Heartfelt and Encouraging
I’ve seen the Love Comes Softly movies and I’ve heard of Janette Oke but Where Courage Calls is the first novel I’ve read by her. I was pleasantly surprised. Oke’s characters, especially Beth, Molly, and Frank, have warmth and depth that create a poignant story of trying to do one’s best and looking for ways to help and encourage people.
When I started reading Where Courage Calls, I was a bit confused. I recently saw Hallmark Channel’s movie When Calls the Heart. I wondered if the book were a repeat of the movie. I was delightfully surprised to discover that When Courage Calls mainly tells the story of Beth’s first year of teaching after she arrives in Coal Valley. The first few chapters do follow the movie’s main plot but not closely so it was still interesting reading.
Beth is a wealthy young woman who accepts her first teaching position in a small, remote mining town. Where Courage Calls follows Beth through her first year of teaching. When Beth arrives in Coal Valley, she finds the families of her students mourning for their fathers, and their mothers desperate.
Despite the rustic circumstances, Beth devotes herself to teaching the children, learning about the community, and finding ways to encourages other people. Despite the hopeful changes in the community, there is a mystery that brings investigating Mounties into the area. I liked the building intrigue as the story progressed.
One of my favorite characters was Frank Russo. He embodies both the tragedy and the hope of the town. I also loved how the novel resolved Beth’s dilemma of deciding which Mountie she liked the best. It was a delightful, unexpected surprise. Basically, I read this novel in short order and was sad to see it end. I’m hoping for a sequel. Bethany House Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of Where Courage Calls to review.