Book Review: ‘When Courage Calls’ by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

I use Grammarly’s english grammar check because having bad grammar is as embarrassing as having bad breath – everyone notices, but no-one will mention it.

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?

My review:

I’ve been a Janette Oke fan for a long time. In fact, it was her books that introduced me to Christian romance and planted the seed of someday writing my own love stories. Her new book, written with her daughter Laurel Oke Logan, follows on from the Where Calls the Heart series left off, and it certainly didn’t disappoint me. When Courage Calls tells the story of Beth Thatcher (niece of Elizabeth Thatcher) who leaves her high society family in the city and moves to the remote village of Coal Valley to take up a teaching post. When she arrives, there are a few surprises she wasn’t counting on, and she learns to trust God for the strength she needs to care for this hurting community, both practically and spiritually.

There was a lot to like about this book. Firstly, the pretty cover drew me in straight away. Secondly, who doesn’t like a good story about Canadian Mounties? The character of Beth is very likeable. Her passion and unwillingness to give up, despite the impact on her health, were admirable qualities.

The romance element was a slow build and secondary to the main storyline. Beth has three potential suitors and it isn’t until the final chapters of the book that you find out who has won Beth’s heart. Even then, there are still unanswered questions. I’m really hoping there are more books in this series so I can find out what happens next!

It would be interesting to find out how Janette and Laurel share their writing, as there is only one viewpoint character throughout the book (Beth), yet I didn’t get the sense there were two separate writers. It is hard to find a flaw with this book. Some may think it a little slow-moving, or a little preachy and ‘wholesome’. I didn’t mind these things.

This book is the inspiration for a Hallmark channel movie and tv series starring Lori Loughlin (from Full House) – definitely something to keep an eye out for.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishing for providing me a free advance copy of this book (to be released in Feb 2014) in exchange for my honest opinion.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

4 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘When Courage Calls’ by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

  1. This sounds like a great book! I love Janette Oke books already even though I just started reading them on January 6. My mom has bought me a few of her books but until I glimpsed at your blog Monday, I’d never really read them. She’s only bought me three and I’m on the third one. Thanks for getting me into the Janette Oke books! I can’t wait to read more, including When Courage Calls.

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