This novel is a fun and entertaining summer read. We find out a bit about Yellowstone during the Great Depression years. We learn much more about the Civilian Conservation Corps, Roosevelt's program to put unemployed men to work. There is a little intrigue, a little suspense and a little romance included in the plot too.
I would have liked to see a stronger development of most of the characters. Elsie, the lead female, was crafted well. I had a sense of her personality and her dreams. I thought the other characters could have been fleshed out more, revealing more of what drove them to their actions.
I would have also liked more scenic descriptions of the bubbling pools and geysers. I wanted to feel like I'd been there when I finished the book but I did not. I would have appreciated more information about the geology of the area too. Elsie gave geology lessons to the CCC fellows and it is too bad Barnett did not share them with readers.
The strength of this novel is Barnett's attention to detail. Her Author's Note at the end of the book showed much of the content of the book was based on historical fact. It was interesting to read about beetle infestations and fires and the effects on the trees.
Readers looking for a pleasant novel in an interesting historical setting will like this one. Just don't expect to read very much about the actual geological features of Yellowstone.
You can read an excerpt here.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Karen Barnett is the author of the Vintage National Parks Novel series as well as four other novels. She has worked as a ranger naturalist and outdoor educator at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Silver Falls State Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. She lives in Oregon with her family.
WaterBrook, 352 pages.
I received a complimentary advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.