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Where Courage Calls (Return to the Canadian West) (Volume 1) Paperback – February 4, 2014
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From the Back Cover
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
"This mother-daughter writing team is a powerhouse, and their writing styles have come together to create this beautiful story filled with romance, misunderstandings and courage." --RT Book Reviews
About the Author
Celebrated for her significant contribution to the Christian book industry, Janette Oke is the recipient of the 1992 ECPA President's Award, the 1999 CBA Life Impact Award, the Gold Medallion, and the Christy Award. Her novels have sold more than 30 million copies and are beloved by readers around the world. Janette lives with her husband, Edward, in Alberta, Canada.
Laurel Oke Logan, daughter of Edward and Janette Oke, is the author of Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie, as well as the novels Dana's Valley, Where Courage Calls, and Where Trust Lies, which she co-wrote with her mom. Laurel's growing family includes six children, their spouses, and three grandsons.
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Top Customer Reviews
I thought at first that Beth Thatcher was Elizabeth's little namesake niece that is referred to often during the When Calls the Heart series. However, little baby Elizabeth (Beth) is the daughter of Jonathon and Mary, who live in Calgary. And though they seem to be well off, the house that is described is not at all a rich house with servants that Beth Thatcher in this book lives in. And not only that, but it takes place in Toronto.
The other confusing thing is that Beth's mother (who I thought was supposed to be Mary), seems to be a mother who lives in a high-end life, full of glamour and parties; not at all the Mary that was described in the other series, who is warm and hospitable. And at one point in the story, her husband (Jonathon??) calls his wife Pricilla, not Mary. Huh???
So now I am wondering, who exactly IS Beth Thatcher and where did she come from? If a story branches out on other characters, I like to be able to "know" the character so the story can continue on, but this one is so confusing that it's distracting. The authors either didn't accurately describe the relationship or just made up a new character and dubbed her as a niece but didn't say where in the family she comes from.
Other confusing things...repeated names from the When Calls the Heart series is also used, such as Julie. Julie is originally Elizabeth's flighty sister (also mentioned often throughout the series) and so I was very confused to hear that Beth also had a sister named Julie who is flighty as well. Margaret is also another repeated name, again very confusing, because you think that there is a clue to explain exactly where Beth fits into the family tree, but again, Maragaret just seems to be a repeated name from the last series. From the When Calls the Heart series, Margaret is Elizabeth's older sister, and in this book, "Margaret" is also Beth's older sister. At one point, I was thinking that maybe Elizabeth actually IS Beth, but before a younger Beth, from before she met Wynn, but that doesn't make sense either.
There are also other characters (brothers and sisters) that don't match up in the story either, according to the last series. It leaves you wondering who these repeated characters are, such as Margaret and Julie, and who these other new brothers and sisters are. Not to mention who the heck her mother is--Mary? Or Pricilla??
I'm hoping I'm just super confused and someone can explain it all to me. All in all, it shouldn't be so confusing. I hope to be able to forget where Beth fits in with the family and just be able to enjoy the story.
Beth Thatcher touched me deeply – she had the true heart of a missionary, with a spirit of kindness within a soul full of God’s Holy Word. All those wonderful characteristics plus courage to venture into the unknown enabled her to face challenges with belief that she could be the impetus to change things through her deep faith in God. Beth made a daring decision to accept a position as the school teacher in remote Coal Valley, an indigent mining area in Western Canada. Beth finds herself in a bit of culture shock without the conveniences of home and wealth she had been privileged to know in Toronto. One of my favorite characters, Molly, the boarding house owner where Beth lived, was delightful and quite appropriately written into this beautiful story. Oh, but then there is Frank…. and the children…..and the unlikely school room…and the Italian miners – there is no end to the unique quaintness versus durability of the people of Coal Valley. When Beth played her violin and enthralled the community to envision the miracle of Christmas…. my heart felt the glory. When you read this story and find out why Beth’s violin played a part in a huge surprise, you will soon realize there are many surprises in store to keep the pages turning.
Edward Montclair and Beth were lifelong friends, however Beth considered him an annoyance and was not intending to gratify their mothers’ presumptuous plans that the two would one day marry. Beth’s exhaustive train ride from Toronto to Coal Valley had some unpleasant and unpredicted surprises; in a bizarre way concerning Edward. Beth envisioned no dreams of romance then or after arriving in Coal Valley. However, this is a love story in my estimation about how God’s love can turn hopeless situations to promising. It is no surprise that the authors created the characters of this story to breathe and come alive on the page. Sensational writing includes the vindictive and evil side that plagues the community with mystery. When the hint of romance comes into the story with Royal Canadian Mountie Jarrick (Jack) Thornton, my own heart palpitated a bit and wondered if Beth would have secret thoughts about this warm and charming Christian believer.
Before I forget myself and deluge too much – you can find out from the back cover an excellent synopsis of this solid story, as well as peruse many fine written reviews as to why you should acquire this book and read what’s between the covers for yourself. Interestingly, I learned When Courage Calls is a special companion story to Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart” TV series. You know you are getting the best when you see it on Hallmark. Where have I heard something like that said before? Unfortunately, I have not seen or read the prior episodes of this series on the Canadian West. Through further information, I found this series of seven books was republished in 2005 with updated covers. These novels will be added to my library as time permits.
It is my hope that the Ms. Janette Oke and Ms. Laurel Oke Logan will write another novel in this series continuing the story of Beth and answer all my questions about what happens next. My curiosity is as real as my admiration for the authors. Thank you ladies, for blessing your readers through Beth’s story. I feel blessed having the pleasure of reading it.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.