I have looked forward to reading Where Trust Lies since I read the first book in the Return to the Canadian West serious Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. As much as I wanted to be enthralled in Where Trust Lies I was somewhat disappointed in the slow plot and its predictability.
Where Trust Lies continues the story of Elizabeth Thatcher who returns home for the summer after teaching one year in Coal Valley. She embarks on a steamship tour with her mothers and sisters. During the journey, Elizabeth encounters new acquantainces and new perspectives about her family relationships while weighing her feelings for Jarrick, the Mountie she left behind in Coal Valley.
I like how Elizabeth’s relationship with Jarrick matured in this second novel and how she works through disappointments and setbacks as the story progresses. I was less enamored by the supporting characters in this novel which mainly comprise Elizabeth’s mother and sisters. While the relationship struggles between the women of this novel were realistic and believable, it became monotonous reading after a while.
Julie, Elizabeth’s sister seemed to be the star of all the drama in the novel, which is okay, but as she is not the main character, her escapades didn’t draw me in as much. I liked how Mrs. Thatcher was portrayed throughout the book, and how she and Elizabeth come to a deeper understanding of each other’s inherent strength by the end of the novel.
Overall, I didn’t dislike Where Trust Lies but I can’t unreservedly recommend it as a compelling sequel to Where Courage Calls. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan for my candid review.
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.