Upon her arrival, the indigence of those families and the primitive living conditions she is forced to endure are somewhat shocking. Will Beth be able to trust God to take care of these children and to comfort these families in the face of a recent tragedy?
When I first discovered Where Courage Calls I was so excited! I read nearly all of Janette Oke’s books growing up. From the Love Comes Softly Series, to Seasons of the Heart Series, to The Canadian West Series. The Canadian West Series with the first Elizabeth Thatcher was by far my favorite. I was thrilled to find that Where Courage Calls spins off of that particular series. The Elizabeth Thatcher in Where Courage Calls is named for her Auntie Elizabeth. Beth decides to follow in her aunt’s footsteps and teach in a remote mining town. Where Courage Calls was not told in first person like When Calls the Heart and the subsequent three books. However, it was a sweet story. Definitely a trademark Janette Oke book, though she did write it with her daughter.
Beth was a sweet, wholesome character who wanted to be free from her mother’s expectations though be in God’s will at the same time. There was very little romance in the book. The story, instead, focused on cultivating Beth’s relationships with her children and new friends she makes in Coal Valley—the town at which she is teaching. There is even a hint of mystery in Where Courage Calls! Not normal for a Janette Oke book at all. The mystery is hinted at throughout the whole novel before finally being resolved at the end.
I really enjoyed getting to know Beth’s landlady, Molly. Molly was full of knowledge, wisdom, and experience. She handled every matter that seemed difficult with grace, good judgment, and prayer. Like most every Janette Oke books, the Where Courage Calls teaches little lessons along the way. Beth grew significantly in her faith, guided a great deal by Molly. I also really liked Frank Russo, an Italian immigrant whom Beth makes friends with. He was such an interesting, wise character I couldn’t help but like him.
Throughout the story, three men come into Beth’s life. There was a point that I wasn’t sure which one she would choose. I kept on thinking, “I hope it’s not Edward. He’s just plain annoying!” Edward was a man who Beth had known in her youth. As a boy, he had irritated Beth very much. Personally, though he was grown, I found him the same way through most of the novel.
Though it wasn’t as romantic as I would have liked it, Where Courage Calls is definitely worth reading. Because Beth made the sacrifice to become a teacher in the middle of nowhere she changed the lives of every person living in the mining town. I kept on wondering what I would do in her situation. Beth kept on giving and giving of her time, energy, and love. She was a selfless, though realistic character. I did feel as though it was rather slow in places, but I enjoyed this novel for the practical, godly wisdom it gives that can be applied not only to Beth’s life, but also to mine as well.
I give Where Courage Calls 31/2 out of 5 stars.
*I received an ARC copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley. The opinions and ideas stated are mine and mine alone. My review is an honest opinion of this book.
Note: There is a movie that Hallmark released called When Calls the Heart. It is supposed to be the first in a series that Hallmark is releasing. I watched the movie before I read the book(a scandal, I know). They were vastly different from one another. There were only about two places in the movie that coincided with the book. Just wanted to tell you in case you were one of those people who gets annoyed because the movie is not exactly like the book (like me).