Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Review: Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Reading this new book from Janette Oke was like taking a trip back to childhood for me.  I have been a fan of her books for nearly twenty years! (Wow, do I feel old saying that!)  Some of my first "chapter books" were from her series for children.  As I grew older I continued to read her novels, and never found one I didn't like. The other book that Ms. Oke wrote with her daughter, Dana's Valley, remains one of my favorites of all times.  It is the first book I ever read and cried--and let me tell you, I bawled!  So, I was very excited to see the movie "When Calls the Heart" based on her books on Hallmark Channel, as well as the new original series of the same name.  When I did a little looking, I found this book, which is a continuation of the When Calls the Heart series.  I read a few of the books in that series, so I was anxious to read this.  Since it's been several years since I've read anything new from Janette Oke, I wasn't sure if this could stand up to her past novels.  I was not disappointed!
Where Courage Calls is the story of Elizabeth Thatcher, a young woman living in the big city at the turn of the century. (She is the niece of the Elizabeth Thatcher in the original series.)  She has volunteered to go out west and teach in a primitive schoolhouse for one year.  She has no idea that challenges that await her.  Conditions in the mining community of Coal Valley are much worse that she even imagined.  A recent mine accident has killed most of the men from the town, leaving only women and children behind.  Her luggage is stolen on the train, so Beth arrives in Coal Valley with no possessions and no teaching supplies.  She discovers that there is no indoor toilet and her schoolroom is an old tavern.  But she knows her calling is here among these people, and she begins to work to make positive changes in the little town. 
Elizabeth's story was inspiring to me on so many levels.  Her commitment to the children was beautiful, but she did so many more things in her community.  I was touched reading about her efforts to help the miners, the women and everyone she came into contact with.  I was inspired by the way she gave every bit of her time and talents to the people.  There is a love story included in this book, too, but it really didn't seem like the most important part of the story.  I was curious until the very end which handsome Mountie she would choose!   
This book is proof that after so many years of writing, Ms. Oke and her daughter haven't lost their touch!  I loved every bit of it, from the first page to the last.  It is beautifully written.  It seemed long, but not too long--or maybe not long enough!  I found myself both wishing to get to the end to see what would happen, and not wanting it to end at the same time.  The Oke ladies are still awesome and I am so excited to read the next book in this series. 
The release date for this book is February 4, 2014, and I  highly recommend it!  Pre-order your copy today!

Happy Reading!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.

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