Have you guys ever heard of Janette Oke? She has written a TON of Christian women’s fiction, and I can’t say I’ve read very much of her stuff. But recently I learned that she’s like the great aunt of one of my sister’s college friends, so when I saw the book she co-wrote with Laurel Oke Logan, Where Courage Calls, offered as a book to review I decided to go for it. I was sent a free copy of this novel as part of Bethany House Publishers‘ book review program.
Here is a description of the book from the publisher:
Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected…
Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father’s wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way.
But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she’d feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don’t even speak English. There isn’t even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth’s heart is torn between two young men–both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once.
Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she’s had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?
A special companion story to Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart TV series.
And as usual, my five point review:
- Well, most [all?] of Janette Oke’s books are set in the West. As a whole, I don’t find these types of books exciting. But this one? I couldn’t put it down. Beth wasn’t as boring as the stereotype of a 1800s schoolteacher [schoolmarm?] generally suggests.
- I liked that this book felt timeless. The themes of family, privilege, and trust are experienced by people in all times. Understanding the differences of the past is also timeless. Definitely a book that can be read over and over again.
- The book as a whole was very well written. Janette Oke is a thorough writer that makes every character feel like family, feel important. But sometimes when books are written in tandem, the flow is lost. Not so with this book. I was quite impressed!
- Beth was such a likeable character. Her struggles were real and her crisis of faith was so genuine…. not something that an author fixes with a Bible verse or three. Beth finds strength through God, and by doing the right thing with the families in her town. It’s so fun watching her find her way.
- All in all, this book was a wonderful light read. It makes me want to read more of Janette Oke’s books, and I hope you will too!
What are you reading lately?
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!