When The Heart Calls By Janette Oke - A Review
When The Heart Calls is the first Janette Oke book I have read that is written in the first person.
Elizabeth Thatcher is a teacher in Toronto, Canada who is quite contented with life in general. Her brother Jonathan lives in the remote town of Calgary where he runs a lumber mill business. When he writes to his parents, he mentions that the thing the place needs most is teachers. He also says that he thought of his sister Elizabeth as he was sure she was fully capable of doing the job and doing it well. Elizabeth, of course, is horrified at the thought of going to this place and leaving behind everything that she has ever known. The only thing familiar to her there would be Jonathan and she had not seen him for a very long time. He had a wife and children who she knew of through his letters and that was all. But Jonathan was her mother's favorite child and as soon as she read his words and realized what he wanted, Elizabeth's mother wanted it as well.
Even though she knew what her mother wanted, she was still given time to decide whether she would go or not. In the end she decides to go because really that is where the story is and the book had to have a plot didn't it?
Anyway she goes to Calgary and meets her brother and the rest of his family and to all appearances Calgary seems to be a very nice, enchanting place. She meets the school superintendent, Mr. Higgins in order to be assigned a school but Mr. Higgins has other ideas. He proposes to Elizabeth - he even buys land and takes her there saying this is where 'we' will build. If you have ever been approached by someone who you are certain you have no interest in then you will know the discomfort that was felt by Elizabeth. She flatly turned him down and asked for her to be placed in a school.
As a type of revenge to her rejection, Mr. Higgins places her in the Pine Springs school. It sounds quaint and sweet but when she asks her brother about the location it is actually one hundred miles away from Calgary in Lacombe.
Determination makes Elizabeth say yes, much to her brother's surprise but he supports her and mentions that he has a friend who is a Canadian Mountie who is stationed in that area. His name is Wynn.
Elizabeth has seen Wynn before and although she has sworn to stay single she could not help but notice that he was good-looking? Fine? Handsome? Whatever they called it in those days.
It takes some time but she settles in at the school and makes friendships with many of the families nearby. She also meets Wynn and things do not go as smoothly as they could or should have. Wynn and Elizabeth are both very stubborn individuals and it takes a long time for both of them to admit their feelings to each other.
All in all it was a nice romance. Of course there are lessons about life and love in the book and they all tie in with Scripture. Whenever children are a part of a book, it seems to have more life - at least that is my opinion. Introducing child characters brings more of an opportunity for humor and also heartache. The book reminded me slightly of Christy by Catherine Marshall only the setting was not as wild.
The descriptions of Calgary and Lacombe caused me to search and find out more about those places and now they are on the list of places I'd like to visit. I like when an author describes a place so well that you feel as though you want to visit. It is a book that I think teenage girls, young women, and young women at heart will enjoy.