Ever Faithful (Vintage National Parks Series #3)

Ever Faithful (Vintage National Parks Series #3)

by Karen Barnett


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Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more—and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can't read will never amount to anything—or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain "requirements." Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.
Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger's daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park's hotels, she still hasn't saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate's secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735289581
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/18/2019
Series: Vintage National Parks Series , #3
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 125,880
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

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.

Read an Excerpt

April 1933

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Elsie closed her eyes for a moment and breathed in the steamy air, imagining she stood beside Grand Prismatic Spring instead of the massive laundry boiler in the back of the Mammoth Hot Springs Lodge. She tucked a damp curl behind her ear before loading another stack of folded bedsheets and towels onto the molly cart. After pushing it through the swinging doors, she rolled the cart down the wooden ramp, the outside air a welcome respite. Two more summers—three at most. That’s all it would take.

Mary stood waiting, fiddling with the pink kerchief protecting her pale-blond hair. “There you are. If we get these last housekeeping cabins finished in time, we can meet Hal and Bernie at the cafeteria for lunch.” She flashed a smile at Elsie. “You’ll come, won’t you?”

Elsie guided the cart’s wheels through the icy slush on the sidewalk. “You’ve only been back in Yellowstone two days, and you’re already angling for dates? I thought you told me you weren’t seeing pack rats anymore.”

Pack rats, pillow punchers, pearl divers—the concession staff had a language all its own, and it all sounded like more laughs than being boring old porters, maids, and dishwashers. The rangers lumped the lot of them together, calling them all savages. No one could remember how the ridiculous name was chosen, but it had stuck for close to fifty years already.

“Hal’s been promoted to front desk at the hotel—hadn’t you heard? And though he’s hardly the man of my dreams, I don’t see any better choices around here at the moment.” Mary leaned in with a conspiratorial air. “I hear the new gear jammers are coming in a couple of weeks. They always hire the best-looking fellas to drive the tour buses.”

“That’s probably why the jammers are notorious for having a girl at every stop.” Elsie veered left to avoid a puddle. “I’d like to join you for lunch, but I need to run home and check on Mama. I’ll be back right after, and we can fold the rest of the sheets.”

“I’ve been meaning to ask how she is. Your last two letters didn’t sound promising.”

A knot formed in Elsie’s stomach. “She had a few bad spells this winter. The doctor says it’s her heart. He wants her to rest more.”

“Has she had heart problems before?”

“She had rheumatic fever as a child.” Elsie tightened her grip on the cart handle. “But I’ve never seen her like this.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. She’s like a second mother, not just to me, but to all the pillow punchers.” She unlocked the cabin door and pushed it open. “I suppose it was a good thing you were here to help and not off at college with the rest of us.”

Elsie had told herself the same, though it did little to ease the sting of being left behind. “When does Rose arrive, do you know? I’ve missed her.”

“Around the same time as the jammers, I believe.” Mary grabbed Elsie’s hand and squeezed. “I’m glad I came early. We’ll be the three musketeers for at least one more summer. Who knows where Rose and I will go after graduation?” She heaved a sigh that stirred the dusty air in the room. “Oh, my. This cabin looks worse than the last one. How is that possible? Ugh, the smell.”

“That’s what happens when you latch the door and leave it abandoned for months on end.” She understood too well. Elsie reached for the bottle of vinegar and a handful of newspapers. “I’ll start on the glass. You can knock down the cobwebs.”

Mary wrinkled her nose and lifted the broom. “If I find any spiders, it’ll be up to you to dispatch them.”

As Elsie scrubbed the veil of dirt from the panes, sunlight filtered into the tiny space and revealed a fine layer of dust coating the room. It was the maids’ job to refresh the old cabins, just like spring renewed the world each year, and prepare for the visitors to come.

She’d continue making beds and sweeping floors until she had enough money for the teacher program at the University of Montana. She’d dreamed of being a teacher since she was little, and spending her winters helping at the school in Gardiner, just outside the park’s northern boundaries in Montana, had only deepened the desire. Every new student arrived with potential hidden inside, like the seeds sealed up in the cones from the lodgepole pine trees. It was her job to help them find it.

After sweeping and dusting, Mary tucked the crisp white sheets around the mattress and patted the top. “I think we’re almost done here. Are you sure you can’t join us for lunch? Hal’s brother will be odd man out if you don’t come.”

“Bernie is an odd duck, no matter what I do.” Elsie shoved the dresser back in place after cleaning behind it. “Of course, I’m no catch myself.” Her hand went to her collar out of habit, her fingers checking that the blouse was buttoned all the way to the neck.

Mary straightened, her eyes darkening. “Bite your tongue, Elsie Brookes. Any man would count himself lucky to earn your affection. You just don’t grant it easily.” She leaned on the broom. “Maybe this summer we’ll both find nice boys to take us away from all this.”

“Take us away? Why would anyone want to leave?” Elsie glanced out the open door toward the distant springs, the late morning sunshine casting a golden glow over the rising steam. If she could secure a teaching position in Gardiner, she would stay forever.

“You’ve got a classic case of park fever. You should just marry a ranger and get it over with.” Mary dropped her broom and dustpan into the cart. “What about the new fella? He’s a little quiet, but he looks like a movie star. What was his name?”

“Teddy Vaughn.” Elsie managed to speak his name without her voice wobbling. The first time she’d encountered the brown-eyed ranger, she’d somehow lost all ability to string words together or even swallow for a heady moment. But she couldn’t let her heart go there. No one would ever want her in that way. “I’m dedicating my life to education; you know that. I’m not looking to get married.”

“I’ll never understand you.” Her roommate wrinkled her nose. “Why waste time on other people’s children when you can have ones of your own? You and Ranger Vaughn would make beautiful babies.”

Elsie couldn’t help giggling at Mary’s silliness. Just having her friend back in the park made everything brighter. “Why don’t you head off to meet the boys for lunch? I can finish the last cabin.”

Mary brightened. “Really? But what about your mother?”

“I’ll still have time to check in. Go have fun.”

Her friend tore off her kerchief and fluffed her hair. “You’re the best, Els. I’ll give Bernie a peck on the cheek from you.”

“Don’t you dare.”

Elsie made short work of the last cabin and then pointed the molly cart in the direction of the laundry. A small herd of elk grazed on the green lawn surrounding the lodge. A cow elk, heavy with her unborn calf, lifted her head to stare back, chewing leisurely. The animals had over three thousand square miles of park to wander but seemed to prefer it here. And the visitors enjoyed the close proximity to the wildlife.

“There’s my girl. I was looking for you.” Her father strode toward her, the broad-brimmed Stetson casting shadows over his face. “Are you finished for the morning?” He reached for the cart handles.

“You don’t have to do that. I’ve got it.”

“You think I’m too good to haul laundry?” He cast her his usual grin. “How do you think I won your mother’s affections? It wasn’t with my stamp collection. Or my dashing good looks.”

“She said it was your servant’s heart.” Her mother’s true words wrapped around her own heart.

“Yes, indeed. ‘Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.’ It’s not just the key to a happy home, Elsie—”

“I know. It’s the key to a happy life.” Only her parents could make the golden rule sound romantic. “And I’ll remember that when I finally get all my pennies saved for college. Then I’ll make you proud.”

“I’ve always been proud. You were meant for bigger things than this place.”

“Bigger than Yellowstone?” The idea rippled through her. “That’s ridiculous.”

“Bigger than being a simple ranger like your old man.”

Reading Group Guide


1. Have you had the joy of visiting Yellowstone National Park? What were some of your favorite "wonders" you saw while there? If you haven't visited yet, what would you most like to see?

2. Elsie has dreamed of being a teacher since she was little—a desire she feels God planted in her heart. Is there a dream you've held close for many years?

3. Even though Nate is grown, he still hears his father's harsh words telling him that he's dumb and a failure. In the story, what helps him move past them? Are there hurtful words from your past that you've internalized? What are some ways you can put these voices to rest?

4. Early in the story Mary says to Elsie, "I'm never serene. I'm bubbly and feisty like your beloved geysers." If you were to describe yourself in Yellowstone terms, which would you choose?

a. Bubbly and feisty like a geyser

b. Calm and serene like Yellowstone Lake on a sunny day

c. Strong and stubborn like a bison

d. Playful and mischievous like a raccoon kit

e. Temperamental and explosive like a mud pot

f. Loving and fiercely protective like a mama grizzly

g. and like a (fill in your own).

5. Elsie's parents believe that the key to love and happiness is found in Matthew 7:12, which says, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (NKJV)." Do you believe this command can be applied to marriage? What does that look like?

6. Early on, Mary and Rose seemed to think that Teddy was Elsie's perfect match. Why didn't things work out between them? Do you think her parents' teaching played into her decision? What was it about Nate that Elsie preferred?

7. Were you surprised to discover the arsonist's identity? When you first started reading, who did you think it was going to be and why?

8. Throughout the story, Rose is showing symptoms of depression, but her friends don't take it seriously. Mary even says, "How long will she mope?" Do you have a close friend or family member who struggles with depression or anxiety? Have you dealt with these issues in your own life? Were you able to get help? How has our understanding of depression changed since Rose's time?

9. Elsie's relationship with her cousin Graham is tenuous at best. Her mother tells her, "Forgiveness isn't earned. It's bestowed." Is there someone in your life you've struggled to forgive? How did you get to the point where you could "bestow" forgiveness on that person? Or have you?

10. It's not until after Elsie has granted forgiveness that she learns about Graham's kissing adventures. Do you think she was wrong in forgiving him? What do you do when someone you've forgiven stumbles again?

11. The cones of the lodgepole pine are serotinous, a scientific term meaning they don't open unless conditions are right. For this species, they only release their seeds after fire melts their thick coat of pitch. Ranger Brookes compares the cone to our lives as Christians. There are many references to fire in Scripture, but these are some of my favorites. Can you think of how the story of the lodgepole pine is similar? How is it different?

a. Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:12-13, NKJV)

b. I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them.
I will say, "This is My people";
And each one will say, "The LORD is my God." (Zechariah 13:9, NKJV)

c. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:2, NKJV)

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Ever Faithful (Vintage National Parks Series #3) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
lghiggins 18 days ago
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 1933 The middle of the Great Depression Ever Faithful is the tale of young people from various walks of life joined by employment at Yellowstone. Some are pack rats (porters), some pillow punchers (maids), and others pearl divers (dishwashers). Additional college students working the summer are tour bus drivers and laundry workers. Throw into the mix a contingent of down and out, unemployed and often uneducated young men from the cities, part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) founded by President Roosevelt to combat unemployment and the problems that can arise from idleness and defeated attitudes. All of these young people have pasts that affect their presents. Elsie, the daughter of a park ranger, loves Yellowstone and has spent many summers working hard at the inns at the park to achieve her dream—to go to college to become a teacher. She and her friends have romantic entanglements typical of summer romances. Some, however, seem more serious than others. Vaughn, a park ranger, sets his eyes on Elsie as does Nate Webber who has taken a CCC job to get out of trouble and provide money for his family in New York. Secrets abound and some are potentially deadly as they are linked to wildfires that could destroy the dry, pine beetle infested forests of Yellowstone. After an interesting story with a historically accurate setting, author Karen Barnett moves the story ahead four years with a quite satisfactory epilogue. Then she provides information on the main aspects of this work of historical fiction and notes a few minor discrepancies as well as how the park has changed. Yellowstone with its bears, bison, geysers, and vistas is on many a bucket list. Some of the original inns remain while others have been replaced. There are probably too many tourists, but it is still a park that belongs to the people, and it is a wonderful setting for this tale.
4GranJan 29 days ago
1930's Yellowstone Park Romance This is a wonderful look into the Yellowstone Park of the Great Depression. It is a clean romance as well. The era is depicted well with vintage cabins, lodges, vehicles, clothing, and tools. Very well done. I have read the other books in the series and love them all. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
Kristen_Gwen_Johnson 29 days ago
I am never disappointed by a Karen Barnett book. Ever Faithful was no exception. Elsie Brookes is a pillow puncher (maid) at Yellowstone National Park. She dreams of attending college and becoming a teacher. When the opportunity to earn extra money by teaching a group of CCC boys she’s reluctant, but this chance is too good to pass up. Nate Webber took the fall for a crime his brother committed. Instead of going to jail, he’s sent to a CCC camp to chop down beetle-infested trees in Yellowstone. Older than most of the boys, it becomes clear that he’s leadership material. If only he could read the training manual. When Elsie discovers that Nate can’t read, she’s determined to help him learn. Soon he’s studying more than just his letters. He’s figuring out how to win Elsie’s heart. But there is a firebug at Yellowstone National Park and suspicion is thrown on the CCC men. Can Nate and Elise figure out who is setting the fires before someone gets hurt? I loved these characters. They were so alive and there were several times I really feared for their future. Barnett’s style is so lovely and picturesque as she takes you through the story and leads you on a tour of the 1930’s Yellowstone Park with its summer staff, yellow buses, and many geysers. Highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Phyllis_H 3 months ago
Mystery in the National Parks While I've heard of the Civilian Conservation Corps, I never really gave them much thought. In fact, I never  realized that this program was only for young men. Author Karen Barnett now has me very interested in the CCC and the men who were part of it. I loved Nate! As an avid reader, it is hard to even imagine how awful it would be to struggle to read and to be labeled stupid and worthless because you can't. Yet Nate's response was still to be a man of integrity and to protect his siblings and provide for them in any way he could. Therefore, he was willing to go nearly to the other side of the country to do a job he knew nothing about. His responses to the beauty of Yellowstone were quite natural, especially from one who had never been outside of Brooklyn. There was a thread of mystery as a series of fires were started around the park. The author did a great job of clearly providing the right clues and yet misdirecting enough that I wasn't sure who was starting them until right before it was revealed. I did feel some of the details didn't make sense and that something more was going to be shared about one of the characters who was a little ""off"" yet the author didn't seem to finish that thread. Perhaps that will be followed up in another story... Lovers of national parks and lovers of historical fiction are likely to enjoy this fun story! Read my review of Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett at AmongTheReads.net I was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own.
Virginiaw 3 months ago
This series just keeps getting better. I loved the characters. I loved to learn about the men and women that worked for the national parks. This story makes me want to visit these areas. I really enjoyed reading about the way Elsie started to teachNate to read. This story has a lot of twists and turns. I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
jess_baker_614 4 months ago
I have been in love with the Vintage National Parks series since book one. Karen Barnett just has a way of not only bringing history to life, but bringing these parks to life. She makes the reader want to embark on a cross country journey to visit all of these amazing places, even if they do look a little different today. With her descriptive words, and engaging characters, you cannot help but become mesmerized by the story. Ever Faithful brought not only great characters, but a good mystery that kept me on my toes. I was sure I knew the villain behind all the fires. I had figured out the motive, the means, and even the cover story for that character. But in a fun plot line twist, I found myself wrong, which made the story even more exciting! As I came to that part of the story, I then had to go back in my mind to see how Barnett brought it all together. If I had read more between the lines, I probably could have figured it out, but alas I was reading it as it was. She wrote this part brilliantly. Elsie and Nate are two characters that I would love to see more of. Both had things in their past haunting them, and both had to learn how to ultimately let go of those feelings and see themselves as the Lord sees them - beautiful children of God. What I liked most was their connection. It was innocent at first, but over time sort of blossomed into something neither one of them was sure about. But here's something even better - Barnett manages to tackle a tough topic in a remarkable way. Many people would see Nate as illiterate, but Elsie managed to understand how gifted he truly was. And she found a way to help him read. So many people struggle with exactly what Nate does - seeing the letters get all jumbled up on the paper. Bravo Barnett for bringing this to light, and showing how truly smart a person that has this struggle can be. Nate learned more than any other worker there, and it wasn't because he read. It was because he listened and paid attention. I really enjoyed this part of the story! Barnett has hit another home run with the latest in this series. It can be read as a standalone, but why not start at the beginning!? I think you'll find yourself planning your next vacation! I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
TheCompulsiveReader7 4 months ago
(4.5 stars) - totally worth the time This is the 3rd of Barnett's "Vintage Parks" series, and worthy of its membership therein - I believe it's even the best of the series. Each book is a complete standalone story; the common thread is that each takes place at a different national park during the time period when the system was just beginning to develop. While this one is not aa action packed or exciting as the 2nd was, it's pace is steady, and the story keeps pulling you in more and more as you go. The history is just as fascinating & immersive as ever. To be honest, it didn't pull me in right away, so I started out worrying that the story wasn't going to hold my interest, that Elsie wasn't a strong character, that Vaughan was going to be a bad boyfriend stereotype, disliking Mary, thinking that I knew who the firebug would turn out to be, and the book overturned all my expectations. There isn't quite as much of the park description as in previous books, but much as I loved Yellowstone, I think it suited this story best as it was done. It's believably written, and by the end of the story, I was thoroughly invested in the characters - and I loved the happily-ever-after epilogue best of all. Clean romance level: passionate kisses Religion: some talk of God's plan for your life & why He lets bad things happen, but it's so low key & non-preachy, only an anti-theist could find it objectionable. Language: some may consider a one time use of "God-knows-where" as using His Name in vain
JudyinHuntsvilleAL 4 months ago
Karen Barnett gave us a great book that gave me a little history about the CCC in one of our greatest National Parks while taking me along on Elsie's summer at the park in the 1930s. There's love interests, suspicious fires - that kept me guessing til the very end - and time for good life choices as they listen to God's guidance. Speaking of fires, here's a quote I love, "The fire doesn't kill seeds? - "It sets them free," the ranger said. "Most of us ask God for an easy life. We even ask for it for our children. But sometimes it takes a little heat to break loose the seeds He's planted deep inside us. Seeds we probably didn't even know were there." Love it. Now I've got to find the other two books in the series and catch up! And, yep, I read it in one evening. It's that good -
OntoHerBookshelf 4 months ago
I had the pleasure of meeting Karen Barnett at a conference last year, and so enjoyed chatting with her, that I knew I had to try one of her novels. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to dive into one of her Vintage National Parks novels! The history in Ever Faithful is astounding. It felt like a step back in time, to a place as real and alive as the present. I loved being able to learn about the park’s early years, and experience the good, the bad, and the strange. The characters of this book were compelling as well. Elsie knows the power of fear and the past and how it can grab hold of you. Her growth as she faces those fears was moving, and I really enjoyed reading about it. Nate is a great hero. Unsure of himself, definitely, but his qualities of leadership, loyalty, and love for others are ones to be admired. The plot and the mystery that begins to spin out as the book progresses were both great. It kept me second guessing almost all the way to the end, which I really enjoyed. In all, I liked Ever Faithful. The theme of faith and God’s work in our lives was subtle, but powerful. This book made me want to pick up the others and go on a road trip to our other national wonders, which I think was exactly what Ms. Barnett wanted. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
FHlady 4 months ago
Barnett is writing a series of books that each focus on the early days of one of our National Parks. Each reads well as a stand-alone. It is spring 1933 in Yellowstone National Park and work crews are readying the park for the summer crowd. This year, due to the still lingering effects of the Depression, groups of young men from the Civilian Conservation Corps will be assisting in this work. Nate has joined the CCC in order to help out his family financially. Elsie, the daughter of one of the park rangers, will be once again working to make money in order to attend college and become a teacher. This year as well as her usual job in the hotel, Elsie will be working with the young men in the evenings to assist in developing their reading and writing skills. Both Nate and Elsie are plagued by what they believe are unsurmountable problems that keep them from achieving their personal and educational dreams. The interaction between Nate and Elsie and the growing relationship between them is sweet to watch. Both lack self-confidence and need to believe that God does have plans for them to prosper. Living just a short distance from Yellowstone in northern Colorado and having seen it in the early 1950's up til now, it was interesting to view it from an even earlier time period. Barnett's descriptions were wonderful at creating pictures of the wonder and beauty found at Yellowstone. The touch of suspense with the arson fires and the slowly developing romance between Nate and Elsie along with Elsie's friendship with Rose and Mary rounded out an interesting plot. I loved the names for each of the groups of workers e.g. "pillow punchers" for the hotel maids. Definitely a series I would recommend. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
LGHudson 5 months ago
BEAUTIFUL STORY! EVER FAITHFUL is the latest novel in the Vintage National Park Series by author Karen Barnett. This is set in beautiful Yellowstone when it was still very wild and untamed back in 1933. It surrounds two main characters, Nate and Elise. Their backgrounds differ immensely because she has grown up in Yellowstone (her Dad is a Ranger) & he has grown up in New York. They both share unbelievable broken pasts and hurts and that helps them them form a friendship. Barnett paints a beautiful background for her plot as she describes all the many wonders of Yellowstone. She adds a varied cast of characters including Rangers, workers in the hotels, on the grounds, bus drivers (all with clever nicknames!) and the CCC workers who’ve come to work in the National Park, too. Barnett shows the fortitude and determination that it took for those dedicated people to invest their lives in Yellowstone and in doing so some of them found the the love of their lives. I was provided an ARC of this book by Waterbrook&Multnomah & NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
ConR 5 months ago
I am a fan of Karen Barnett, I won't lie! I've been looking forward to reading this book for so long! One of the first thoughts I had was that though the story involves some past tragedies, it's a gentle and soft story. Not every issue you deal with in life is glaring and loud. I don't really know how to explain it...you'll just have to read the story. I love the setting, both physical and its' place in time. There are so many threads of interest in here as well.....the CCC work in the 30's, the work in the national park, learning problems...lots of tangents you could go off on, and frankly I don't know how Karen chose the "just enough to pique your interest" point! Bottom line, it's a treasure!
amybooksy 5 months ago
I was excited to get my hands on Karen Barnett’s third installment from her Vintage National Parks series. Ever Faithful does not disappoint. I really liked this story. I enjoyed the historical details of Yellowstone. I loved the characters, especially, Elsie. I felt a connection to her from the start. It was fun getting to know her and Nate. I loved them interacting with one another. I give Ever Faithful four and a half stars. I look forward to the next release by Karen Barnett. I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
bsnksmom 5 months ago
Elsie Brookes grew up as the daughter of Yellowstone's head ranger, and takes great pride in her knowledge of geology gained from the park. Her greatest desire, though, is to teach, but even after four years of working as a "pillow puncher" (hotel maid, for those of us who don't know the Yellowstone Park lingo), she still doesn't have enough money in her savings for her college tuition. When she is offered an extra stipend to teach the new Civilian Conservation Corps boys, she jumps at the chance. Many of the young men never finished high school and are barely literate. Is she up to the challenge? Nate Webber has spent his life trying to keep food on his family's table. When his little brother gets in trouble, Nate takes the blame on his own shoulders. Given the choice of joining the CCC or jail, he chooses to travel to Yellowstone. His father has told him all his life that he is stupid and worthless because he can't read, but he is willing to work hard if it means he will be able to send money home to his starving family, and hopefully, keep his brother out of jail. When Nate's natural leadership abilities get him a job as foreman, can he keep his inability to read or write from his superiors when they expect weekly written reports from him? As Elsie gets more acquainted with the new CCC recruits, she is drawn again and again to Nate's quiet confidence. Sure that he is the best man in the bunch, she is stunned to realize that the secret he's been keeping is something she may be able to help with. As they work together on his reading, they discover more than a friendship. When random fires break out in the park, threatening the very lives of those entrusted with preserving it, Elsie and Nate work to discover who has been setting them. Burned as a child, Elsie has a more than healthy fear of flames. Can she work past her fears to track down the real culprit? Well, I now have a "new" place I want to visit. Yellowstone National Park came to life in Ever Faithful in a new, and majestic way as I read Nate and Elsie's story. The sense of history was enthralling, and the pictures I've seen on Facebook of many of the sites from the book made it much easier to picture things as I read them. I can hardly wait to pick up the first two books in this series about the history of some of our National Parks. Sweet romance readers will love this story. There are actually a couple of romances going on during this story, but Nate and Elsie's is the main one. There is also a good bit of American history here, mostly from right after the start of the Great Depression, during the tenure of FDR. The CCC was part of his New Deal program, and in this story, most of the men who participated appreciated having work in a time when jobs were scarce. Three squares a day didn't hurt, nor did the muscles they gained doing the work required. These historical tidbits were fascinating! I would absolutely recommend this book, and look forward to reading the other two. I'm also hoping Ms. Barnett has even more parks she wants to write about!
Pattistep 5 months ago
Here’s your fair warning: I am going to gush over how much I love this book. I have been following this “Vintage National Parks” series by Karen Barnett and this book, set in Yellowstone in 1933, is just as fabulous as the other books in this series. Her storylines are always intriguing, with a little touch of mystery/suspense. The research she’s done about the history of the National Parks gives these books an authentic feel, and you feel as if you stepped off the bus right into the time period when the park lodges were new and filled with the wealthy who could afford to visit; or else working alongside the many young people it took to keep the parks and lodges open to the public. The characters of Nate and Elsie give this book its heart. Both have had great obstacles to overcome in their lives. Nate grew up in Brooklyn during the days of the Depression. Having lost his father and older brother, he’s struggled to care for his mother and siblings. Elsie survived a tragedy concerning a fire, and still struggled with a sense of loss. Elsie’s dream is to become a teacher. Nate is desperate to help provide income for his family. When Nate joins the new Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to help his mother and get a new start, he has a secret that he carefully guards in order to retain his position. As Nate and Elsie meet at Yellowstone, Elsie soon realizes that Nate needs her help. Then as tragedy comes to the park, the two must work together for safety and survival, as well as trying to solve a mystery that will save the park from destruction. There’s much both need to learn about forgiveness, trust, and faith. It’s a compelling story that kept me reading far longer than I should have at times. I had a personal reason for connecting to this story. As a young man of 21 years of age, my dad joined the CCC to provide an income for his parents. He worked in the forests in the South, and always credited the CCC for keeping their family from starvation. His memories of that time resembled much of the account of the CCC in this book. I appreciated so much the author giving recognition to those men who worked hard in that program. I highly recommend this book as well as the whole series. Karen Barnett is now one of my favorite authors. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Librarycataloger 5 months ago
Elsie Brookes dreams of being a teacher and for the past four years she has worked as a maid during the tourist season at Yellowstone National Park to save money for her college tuition. It is now 1933 and the Depression has affected everything, including the tourist business, and Elsie fears that she may lose her job. If this happens she knows that this will cause another delay in her goal to become a teacher. And then, a group of young men arrive at Yellowstone as a part of President Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps. Along with their chance to work and earn money there is also the opportunity to receive educational instruction. Elsie is chosen to teach these men and one of them is a young man from Brooklyn, New York. Nate Webber is a hard worker, very capable, and he shows a promising future but he has a secret. As Elsie teaches him and the others, she realizes that Nate can barely read and write so she decides to tutor him on the side. As they become better acquainted, it is plain that Nate is growing fond of Elsie but she resists any relationship because she has her own secret. Ever Faithful is the story of two people who have each experienced tragedies that have left them scarred emotionally and physically. Elsie's physical scars have caused her to feel unattractive and unappealing; Nate's unfortunate youth and his lack of education make him feel unworthy. It is through their friendship that they learn to see themselves through the other's eyes and they begin to realize their self-worth. This story is a romance but it has so much more. The history of Yellowstone National Park is sprinkled throughout the story and there is also a strong element of faith. The Golden Rule, grace and forgiveness are stressed and we are reminded that God judges the heart and not outward appearances. Karen Barnett is a former Park Ranger and her knowledge of the National Park System is apparent in this book and the two previous books of her Vintage National Parks novels. Barnett offers a glimpse of the parks as they once were and encourages us to get out and enjoy these national treasures as they are today. Ever Faithful is a wonderful read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian romance and historical fiction. I received an Advanced Readers Copy from the author and Waterbrook and all opinions in this review are my own.
3C 5 months ago
Ever Faithful is a very compelling historical set in the spectacular Yellowstone National Park in 1933, with the additional story backdrop of the Great Depression and the CCC workers of Roosevelt's New Deal program. This third novel in the series is just as beautifully descriptive and entertaining as the first. As one who appreciates history and loves to travel to the national parks and mountains, I am very pleased by the depth of the author's historic and topographic research. The tension and friendship she builds between Elsie Brookes and Nate Webber is real and kept me invested in the book. A light element of suspense also presents in the narrative. The descriptive writing brings the tale alive to all the senses. It is a challenge to choose, but I believe this is my favorite book of the series. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
swissgranny 5 months ago
I’ve loved the Vintage National Park series by Karen Barnett and have been especially excited about Ever Faithful, since it’s about one of my favorite places—Yellowstone National Park. While I wasn’t around during the setting of this book, the 1930s, I vividly remember visiting Yellowstone during the 1950s, so it didn’t take much imagination to find myself caught up in the story. There are so many more visitors to the Park now, that it seems much more commercialized and busier than it was back in my childhood. Barnett’s careful research, her past experience as a park ranger, and her expertise in creating fascinating, colorful characters bring this book to life and make me want to travel back in time to experience how it was in the 1930s. Of course, I like my creature comforts, so I might not want to stay in that timeframe for long! I enjoyed the sweet relationship between Elsie Brookes, a ranger’s daughter that had lived in Yellowstone many years, and Nate Webber, an impoverished Brooklyn transplant who was part of the Civilian Conservation Corps. They both had deep scars from their past, but through their friendship were able to heal and grow. Powerful themes of overcoming fear, forgiveness, and the healing that only God can provide run through the story and give it added depth. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Empm1128 5 months ago
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbook & Multnomah through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I’ve been to Yellowstone and it was lots of fun to read about what it was like in the 1930s when the CCC came to work in the Park. What a great job Barnett did in making Yellowstone come alive to the reader! Both the hero and heroine of the story felt inferior and unworthy. Their journey to finding each other and finding their worth in the eyes of God and each other was beautifully done. I have enjoyed all the Vintage Parks series and would love for the author to come up with another one! (Loved the cover!!)
MelissaF 5 months ago
This is such a unique series. I really enjoyed the first one and was looking forward to this book. It did not let me down. I’ve never been to Yellowstone so it was fun to visit through the eyes of Elsie and Nate. Their romance is a slow burning one (pun intended). With many other obstacles in their way it’s hard for them to find the path to each others hearts. There is one character I was suspicious of from the start and this alone was enough to make me want to keep reading to see what would happen next and how things would play out. A copy of this book was given to me though Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own.
Tessaboo 5 months ago
I have really enjoyed every story in Karen Barnett’s Vintage National Parks series! Ever Faithful is the third story, but it is a stand alone. After reading Ever Faithful, I feel like I have been to Yellowstone National Park! Karen Barnett does a great job with describing the park and its attractions. I also love how she weaves history throughout her story. Her Park knowledge shines in these stories! My favorite character from this story is Nate! He’s sent to Yellowstone with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), where he finally, with Elsie’s help, overcomes something he’s been struggling with his entire life. He was so likable and honorable and I loved how his relationship with Elsie evolved. I also really liked Elsie and thought her and Nate were a perfect match! This story has romance, history, and a bit of a mystery that will keep you turning the pages and guessing until the end, and it all takes place in one of the most beautiful settings ever!
SarahSundin 5 months ago
Ever Faithful is another gem in the Vintage National Parks series. Karen Barnett, a former ranger herself, uses her love for nature and her amazing research to bring 1933 Yellowstone to life. Nate and Elsie each bear deep scars, but they rise above them in beautiful and inspiring ways. The story is gripping, the romance is compelling, and you can practically smell the pines, the sulfur springs…and the smoke. I adored this book!
Shonda Fischer 5 months ago
Loved reading Ever Faithful! The characters were wonderful so true to life. I loved Elsie’s spirit and her love for Yellowstone. The author brought to life the workers and the park in her description of what jobs were done to keep everything running. I was so excited to read the history that was written into the plot of this book, along with the buildings and descriptions of the park. The romance and danger was just a bonus in this story. A fantastic read for all book lovers! Was given a complimentary copy from WaterBrook through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
A1Reads 5 months ago
A fantastic story set in 1930's Yellowstone! This book invited me in and gave me a unique glimpse of park employees lives. I loved getting to know the Rangers, the "savages" and the CCC crew! I could feel what the characters were feeling, see what they were seeing. It was almost as if I was there with them and they were my friends. (I love when that happens.) Nate Webber hasn't had an easy life, he also has a few secrets but he is such a good guy with a great work ethic and a huge heart. Elsie Brookes is a super sweet girl, working, saving her money, helping care for her mother. She's a good friend and understanding teacher. She too has a few secrets. I loved the relationship that builds between Nate and Elsie. Bottom line: The setting, the rich characters, and great history combined with the romance, and mystery equal a very good book. The excellent narration is a bonus. I will be listening to this again. I highly recommend Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett! * I purchased the audiobook after receiving and reading a paperback ARC from the publisher. A review was not required. All thoughts are entirely my own.
tiggeruoSO 5 months ago
I don’t typically like historical books the language always throws me. However this book was not that way at all sometimes I would even forget I was reading a story from the 1930’s. This book was a super fun read I actually really liked it a lot. I was not a fan of Ranger Vaughn, not sure if the authors intent was to like him or dislike him, but for me he just rubbed me the wrong way all the way around. With Elsie and Nate both facing something in their past and having to over come it was interesting to see how they handled themselves. Oh my goodness in the end of the story, there is a twist and it’s not what you thought, through the whole book. I really genuinely like this book and this group of characters all but one of course. I liked that this book was a good clean read and perfect for all ages, while keeping you drawn into the story the whole time wondering what was going to happen next. This book is a good clean read and suitable for all. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. I was under no obligation to post a review and have given my honest opinion