Where the Fire Falls Review

Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I have a secret to share. It has something to do with the author of the fantastic Where the Fire Falls. l’ll share it with you at the end of this post, but you have to promise to keep it mum. Deal? First, let’s talk about the latest in the Vintage National Parks Series!


About the Book

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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.





My Perspective

A beautiful setting, a secret that could change everything, humorous quotes, love and faith. What more could you want in a book? Where the Fire Falls truly has it all. Let me start with two of my favorite lines (note – these are from an arc copy and may have changed slightly in the final book):

“Everyone in this room is as fake as a schoolchild’s clay creation masquerading as a Rodin sculpture.”

“No, that woman is as fraudulent as a backwater medicine show.”

There are several more throughout the book, but these two really had me laughing the most. I love to laugh when I read. Others may feel different, especially because people tend to gawk at you, not understanding that reading a good book is essentially like living it, so of course you are going to laugh and cry when the time is right! It doesn’t bother me really. In fact, I think it’s rather comical in itself. What Karen Barnett has masterfully done is feed my need for a variety of emotions in this book. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, and I was amazed.

To my knowledge, Karen Barnett is not an artist, right? I cannot even fathom how she was able to show Yosemite National Park to the reader so vividly and through the eyes of a true artist. Instead of paint strokes, she used words to delicately embrace the artist’s world, and share a view of this national treasure that no one else would dare attempt. By the end of the book I almost felt like I could be out there as an artist myself, seeing the sun rays hit the water just so, or imagining exactly where a person needed to stand to capture the essence of the beauty around them. If you’ve never visited a national park, you will feel as if you have after reading this series. In addition, it will probably make you immediately go to google and start looking up hotel costs and trips costs to visit them.

In addition to painting an absolutely stunning setting, Karen Barnett weaves quite the tale where you cannot help but love Olivia and Clark. I have to say, sometimes I just wanted flick Clark’s forehead while telling him “Wake up dude”, but obviously you cannot do that to a character in a book. The thing about Clark was that he suffers from something we all do. Sometimes it’s hard to realize that God wants you exactly where you are today. So instead of always looking for something else, and asking God endlessly to point you into a different direction, maybe it’s time to listen to Him. We can connect with Olivia just as easily. Olivia wants to be seen by the “outside”, all the while masking on the inside who she truly is. Haven’t we done that a time of two, or maybe still are? Both of these characters really had to learn to lean on the Lord and let Him guide their ways. Just like you and I do.

This story is a piece of art. The series is a piece of art actually. The characters and settings are easy to love and will take your breath away. Although you don’t have to read the first book prior to reading this, I encourage you to do so anyway. It’s just as amazing and you won’t want to miss out! I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


About the Author

Karen Barnett

Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of The Golden Gate Chronicles (Out of the Ruins, Beyond the Ashes, and Through the Shadows) and Mistaken. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and three mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her family through dusty history museums. Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) honored her with the Writer of Promise Award in 2013 and a Cascade Award for her debut novel, Mistaken, in 2014. In 2016, she was named Writer of the Year by the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Karen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) and has been published in Guideposts and other national magazines.



Okay, it’s secret time. Are you ready?



Do you know this bear?

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photo courtesy of rangerbear_adventures instagram page


Ranger Bear is one of Karen’s best buds! He loves visiting National Parks, but in a few weeks, he’s going to be visiting A Baker’s Perspective! That’s right, Ranger Bear is going to be a guest on A Day in the Life. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to share with us!! Stay tuned, he’ll be here later in August 🙂


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