Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review: Where Courage Calls

Where Courage CallsAuthor: Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

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.

The children – all ages and both genders – listened to the story, their faces enthralled. Beth could hardly contain her own joy. This is exactly what she had envisioned teaching would be – well, not exactly, but close enough, she decided.

The words underscored to Beth that theirs was a community far from the end of hurting and healing. Lord, help me, please, she prayed, to know how to help them.

After all, she told herself, this teaching position is perhaps the first truly assertive step I have ever taken. The problem is not that I have been stubborn – the problem is that my own hopes and wishes have been suffocated far too long by what has been expected of me.

I first read Janette Oke when I was a young girl because my grandmother and her sister read them all the time. My grandmother is a very conservative woman and always wanted to monitor what I read; however, she quickly approved of my interest in Janette Oke. This book was much like her others; a comforting story that gives me a warm and inviting feeling. This book tells the story of a young schoolteacher venturing into an unknown, yet appealing new world. Of course this book appealed to me because I happen to be a teacher! This book, and the author behind it, speak for themselves. Anything by Janette Oke is sure to be a success, as this book was.

Beth Thatcher is highly reminiscent of Christy. Christy was the perfect female heroine and we got to see her love and appreciation for a small town called Cutter Gap. Almost everyone I know fell in love with Christy, and readers will do the same with Beth Thatcher. She has all the right characteristics and ambitions. She is such a loveable character right from the very first page. She gladly accepts a teaching position in a town that is unlike the one she is used to. She shows such bravery as she gladly accepts adventure and goes where she is needed!

Coal Valley is a place that is in need of some tender loving care. Janette Oke writes this town so that readers of all ages will fall in love with it. I fell in love with the men, the women, the children and the help that I knew Beth would provide. I loved following her as she mingled among the town and made a new way for herself. I also loved that fact this story took place in a mining town. For some reason they have always captivated me; I think because of the courage and willpower it took to venture into the mines.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Bethany in exchange for my honest review***

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