Oldies, but Goodies!
When Calls the Heart
Janette Oke introduces us to Elizabeth Thatcher, a young schoolteacher from Toronto, and follows her through her move from the big city of Toronto to the wilds of the Canadian West in the 1910. She moves out west in order to spend some time with her brother Jon, who is married and has a business in Calgary. Elizabeth then proceeds to take a job in a very rural area of western Canada.
Elizabeth’s adventures are funny and endearing. She has lived a charmed life in the big city with people to do things for her. Now she moves out west and ends up living on her own in a remote area in order to teach a group of children that have thus far not had a teacher. The grace of God and good neighbors goes a long way towards making Elizabeth’s life bearable. She not only learns from her neighbors, she becomes a self-sufficient person capable of dealing with her life.
To add some spice to the story, Elizabeth meets Jon’s good friend, Wynn, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They become friends and their relationship develops rather rapidly at the end of the novel due to Wynn’s job. The love story portion of the novel does not detract from the main story which centers on Elizabeth’s growth as a person and her spiritual strengthening as she learns to live on her own.
When Comes the Spring
The story of Elizabeth and Wynn continues in this novel with the preparations for the upcoming wedding. Janette Oke continues their story as they marry and move to Wynn’s new posting in an extremely rural Indian community up in Northwestern Canada.
For Elizabeth, the life is unlike anything she has ever known. She struggles to come to terms with being an obedient wife and accepting that her husband does indeed know best at times. Wynn, an easygoing, pleasant man, tries to help Elizabeth understand that when he gives her guidance it is for her own good and ultimately for survival in this raw, western area.
The novel encompasses their life in the rural Indian village and the community and neighbors that rely on them. Their faith helps guide them during their first year together as they learn to depend on each other in different ways. The story of Elizabeth’s search for a friend in this frozen, rural village is touching and adds to the overall novel.
Janette Oke does a very nice job as a Christian writer without overemphasizing. Her message is clear and integrated nicely with the historical fiction aspect of her novels. Thoroughly enjoyable reading!