Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: When Courage Calls

When Courage Calls
By Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan
Bethany House, 2014


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?

My thoughts

When Courage Calls is a companion story to the Hallmark When Calls the Heart TV series. While this story stands alone, having watched the Hallmark series added to my enjoyment. There's just something special about Janette's writing, settings, and spiritual themes - so I enjoyed the co-writing of Janette and her daughter very much.

Beth Thatcher is an endearing character, a woman of deep faith who makes a huge difference in not only the children, but the whole Coal Valley community. And when it comes to Jack Thornton - is there a more commanding presence than a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer?! I loved his kindness and patience as he always tried to be of help. There's a sweet romantic theme throughout, but it doesn't take center stage. Rather, the storyline seems to be this story's strength.

Another Mountie named Edward Montclair, lifelong friend of Beth, is also in the picture. Historical novels like this remind us of how different the times were for women, as evidenced by Edward's desire for Beth to return home:  "When women get enough of pretending they can earn a living, they fall back on men to take care of them. We don't have the luxury of playing at an occupation for a while and then having someone else support us as soon as we're tired of it all. Men work hard their whole lives."

It is refreshing to see a Christian fiction book with strong spiritual themes and a clear presentation of the Gospel message. Two of my favorite parts were the Bible club that Beth started with her students, and the way she reached out to the miners. Readers will love the character of Italian miner Frank Russo.

I admired Beth's courage in desiring to leave what had surely been a comfortable environment and enter an unknown situation for one year. I delighted to see her maturity and growth as she came to love the people of Coal Valley, summed up in these words to her sister:  "I've learned that these people are more than what they appear on the outside - and much more difficult to assess than their surroundings would imply."

When Courage Calls reaches a satisfactory conclusion, but much room is left for continuation - which I hope we see. Fans of historical romance with a cozy feel will enjoy this story very much.

Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan

Janette Oke: Celebrated for her significant contribution to the Christian book industry, Janette Oke is the recipient of numerous awards. 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, is the 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.

Visit the Litfuse Blog Tour page to learn more.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.



Janette Oke's newest book, Where Courage Calls (co-written with her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan), is receiving rave reviews. It is the companion story to Hallmark Channel's TV series When Calls the Heart, set in the Canadian west.

Janette and Laurel are celebrating with an iPad Mini giveaway and a Facebook author chat party on March 4th.

One winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 4th. Winner will be announced at the Where Courage Calls Facebook Party on March 4th. Connect with Janette and Laurel for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more!

So grab your copy of Where Courage Calls and join Janette and Laurel on the evening of March 4th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN on the event page. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!


  1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! I've been looking forward to reading it since I love the original series.