From the back cover:
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?
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.