Where Hope Prevails is the third book in Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan’s Return to the Canadian West series. The series has actually been picked up on the Hallmark channel as a television series titled, “When Calls the Heart,” and I highly recommend this wonderfully sweet series to anyone who loved “Christy” or “Little House on the Prairie”!
The series follows teacher Elizabeth (“Beth”) Thatcher, who has left the comfort of a rich, city life to teach children in the mountains of Coal Valley, where most of the families work in the mines. Along the way, Beth has fallen in love with Canadian mountie Jarrick Thornton, who is planning to propose to her and take a more stable job with her father in the city.
But Beth doesn’t want to leave her teaching job and doesn’t want to see Jarrick leave a position that he loves. One of the most irritating things about Beth – in my opinion – is her inability to speak what she thinks when it is appropriate and to keep her mouth shut when it’s not. Rather than express her concerns to her future husband, Beth spends the entire story sulking over what is going to happen after they marry. She also ruins the joy of her engagement by – once again – not expressing to her fiance that she wants him to play a part in planning their wedding. Left to her own devices, Beth seems silly and frivolous and shallow.
Added to her cowardice, Beth also seems to think that she is above everyone else and has the right to judge every situation. When she finds out that she will be sharing her students with another teacher, Beth refuses to open her mind to the possibilities of expanding their education and is quite rude and obnoxious to the new teacher, who happens to not believe in God. While everyone else around her (including the preacher) seems to be able to extend Christian charity to the man, Beth holds on to her “high ground.”
Even the godly wisdom of her friend, Abigail, who is older and wiser, doesn’t seem to truly penetrate Beth’s thick skull. Even when Abigail’s own daughter makes a decision that Beth disagrees with, she is unable to accept Abigail’s position on the situation, once again believing that she knows best.
All in all, the book version of Beth came across as a spoiled, snotty, rich, city girl who hasn’t grown much in her time in Coal Valley. But the television version of Beth is quite delightful and easy to imagine as a friend.
I love Janette Oke’s books, so I was a bit disappointed in the way this story played out. But I think that I would still recommend it to someone looking for a good read as I know that my observations may not be the same as someone else’s.
*I was given this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.