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When Calls the Heart (1983)

by Janette Oke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Canadian West (1)

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1,3902210,093 (3.9)15
"A lovely eastern schoolteacher faces the frontier with the firm resolve to never marry a rowdy adventurer of the West"--Provided by publisher.

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» See also 15 mentions

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Prompted by a request from the brother she barely knows, Elizabeth travels west to teach only for it to turn into an even more rustic experience than she’d bargained on.

I liked seeing Elizabeth figuring out this new life on her own, setting up her home, and dealing with everyday challenges she wasn’t accustomed to but at the same time it seemed like a strange choice to spend so much time showing the struggle with the mice while too often being told about her students rather than truly being shown those interactions. Dialogue is generally one of my favorite aspects of any book and so for me, there wasn’t enough of it here, there were too many instances of Elizabeth recounting what had happened rather than feeling like you were in the moment with her.

I enjoyed the chemistry between Elizabeth and Wynn, however, I felt like the development of their relationship was squandered by having so much of it caught up in a misunderstanding, especially since it was pretty obvious that Elizabeth misunderstood the situation, I don’t imagine many readers will fall for her having a correct read on things. It seemed awfully convenient that it would take so long for the truth to slip out in conversation given that she was friendly with neighbors who knew Wynn, her brother and sister-in-law also knew Wynn, and as a teacher so attuned to her students you’d think she would have had a deeper conversation with/about a particular student (who received special attention), and that would have led to the student or Wynn just naturally revealing the truth.

Unfortunately even when the romance finally did move beyond the misunderstanding phase, then came a lie from Elizabeth that was not a big deal yet her response to it was so melodramatic, combine that with a rush to wrap up the romance in time for the end, and this relationship that had felt so promising in the beginning just didn’t meet my expectations.

I understand the appeal of this book to the many who love it, the sense of community and the kindness within that community, my issues with this are mostly personal preference stuff, I do think it’s a good story, it’s just the way that story was told, the execution of it, didn’t quite work for me. ( )
  SJGirl | Jul 21, 2020 |
Very clean and wholesome; When Calls the Heart follows a young proper woman who travels to the Canadian West to teach in a one room schoolhouse near her half brother. Instead of getting to stay with her brother however she is given an outpost over 100 miles away. She has to learn to fend for herself, manage kids who have never had schooling, and try not to get too lonely. She finds herself looking forward to seeing a strapping young man but when she finds out he's the father to one of her students she's a little heartbroken. She relies on her faith and her family to make it through the loneliness and doubt. i really like the setting and it's a quick and light read perfect for all ages. ( )
  ecataldi | May 27, 2020 |
Christian chick lit ( )
  csobolak | Nov 7, 2019 |
Janette Oke’s books are Christian fiction classics. Many reviews have been published over the years singing this author’s praises.

Let’s add one more to the list, shall we? When Calls the Heart was such a refreshing read!

I was instantly drawn into Elizabeth Thatcher’s story about her unexpected move to the Canadian west. I was pleasantly surprised that it was written in the first person. It was easy to imagine myself right there as Elizabeth dealt with her day to day tasks on the frontier and in her schoolhouse.

Elizabeth was an absolute joy to read! A little jumpy and excitable, yet genuine and kind, Elizabeth instantly became a favorite! I loved the setting and people of Pine Springs. I was easily transported back in time to a place where folks were kind, generous and appreciative.

I will absolutely finish this series! I’m so glad to have read this book!

I own a copy of When Calls the Heart. A review was not requested. All opinions are my own ( )
  JenGalaxy4 | Aug 4, 2019 |
I'm not a fan of the description on the back of this book. ["Beth discovers that [Wynn] also has determined never to marry." Okay, we don't get to that part until page 164 (out of 221). It doesn't make sense for this information to be made known before reading it. To make things worse, for a portion of the book, we are supposed to believe that Wynn is already married (though it's obvious he isn't, even without the poor description, which brings me to my next point).

It was frustrating how naïve Elizabeth could be. [First she couldn't figure out that Higgins was planning on marrying her, despite his aggressive flirting. Then she took ridiculous precautions to protect herself from "wolves" -- they're animals; not zombies! Next she couldn't stand the mice in her house, but couldn't stomach any methods of getting rid of them. Then she couldn't figure out why a man named Wynn Delaney would have an interest in a child named Phillip Delaney. And when she finally realized that there was a family connection, she couldn't imagine any other connection between the two beside father and child. Like, she thought Wynn was married with children and flagrantly flirting with her in front of everyone in town including his wife, despite otherwise being a respectable man. How is it that she's so sensitive to flirting except when it came from Higgins, anyway?

Also, normally, I hate it when people complain about a book (or movie) being "preachy" because I feel like they're being overly sensitive and acting like they were tricked into reading a "Christian" book despite the fact that the description of the book was very open about the spiritual content. However, in the case of When Calls the Heart, "preachy" is an accurate description. Whether that's a bad thing or not, I don't know. I felt like it was a bit unnatural, like it switched to the author speaking directly to the reader instead of conversations within the story.

I did still enjoy it. Though I couldn't tell you why. I do love Wynn Delaney's name. There's one good thing. Haha. Doesn't it just roll off the tongue? Anyway, I'll continue the series, but there are other Janette Oke books I'd recommend rather than this one. ( )
1 vote danaenicole | Jul 25, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Janette Okeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Betterton, LoisNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Do not combine the book with any of the film adaptions based on the book.
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"A lovely eastern schoolteacher faces the frontier with the firm resolve to never marry a rowdy adventurer of the West"--Provided by publisher.

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Average: (3.9)
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Bethany House

2 editions of this book were published by Bethany House.

Editions: 0764200119, 076421229X

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