Where Courage Calls
Written as a companion to Janette Oke’s When Calls the Heart series, this story is about Beth Thatcher, who, inspired by her Aunt Elizabeth, accepts a year-long teaching job in the Canadian West in the early 20th century. The tiny, poverty-stricken Coal Valley is quite a change for Beth, who is accustomed to luxuries like running water and indoor baths. When she finds that there is no actual schoolhouse, many locals are Italian foreigners, and someone even brews moonshine, Beth almost gives up and goes home. But through her faith, and a few very good friends, Beth begins to enjoy herself. Her inspirational ideas bring a new energy to the townspeople, who become encouraged by her good deeds.
Culture shock, prejudices, and compassion all feature broadly in this placid story. While pegged as a Christian love story, there really isn’t much romance. Beth becomes involved with a Mountie but the romance is understated, and a bit unresolved. I am hoping this means the Okes will be writing a sequel; it would be nice to find out what happens to Beth next. Overall, this is recommended for those interested in a sweet, mellow read, and for fans of the Hallmark TV series.