WHERE THE FIRE FALLS
John Muir considered Yosemite to be “pervaded with divine light” and, after reading this book, it’s easy to see why. The beautiful cover for this second Vintage National Parks novel from Barnett is like looking at a vintage postcard, one that acts as the gateway to the equally beautiful story inside. Through Olivia’s artistic eye, Yosemite National Park comes breathtakingly into focus as it was in the late 1920s. Her brushstrokes on canvas mirror the way Barnett paints words on the page, both artists vividly setting the scene and the mood of the story. The characters’ physical journey through Yosemite is skillfully blended into the characters’ spiritual journeys as well, pointing readers to the divine Creator who cherishes both the nature and the people He has placed there. Olivia and Clark’s backstories — and their secrets — are unique and compelling, drawing interest from the beginning and sustaining through the end. A passionate (but honorable) romance and danger from varying sources keep the tension high, even as the peaceful setting beckons readers to rest in His care. A must-read for historical fiction fans, armchair travelers, outdoorsy and/or artistic readers and for anyone who considers the mountains their happy place.
On the surface, Olivia Rutherford appears to be a flamboyant watercolor artist with an avant-garde talent and an up-and-coming career. Behind the makeup and trendy dresses and elite social gatherings, however, she’s still Livy Rudd with two sisters to protect from poverty and shameful family secrets. When she lands a once-in-a-lifetime contract with a popular travel magazine, painting illustrations of Yosemite, she is at once thrilled at the financial possibilities and terrified at facing those secrets she’s tried so hard to overcome. Her guide through the park is Clark Johnson, a disgraced former minister with a heart for the landscape and the people who make up the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite. His mission is to open her eyes to the park as he sees it, but he didn’t plan on opening his heart to her love in the process. When Olivia’s life and her career are endangered, she and Clark must protect each other, the park and their faith. (WATERBROOK, Jun., 352 pp., $9.99)