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?
Where Courage Calls is a classic Oke story – full of simple pleasures, strong faith, and the pioneer spirit. Although a separate story unconnected to the others, Elizabeth is the niece of Beth Thatcher, the heroine of the Where series. This is the most modern of Oke’s books I’ve read thus far, and yet Elizabeth lives so far in the interior that it rarely feels that way.
Like every other Janette Oke story I’ve ever read, the story is written with simple problems revolving around faith and human problems with several deep spiritual lessons thrown in. These lessons, along with the determination and pioneer spirit that permeate every chapter, are what kept me rereading every story as a child.
My favorite part of Where Courage Calls was the way that Elizabeth was determined to help the children of Coal Valley as much as possible before the school year was out. She put the children before her time, her health, and her safety. In doing so she not only taught the children but assisted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in solving a major crime ring that was based out of Coal Valley. The foreshadowing and building of suspense involving the crime was well written and added a great angle to the story.
I’m happy to be adding Where Courage Calls to my Janette Oke collection, and I look forward to reading it over and over again – just as I have all the other Oke stories.
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