I have fond memories of reading many different Janette Oke books over the years, so I was excited when I got an opportunity to read Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. This book is a companion to the When Calls the Heart book series and the inspiration for the Hallmark movie. It's been years since I've read the original books and have never seen the movie, so I don't remember a lot of the original details. That being said, I think Where Courage Calls can easily be read as a standalone novel.
Beth Thatcher comes from a privileged background and a wealthy family. In spite of this, she responds to the call to teach in a coal mining town in western Canada. Her commitment is for one year, but when she sees how rural the community actually is, she questions her ability to complete her year. Beth quickly falls in love with the town and the people and resolves to do everything she can to make a difference in this small town and its children.
The characters in this book were wonderful. Beth, the main character, goes through such growth and transformation throughout the novel. She starts out so unsure of herself but as she meets and works with the people in the town, she begins to realize how wonderful they are. Beth had so many great ideas that she was able to execute and she reminded me a lot of teachers that I know that are so dedicated to their students and willing to give so much of themselves to help. The reader also sees Beth rely more and more on God instead of herself. I felt this was a great lesson that I could learn from the book. Romance was definitely a part of the book, but I didn't feel like it was the focus of the storyline. The ending leaves the reader wondering and hoping if there will be another book in the future. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction. I am also looking forward to rereading some other Janette Oke books.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.