Bethany House a division of
Baker Publishing Group
About the book: Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected . . .My thoughts: Those of us who remember the days when there were not many Christian fiction books available recall with delight when authors such as Grace Livingston Hill (one of the earliest I recall), Jannette Oke, Frank Peretti came along with books written by Christian authors, published by Christian publishing houses, and that were good stories with wholesome characters. Of course, with Mr. Peretti’s books, he had some really evil characters to which he exposed us but his books were clean, safe reads.
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?
Having not picked up a Jannette Oke book in a few years, it was a delight to begin turning the pages of her gentle writing. A well-told story, good characterization, and a trip into the days of early Americana will delight. Jannette Oke and her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan, have written a story that transmits with one voice the reader into the depressed coal mining area of Canada. They bring in a spoiled, never deprived of anything, young lady who wants to teach. Her teaching opportunity brings her into the midst of desolation, deprivation, and despair.
A mining disaster has occurred prior to her arrival leaving the mothers and children of dead miners to cope. No education. No resources. New miners who have migrated from Italy and whom the mothers and town fear and simply don’t trust. Then the miracle of a young gentile lady, who is going to teach these destitute children, arrives. She brings hope and happiness.
Though the story is not truly a romance, we still have a couple of heroes dressed in the red jackets of the Canadian Mounted Police. Strong, honest, problem solvers who seem to arrive at the right moment each time.
There is the rough, but good, lady who runs the boarding house and who has taken in two orphaned teens; and the old retired miner from Italy, who has learned to speak English and who is wise and caring. These bring richness and warmth to the story.
All-in-all, This “Oke” story is a good read. One you won’t mind handing to your teen to read or your church friends.
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DISCLOSURE: A complimentary review copy was provided by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.