Thursday, 3 May 2012

Book Review: When Calls the Heart

Image credit: Goodreads

Title: When Calls the Heart (Canadian West Series Book #1)

Author: Janette Oke

My Rating: 4/5

What is it about?
Elizabeth Thatcher has enjoyed a cultured Eastern upbringing with a loving family yet her spirit is restless. When an opportunity for a teaching position in the Canadian West is presented to her she begins to believe it is an answer to her prayers. Upon arriving a twist of events forces her further away from the only life she knows but she is determined not to let it get in her way.
As she attempts to win the hearts of the schoolchildren and the local families she slowly begins to lose her own heart to a dashing young member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

My Thoughts: 
With the upcoming film adaptations of the first two books in this series I thought it would be a perfect time to begin re-reading the series. This first book was everything I had remembered it to be; charming and full of characters who came to life with each turn of a page. Unfortunately it was also just as slow to start as I remembered too. The first handful of chapters, although they set the scene for the whole series, seem to drag on and fall into (I feel so terrible for saying this) the dangerous territory of borderline boredom.
But I assure you it does get better, much better. As the story progresses there is a slight shift in the story and I found I couldn't keep turning the pages fast enough. I wouldn't call this story adventurous or fast-paced as such but it's a beautiful story that is heartwarming and has the ability to make you both smile and tear-up as you follow the journey Elizabeth takes.


Melody said...

I liked this book quite well the first time I read it--historical fiction about teachers always grabs my attention. Then a year or two ago I wanted to re-read it and when I got it I was much amused and rather shocked to see that it mentioned Elizabeth was reading Jane Austen, and I was thinking to myself "Did I really not know about Jane Austen the first time I read this?" So I looked on my old booklists, and it was true. Gasp!

I didn't actually finish re-reading it, though... too many books I haven't read yet, haha.

I liked the first book better than the other three... once a character is married I tend to find their stories less interesting, hahaha. (The Love Comes Softly movies went a little overboard with that, though--killing off everyone's first husbands? Seriously?) Plus she wasn't a traditional teacher anymore which made me sad. Did you read the two about Elizabeth's children? I think I read the first one but I didn't like it very well, and I didn't finish the second one.

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

I remember picking this book up several years ago when I was in a Janette Oke reading craze but I can't remember if I finished it or not. Now after reading your review I'm thinking the first few chapters might have detured me from reading further. :( I love her stories but even my beloved 'A Gown of Spanish Lace' starts out a bit dull with lots of scenic descriptions.
This was a delightful review, and it's good you were honest about the slower bits. Often it's easier to stick with a book if I know how long the duller parts last and that the story gets much more interesting! :) hehe

Mary said...

What movie is your "cover picture" from?

Kimberly G. said...

(By the way, thanks for following my blog!)

So, Mel, do you have any idea if WHEN CALLS THE HEART is to be a series of movies like the LOVE COMES SOFTLY series or an actual TV series with episodes? I've thought all along that they will be movies. But I've seen some websites that suggest that it is to be a pilot along with a supposed "Cedar Cove" series coming to Hallmark Channel later this year. I've done a lot of research. But do you have any idea?

- Kimberly G.

Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

I've awarded you the Your blog is great Award!

Kimberly G. said...

I'm nearly half-way through When Calls the Heart. I'm liking it so far! Well, in truth, for me not to like a Janette Oke book would be nonsense! :-) I've read about half of her entire book "library." I've completed the Love Comes Softly series, its continuing Prairie Legacy series, am approaching the half-way mark of the Women of the West series, and have now begun the Canadian West series.
I just like Janette Oke's books! They inspire to not give life and in my own writing.

Can't wait for the movie!

Mel said...

Mary: Hi, the cover picture is from the 2011 TV adaptation of Great Expectations. It is a wonderful series.

Miss Elizabeth Bennet: Thank you so much!

Kimberly: I am quite confident that the When Calls the Heart movies are to be a series of movies in similar style to the Love Comes Softly series. However I have only found information thus far concerning the first two books being made into movies. As these were both said to be filmed a while ago and due the amount of trouble with the release date I personally don't have high hopes of the remaining four books being made into films. Unless perhaps these two do very very well and even so I think that there will be a high possibility that new actors/actresses will need to be cast for those remaining films. Either way, I believe it will be a series of (probably only 2) movies.

I am glad that you are enjoying the book. I know what you mean about to not like something of hers would be nonsense. I too read everything of hers that I can get my hands on. Her books are very inspiring and uplifting, I often find I pick one up after having a hard day and it always seems to lift my spirits.

Miss Elizabeth said...

I am currently reading this book... its so wonderful! The story is charming, and I love Elizabeth. It's funny, the heroines in two of my favorite books, Pride and Prejudice and When Calls the Heart, both share my name! :D I can't wait until the new TV series comes out. Michael Landon Jr. did a good job on the Love Comes Softly movies, so I'm sure this will be just as good but we'll see. :)