Reviews

Book Review: Where Trust Lies

Happy Book Review Day! Or, Happy Thursday! Either way, it’s a good day because we’re halfway through the work week. Today I want to share my review of Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. I received a copy of this book through the Bethany House Blogger Review Program and am glad I had the chance to read it! It’s the sequel to another book I reviewed last spring, Where Courage Calls.

Where Trust Lies | a #bookreview on thepajamachef.com #reading

Here is a description of the book from the publisher:

She loves her friends and students in the West, but family obligations have called her home. Where does she truly belong?

After a year of teaching in the Canadian West, Beth Thatcher returns home to her family. She barely has time to settle in before her mother announces plans for a family holiday–a luxurious steamship tour along the eastern coast of Canada and the United States. Hoping to reconnect with her mother and her sisters, Beth agrees to join them, but she quickly realizes that things have changed since she went away, and renewing their close bond is going to be more challenging than she expected.

There’s one special thing to look forward to–letters and telephone calls from Jarrick, the Mountie who has stolen her heart. The distance between them is almost too much to bear. But can she give her heart to Jarrick when it will mean saying good-bye to her family once again–and possibly forever? And will she still want to live in the western wilds after the steamship tour opens up a world of people and places she never imagined?

Then comes a great test of Beth’s faith. Someone in her family has trusted the wrong person, and suddenly everything Beth knows and loves is toppled. Torn between her family and her dreams, will Beth finally discover where her heart truly belongs?

A companion story to Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart TV series!

And as usual, my five point review:

  • This novel, set in the 1800s, continues the story of Beth Thatcher. In the last book, she survived a year teaching in the wilds of western Canada. Now she’s back with her family in Toronto and ready to go on an adventure with her mom and sisters, and some family friends for good measure. Though this is a sequel, it works well as a stand alone novel so don’t be put off if you haven’t read the first installment. To me, that’s the mark of a good series… include some content that bridges the gap between two books, but not enough that you have to spend the whole novel rehashing the past.
  • I don’t always love the romance elements in Christian novels, but this one truly felt genuine and warm. I could so relate to Beth and Jarrick’s quest to talk and write and get to know each other from afar. They were so sweet to each other, even when they didn’t interact. Absolutely precious!
  • The main element of conflict in this novel was alluded to throughout the novel. You just knew something was coming. Beth’s sister Julie is impetuous and daring. On their journey, she befriends several girls and a young man from the United States and truly ends up in danger [oh those Americans]! While you know [because this is a book] that all will end well, the journey to the resolution was tense, masterfully crafted, and thrilling. While I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, I will say that how things turn out are not EXACTLY as I would have predicted, but I did approve. 🙂
  • I loved Beth so much in the last novel that I was a bit let down by her in this one. Though I was still captivated by her story and charmed by her sweetness, she didn’t seem to be as strong… but maybe her softness came out more when she was safe with her family. Isn’t that true for us all?
  • In general, while this was a great light read, with an interesting storyline, I liked the first book in the series better. The setting was more intriguing and the characters drew me in more. I would certainly recommend this book if you like Janette Oke, Beth Thatcher, or late 1800s travel though. It’s well worth the read as long as you know what to expect!

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!

Reviews

Book Review: Where Courage Calls

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.

Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan | reviewed on thepajamachef.com

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!