Book Review: When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke

Today I’m back with another book review!

You guys, I finally read When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke. As you all know, I am the biggest fan of the TV series, but never read the book which inspired it all. At least, not until now.

The book did not in any way disappoint. Janette Oke is a great author, and I believe When Calls the Heart is one of her greatest works.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s review!

This review is absolutely spoiler free.

Synopsis

“She came from the East to teach, but can she survive the frontier?” That’s Elizabeth Thatcher’s conflict. She grows up in the ease and affluence of the east, but travels to the West to be a schoolteacher. At first she stays with her brother Jon and his family; then she moves to a a home all her own. And at first, it’s pretty rough! However, Elizabeth is persevering. She loves her students and wants to give them not only the best schooling, but the best lives possible. She’s willing to do anything for them.

One thing she isn’t exactly thinking of is marriage. That is, not until she meets Wynn Delaney, who is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Wynn is kind, compassionate, gentle, and handsome. Elizabeth finds herself falling in love. But there’s one problem – he doesn’t believe Mounties should marry. Can Elizabeth change his mind? Or perhaps he doesn’t care for her at all.

Themes

The novel deals mainly with these themes:

  • courage
  • a close connection with Christ
  • compassion
  • the many types of love – love for friends, love for students and teachers, love for family, love for brothers and sisters in Christ, love for a significant other
  • embracing the path on which God leads you, and trusting him to guide you through.

I absolutely adored all these themes. Each theme was intricately woven into the book to create a truly beautiful story.

The theme of courage was shown in Elizabeth’s decision to brave the frontier for her students. There was also a very tender and heartrending storyline with one student in particular, who was forced to endure a tragic experience. Then, of course, there was Wynn Delaney – who was willing to sacrifice everything to serve his country, protect all people, and be a friend to both White and Indian.

The importance of a close connection with Christ was repeatedly emphasized throughout the novel, which I greatly appreciated. It’s something that we Christians can easily forget: our covenant with Jesus must be renewed each day. It’s not a one-time thing. I loved how the characters were always striving to be like Christ in each part of their lives. I especially loved how they struggled to do the right thing, but repented and rejoiced in the assurance of salvation.

The theme of compassion was shown in literally every page. Elizabeth’s compassion for her students and their families was very touching. Wynn’s compassion for his country and for his people was equally touching. And there were so many more moving parts that I shall not give away.

The many types of love was a very moving theme as well. Interactions with friends and family were warm and affectionate, and I enjoyed watching the parents gently guide their children. Elizabeth and her students were probably my favorite interactions – I loved how she was a very prayerful teacher and taught her students to believe in what God could do through them. There was a lot of tenderness there. And my heart was brimming at the love between Elizabeth and Wynn. I’ll talk about that in a bit. Love among brothers and sisters in Christ was so apparent and so beautiful – definitely a favorite part.

Then there was embracing the path on which God leads you, and trusting him to guide you through. The characters each made the conscious decision to trust God and realize that he would lead them the right way. That theme was a big reason why the novel was so beautiful. If not for God, none of the events in it would have ever happened!

Romance

Oh my goodness. I don’t know if I can even find words to describe how much I loved the romance between Elizabeth and Wynn.

First of all, let me say that Wynn Delaney is my new fictional crush. And not just because – or mostly because – he’s strong and handsome, wears a red surge, and has the most attractive blue eyes. Those are all excellent things, obviously. But, as Elizabeth observes, that’s not where his awesomeness lies. Wynn is awesome because he is kind and solicitous, and he’s devoted to serving and protecting as a Mountie should. He is by far my favorite character from this book.

I believe the biggest reason Janette Oke is such a great author is because her romance is always so beautiful. Elizabeth and Wynn’s relationship in WCTH was pure, lovely, and tender. There was nothing crass or ugly in it at all.

There’s a reason why I don’t read secular romance novels, and why I am very wary of even Christian romance. That reason is this: Sadly, the romance pictured in secular novels – and even many Christian novels – is all about sexual tension. Just sexual tension, filled with devouring kisses and groping caresses. There’s no other way to say it, no way to soften it. It grieves me that even Christian romance is written like erotica. Our sinful world believes that this is true love, and it’s even creeping into Christian books because that stuff sells.

Janette Oke and her novels, one hundred percent including WCTH, are directly the opposite. Reading WCTH filled me with so much hope, emotion, and joy because of the beauty and purity of Elizabeth and Wynn’s romance.

The romance is so sweet and pure. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that, but y’all know it’s because I mean it! As I read, I laughed, I got tears in my eyes, I smiled from ear to ear, I went “Awwww!” and I felt warm inside. As I read, the only thing I kept thinking was, “Wow. This is exactly what love should be. This is exactly what true love is. Beautiful, blossoming love between a woman and a man, just as God intended it.”

Elizabeth and Wynn are just adorably affectionate together. I was cheering during the scenes when they finally shared some sweet kisses. Those scenes were wonderful – again, so pure. Wynn was always so respectful of and gentle with Elizabeth. He would take her in his arms and hold her in the tenderest manner, and I absolutely loved that.

I admire Janette Oke for writing her book about love the way God intended it. I’m so glad that other teen girls like me will read WCTH and realize how love is meant to be, how love is – and it’s not what the world tries so hard to convince us of.

Conclusion

Read the book. I guarantee you will enjoy and love it as much as I did.

Comment down below and let me know if you’re planning to read WCTH! And if you’ve already read it, definitely tell me what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this amazing novel!

And for those of you who watch the TV series, aren’t you guys totally pumped for the finale this Sunday? I know I am!

You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!

JC

8 thoughts on “Book Review: When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke

Add yours

  1. Brb crying this review was too sweet and makes me wanna read the book SO BAD 😭😭😭 I’m a huge fan of the TV show, too! Just finished episode 11 of season 8, and hope to watch the season finale soon. Totally adding this book to my TBR. I completely agree about the romance — that’s exactly how Christian romance writers should write it! I HATE when romance is so sexualized, that’s just ugly and objectifying and not what true, real, godly romance and love is! Ugh. Thank you for this review because I literally teared up, lol! I totally gotta read this!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, really? I’m taking that as a huge compliment. 😂 Eek – the finale! I’m on tenterhooks this whole week just waiting to see how things will resolve.
      Yay! I’m so happy you’re adding the book to your TBR! Amen, amen. Couldn’t have said it better.
      You’re so very welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh, this book and TV show sound amazing! I’m always up for watching courage, love, compassion, and connections with Christ TV shows! Books that fill you with emotion are always the best. Can’t wait to read/watch it!

    Like

  3. Hi nice to meet you . I’m Kiara. And I started a blog to encourage Christian girls in their walk with Christ
    alifeforhimnet.WordPress. com

    Like

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