Review: Where Courage Calls

Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan
A When Calls the Heart Novel
Bethany House, 2014

My Thoughts:
When I saw this book up for review, I jumped at the opportunity. This book is the companion story to Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart TV series. If you haven’t heard of the TV series, it is a wonderful, wholesome, family-friendly show that I love watching. So, I had to read the book that inspired the series!

Beth Thatcher is a strong, loving, determined character. She decides to go West in order to teach the children of a small town and leaves behind her family and her life of comfort. Upon arrival to her destination, Beth is faced with the harsh realization that her life for the next year is not like anything she had expected.

She experiences the trials and triumphs of life in the mining town of Coal Valley. She has ideas which turn into events that bring the community together. She is busy with school and after-school programs. Her ideas bring new life to the community, and her time in Coal Valley changes the way she sees things.

This book is a story about a young woman learning who she is and what she is capable of amidst the hardships she faces. During her time in Coal Valley, Elizabeth discovers how to become a contributing part of the community and enriches the lives the people she came to know, just as they, in return, enrich her life.

A good book, but a bit too slow for my preference. However, long-time fans of Janette Oke will love this book.

Rating: 3 stars

*I was provided a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Summary (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?

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8 thoughts on “Review: Where Courage Calls

  1. You know, I’ve been reading pretty universal thoughts on this one, Cassie. In all likelihood I’ll probably read it (someday) because a.) the show IS indeed charming and b.) I’ll forever love Janette Oke books because they basically introduced me to this world of inspirational fiction but in all truthfulness, I’ve sort of “grown up” from prairie fiction and for the most part, I rarely read this kind of genre.

    Thanks for the honest review.

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    1. I have to say, if this book hadn’t been connected to the show, I probably wouldn’t have read it. I’ve never been too engrossed in prairie fiction. For me it’s always been frontier fiction(think Laura Frantz and Lori Benton) and World War II fiction (think Sarah Sundin). And this was my first Janette Oke book. So, it’s always hard to write a review about a book you didn’t have strong feelings for (either love or not so loving feelings).

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic, Rissi. Glad you stopped by.

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      1. I know just what you mean, Cassie. It’s VERY hard to write a review on books that didn’t set well with us or we didn’t love – especially if you’ve previously enjoyed that author’s books.

        Janette Oke was probably the first author I ever read in the Christian fiction market so because of that, I have a fondness for her books but now I am more interested in other genres, etc. Still, it’s nice to see a new novel by her. 🙂

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        1. I think I’ve been in a reading slump, too lately. The books I’m reading are ok, but not really grabbing me. Part of it is because life itself has been pretty hectic lately, and thus my blog has been suffering 😦 I need to get back in my groove! Hopefully I will find inspiration soon! I miss blogging more consistently.

          But brace yourself for some so-so reviews! I wish I didn’t have to write them, but I’m committed to share my thoughts! Haha 🙂

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  2. In some ways – hard as they are – sometimes I have the mentality that it’s good for us to write reviews that aren’t gushing because it forces us to articulate our points, find the honesty of what we did enjoy about the novel and still have the opportunity to recommend it to people we think will like the book. For example, I’ve read lots of books that I didn’t care for but so many fellow bloggers raved about the book, as a result I’m able to understand and KNOW it’s just me, not the book.

    We miss your blog entries, too! Though I understand about no books being good; I go through that at times too… thankfully, I have no choice but to find some good ones just now. 😉

    Good luck with those reviews!

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    1. I forgot to respond to you lovely, thoughtful comment! So sorry!

      I really like what you said about why it is good for us to write less-than-raving reviews for books we don’t quite love. I’ve written a couple since the last time we talked in these comments, and it has been a good experience for me. As difficult as it is to write, these reviews stretch me to explain myself and find the good I saw in the book and share that with other readers.

      Oooh! Have you narrowed down your INSPYs lists yet? I saw all the pics on Twitter and it looks both fun and overwhelming!! I love it 🙂

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      1. No apologies necessary, Cassie. Thanks for the response.

        It’s always a challenge to write a negative review. But a good one definitely.

        Not yet we haven’t. We’re still reading. We’ve (unfortunately) had to push the deadline back a bit due to behind-the-scenes issues, so instead of the 15th shortlist announcement, that will now be when we notify judges and the 30th will be the shortlist announcement. It IS fun. And overwhelming. And fun. And challenging. And fun… and well, it’s a great experience all around. 🙂

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