The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Monday, December 9, 2013

WHERE COURAGE CALLS: A When Calls the Heart Novel by Janette Oke, Laurel Oke Logan

Where Courage Calls by Janette OkePublisher:  Bethany House Publishers
Expected Release Date:  February 4, 2014
Pages:  336

About the Book:  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?

Wanda's Review:  You'll be encouraged and uplifted with the strong doses of inspiration written through the bits and pieces of scripture throughout. The writing is simple and flowing - a relaxed and easy read. 

Following in her Auntie's footsteps, Beth Thatcher leaves Toronto and travels West to Coal Valley to take on a teaching job for one year. Traveling by train, Beth encounters many problems. Her trunks are stolen and she loses everything - her clothes, books and teaching materials. Also lost are her violin and most cherished possession of all - her father's compass. 

Beth, an endearing character, comes from a wealthy family that is very close and dear to her. She is rather stubborn and strong-willed, but believes she was called to this teaching position by God and is determined to do her best. But a gloomy shadow hangs over her and it is difficult to escape the turbulent thoughts running through her mind about her unknown future. 

She finally arrives at her destination and discovers the amenities are few - no plumbing or electricity. Most of the women in this mining town were widows. They had lost their husbands to a mining accident. Also the teaching job seemed less than desirable. The school would be located in a tavern. Life would prove to be difficult in these primitive conditions. And the story unfolds ---

The storyline moved along too slowly. The tempo never picked up and I lost interest, not being able to stay engaged with the characters or their relationships. I found myself skimming through pages. The storyline felt forced when the author tried too hard for a certain ending and forced the characters into a box to create a certain relationship. The book was just luke-warm and unfortunately not one I'd enthusiastically recommend or I'd be interested in reading any more in the series. Rating - 3 stars. 

I received an ARC from Bethany House through NetGalley to read and review.

About the Authors:
Janette Oke: 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 novel Dana's Valley, which she co-wrote with her mom. Laurel and her husband have six children and two sons-in-law and live near Indianapolis, Indiana.