where the Fire Falls” is the second of Barnett’s Vintage National Parks Novels. Although these books are part of a series, each stands easily on its own with new characters and story lines. This particular volume is set in Yosemite National Park and features a young artist sent there to paint a series of watercolors for a travel magazine. Somewhat fearful that even being in the park might reveal family history she would like to keep hidden, Olivia knows that the income from the paintings is necessary to help care for her younger sisters. Back country guide Clark Johnson is not very impressed with the flapper Olivia appears to be but soon catches glimpses of and falls in love with the real Olivia that she attempts to keep hidden.

A wonderful story of two wounded people searching for meaning in their lives, “Where the Fire Falls” is filled with drama, suspense, betrayal, and romance that is woven together against the majestic backdrop of mountains, waterfalls, and wilderness of historic Yosemite. It was fun experiencing the park through the eyes of Olivia and Clark, especially the Firefall event each evening. I was actually able to find an old video of the phenomenon from the 1960s that gave me a tiny idea of what campers may have experienced during the early years in the park. I especially liked watching Clark and Olivia’s relationship as it grew as well as how each of them grew in their faith and discovered the plans God had for them.

I hope everyone will pick up copies of “Where the Fire Falls” and also the first book of the series “The Road to Paradise”. I enjoyed both and highly recommend them.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Blogging For Books. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


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 has shed her humble beginnings to fashion 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 opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark opens 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.

 Read the first chapter of Where the Fire Falls.


KAREN BARNETT, author of Mistaken, Out of the Ruins, and Beyond the Ashes, is a former park ranger. She worked as a ranger naturalist and outdoor educator at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Silver Falls State Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. When not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, and public speaking. She lives in Oregon with her family.