Award-winning Christian fiction author Janette Oke and her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan have teamed up to create a set of characters any reader of inspirational fiction will enjoy. A special companion story to the Hallmark Channel's "When Calls the Heart" television series, "Where Courage Calls" is the story of Beth Thatcher, a young woman more comfortable in Toronto society who accepts a teaching position on the prairie in West Canada. Fans of historical Christian fiction will enjoy meeting the residents of Coal Valley and seeing how God works in the lives of each member of the novel.
Never having watched the television series on Hallmark which was inspired by Oke's novels, this reader had no way to compare the story of Beth Thatcher, Molly, the school children, nor those involved with the mining operation in the small town to those depicted onscreen. However, the book stands alone with its own merits and watching the television series is not necessary to know and relate to the characters.
Beth Thatcher is convinced that she must go to the primitive western part of Canada to teach school children and no amount of disapproval and discouragement on her mother's part is going to stop her. With the support of her father, Beth embarks on a journey that will not only introduce her to a world she has never experienced, but one in which she is not only teacher, but student as well. From the moment she steps into Coal Valley and sees the down-trodden expressions on the mining widows' faces, the condition many of the children live in and the lack of supplies she must educate the children with, her education begins. The story is similar to the one told by Catherine Marshall in "Christie." Young, privileged woman comes to help the less-fortunate and discovers that she receives much more than she gives.
There are several story threads that keep the novel moving and infuse the situations with a sense of realism. The mining camp where workers are mostly Italian, the need for Beth to find a way to help the community who lost many of their men in a mine explosion without them feeling like it's charity and a childhood friend Beth's who has joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police all add to the authenticity of the main story. While this isn't a book filled with high suspense and overly dramatic situations, it is one that will leave the reader feeling like their time was well spent. It will also remind readers that God has all in control and that His plan really is the best one.
"Where Courage Calls is published by Bethany House and is available everywhere Christian fiction books are sold.
The Christian Fiction Examiner received a free copy of this book from the publisher.