This story takes place in the Rocky Mountains -- in Canada. The story starts in Toronto, as Beth is having a farewell party hosted by her mother, before she heads out west to teach school.
The publisher has this to say:
Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected . . .
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: This was an enjoyable book to read. The characters were complex, and everyone seemed to grow in the course of the school year that the novel covers. There were so many folks in this story that I really cared about -- Beth, of course. But also the widowed mothers of her students who are struggling so much to provide something better for their children.
This sounds wrong, but with my work at the food pantry out here in a rural (but not nearly as poverty-stricken) Southern Rocky Mountain region, I couldn't help but picture some of the women I've met through the pantry as I read this novel. The town where Beth is teaching is in need of so much more than just some readin' 'ritin' and 'rithmetic -- there are hungry children, impossible-to-pay medical bills, distrust, prejudice -- in short, a society not all that different from ours today.
I was told in food pantry today that some families are scared to come in to get food, even though they need it and even though they have a green card, because they are afraid that asking for help will get them into trouble. I found myself thinking of them as I read about the Italian miners in the story.
In short, even though this takes place sometime in the 1920's, so very much of it rings true to life today. I want to be more like Beth, reaching out and bringing people hope, bringing people together. Reading this book has already changed me.
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:
- iPad Mini
- Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan
- When Calls the Heart DVD
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!
Disclaimer: I received this book through LitFuse Blog Tour. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.