Book Review (and a Giveaway!): When Stone Wings Fly by Karen Barnett

Posted July 4, 2022 by meezcarrie in Christian, contemporary, giveaway, historical, Karen Barnett, romance / 50 Comments

A Smoky Mountain Novel

GENRE: Inspirational Dual Timeline Fiction
RELEASE DATE: June 14, 2022
PAGES: 383

“Pitch-perfect research and incomparable heart paint every corner of the brilliantly colored canvas of When Stone Wings Fly. Readers, get ready: your newest split-time fiction experience rests in the hands of a master.”―Rachel McMillan, author of The Mozart Code

Kieran Lucas’s grandmother is slipping into dementia, and when her memory is gone, Kieran’s last tie to the family she barely knows will be lost forever. Worse, flashbacks of her mother’s death torment Granny Mac and there’s precious little Kieran can do to help.

In 1931, the creation of the new Great Smoky Mountains National Park threatens Rosie McCauley’s home. Rosie vows the only way the commission will get her land is if they haul her off in a pine box. When a compromise offers her and her disabled sister the opportunity to stay for Rosie’s lifetime, her acceptance sets her apart from the other mountain folk. And the bond she’s forming with ornithologist and outsider Benton Fuller only broadens the rift.

Eighty-five years later, Kieran heads back to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to find answers to her great-grandmother’s mysterious death and bring peace to Granny Mac before it’s too late. Park Historian Zach Jensen may be the key to locating both the answers. But what Kieran needs clashes with the government regulations Zach is sworn to uphold. Can she trust God for a solution to heal this generations-old wound?


“These mountains will whisper our stories long after we’re gone.”

If you’ve been around me for a minute, you already know that the Smoky Mountains are my happy place. I feel at home there, and my soul is always invigorated by even just a few hours spent in the area. One of my very favorite ways to pass the time on a visit to the Smokies has long been a drive through Cades Cove, but it’s only been in recent years that I learned about the history of the park – about why those cabins and churches stand abandoned amid the peaceful beauty of sweeping mountain views, roaming wildlife, leafy trees, and babbling brooks. About the days when generational homes were bought up & residents relocated to pave the way for the Great Smoky Mountains to become a national park.

It’s against this backdrop that Karen Barnett paints a beautifully poetic picture of strong women, family secrets, and gentle heroes. Rosie, Kieran and Granny Mac each thoroughly captured my heart, one a historical heroine with courageous wisdom, one a contemporary heroine walking in her wake, braver than she realizes … and one that rests poignantly in the gap between. Ben & Zach are swoonworthy and sweet heroes, both a bit on the quieter side, each one assisting his respective heroine with her spiritual journey in unique ways and being indelibly influenced by her in return.

Barnett’s word-weaving lilts perfectly with the cadence of Appalachia, immersing readers in both the historical and contemporary timelines with ease. She also effortlessly connects the two – in ways both familial and metaphorical – and I loved watching all the individual pieces come together, even the painful ones. Because without them, the ending wouldn’t have been nearly as sweet… and isn’t that just like our lives in the hands of our Creator?

Bottom Line: I loved Barnett’s historical novels that took us vicariously to Mount Rainier, Yosemite, and Yellowstone National Parks, but my heart & my roots lie in the Smokies so I was ecstatic when I learned about When Stone Wings Fly. It was everything I hoped for – and more. Atmospheric. Touching. Heartwarming. Lyrical. I may have even hugged the book when I was done – yes, it’s one of those reads that wraps you up so completely that even the pages themselves become friends. Do not miss this book! It’s Karen Barnett’s best yet!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / fabulous!

KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion

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Karen Barnett is an author and speaker, and was formerly a park ranger with the National Park Service and a park naturalist. Her other books include The Road to Paradise, Where the Fire Falls, and Out of the Ruins. She’s also a hobby photographer and is heavily involved with both Oregon Christian Writers and West Coast Christian Writers. She and her family live in Albany, Oregon.

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Other Featured Books by Karen Barnett


Karen Barnett’s publicist is offering a print copy of When Stone Wings Fly to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read When Stone Wings Fly by Karen Barnett?

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50 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): When Stone Wings Fly by Karen Barnett

  1. Nancy

    I would like to read When Stone Wings Fly by Karen Barnett because it sounds like a charming and fascinating story.

  2. Debra Pruss

    I will try it a second time. This sounds like an intriguing story. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  3. Jan Gustafson

    I love historical fiction!! This sounds so interesting with multiple generations and a rich story in a beautiful setting! I’m anxious to read it!!

  4. Perrianne Askew

    I always love a dual timeline story, plus I don’t think I’ve read any of her books. It sounds intriguing!

  5. Roxanne C,

    I have enjoyed reading dual timelines, and this one sounds very interesting. I want to find out what happened with Granny Mac and Rosie.

  6. Anne

    This historical sounds captivating and unforgettable and the dual timeline is a favorite for me.

  7. Maryann

    I enjoy reading dual time line stories. It’s interesting to read how the past and present are connected.

  8. Laura

    I’ve heard so much about this book and the cover is beautiful. Can’t wait to check it out!

  9. Trixi

    Well, first of all it’s Karen Barnett so it’s pretty much an automatic must-read for me! Secondly, it’s a dual timeline story, which I’m just discovering & loving each one I read. This ticks a whole bunch of boxes for me 🙂

    Thank you for the giveaway chance to win a copy Carrie!

  10. Megan H

    My grandfather had dementia and my grandmother had at least some memory issues,
    so I figured I’d probably relate to some of the things that the granddaughter goes through with Granny.

    Smoky Mountains is still my least fave NP, but going back to 1931 … now that I’d like to see.

    And I’d really like to meet Park Historian Zach Jensen!

  11. Colleen H.

    I have been enjoying dual timelines and I’ve loved everything I’ve read so far by Karen Barnett, so of course I want to read this!

  12. Alisha

    I want to read this book because I’ve loved Karen Barnett’s other national parks stories, and I’m sure her descriptions of the Smoky Mountains are unbeatable!

  13. I’d love to read When Stone Wings Fly since the story sounds fascinating! My father grew up in the Appalachia so I have family and ancestry there. This makes the story personal for me.

  14. Cathy

    I have visited that park, and I also greatly enjoy historical fiction. I have read two of her books about the western parks and found them very interesting. Thank you for the informative article!

  15. Patty

    I’ve been to Cades Cove once, but would love to be able to go back and spend more time. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is amazing!

  16. Cindy Adams

    I’ve read Karen Barnett’s national parks series and I loved it. I can’t wait to read When Stone Wings Fly!

  17. Sunnymay

    The book cover is beautiful, like a picture you want to hang on the wall. The story appears to have environmental aspects along with a relative with dementia. Caretaking someone with a chronic illness can be life-changing and makes one feel vulnerable.

  18. Paty Hinojosa

    I love Historical Romances and especially with dual timeline. This one sounds awesome!

  19. Patricia Barraclough

    We currently live in NE TN not far from the Park. There is a lot of history here and many stories about how the park was formed. It will be interesting to read this interpretation of the events as well as the story of these individuals.

    • That is my happy place (I’m also from east TN originally – and my dad was from Oak Ridge) and I found this part of the story very interesting!

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