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Book Reviews

‘Where Courage Calls’ – Lessons From Fiction

I enjoyed this book.

That came as a large surprise, to both me and my family. Generally, I’m rather skeptical of romance novels. I find their lack of battles, epic magic systems, and awesome weapons disturbing. But I must say that I truly enjoyed ‘Where Courage Calls’ by Janette Oke and her daughter Laurel Oke Logan.

The characters were intriguing, the plot drew me in, and I was delighted to discover that, although it is indeed a romance, this story has its own bits of mystery, intrigue, and adventure. I would recommend it to anyone looking to read an interesting, thoughtful, and well-crafted book.

Now, as I explained in my previous post, By The Book, I’ve been working through a long list of books to read and review in order to prove that fiction can teach us just as much as non-fiction.

The Tale…

‘Where Courage Calls’ is set during the 1920’s, a time of parties, relaxation, and innovation… for some. For others, it was a time of hard work, devastation, and a daily struggle to survive.

The story follows Beth Thatcher, a well-to-do, optimistic, and timid young women who has grown up in the thick of Toronto society, as she journeys away from her luxurious life to teach for a year in Coal Valley, a tiny mining village in western Canada. She knows that there will be many trials involved in moving from her comfortable Toronto life to living in the rough Canadian wilderness, but she is determined to prove that she is independent.

At Coal Valley, Beth is stunned by the primitive living standards and simplistic way of life. Yet it doesn’t take her long to acclimate to the way of life there, and she soon finds herself forming friendships closer than those she had in Toronto. Beth wants to do more for the villagers then simply teach their children. She soon takes on many, many extra projects trying to help her newfound family, overextending herself as she tries to help everyone she can.

Yet as the days go by and she extends herself further and further, Beth finds she is wearing thin, emotionally and physically. She keeps going, determined to help everyone she can and make sure that everyone is pleased. To complicate matters even more, she finds herself torn between two young men, both of whom she respects deeply. However, Beth finds little time to spend worrying about this as she continues overextending herself to try and help those she cares for.

Only after two weeks sick in bed, does she come to the realization that she can’t help everyone or fix every problem she sees. At first this news is devastating, for she dearly wants to help those she cares for. However, it is then that God shows her his power the most as he steps in and provides for so many of her needs and Beth is once more reminded to cast all of her cares on Him who cares for her.

So… What does ‘Where Courage Calls’ teach us?

Throughout this tale, Beth is constantly trying to make a difference and help those she cares for. But she goes so far, trying to solve every problem she sees with her own strength. Finally, after two weeks spent indoors and coughing because of how many projects she’d taken on, Beth admits that she is only human and can’t do everything. She submits to God, allowing Him to use her instead of trying to do it the other way around.

In this story, Janette Oke and her daughter make many moral points and meaningful, ponderous statements. However, the one point that they stress most of all is that one human cannot, no matter how hard they try, fix all of the hurt around them. Even if you get others to pitch in, nothing can be done without God. He is the one who helps us, He is the one who provides for us.

It is not up to us to save the world, stop poverty, or fix any of the other problems we see. Instead, we must cast all our cares on Him and, through true courage, submit to His will and do as He calls us to. Whether easy or hard, heart wrenching or wonderful, true courage is found when one obeys God.


Well, there you go.  That is just a summary of what I’ve learned from this lovely book. I hope that it helps to prove to you that just as much can be gained from fiction as can be from non-fiction.

Until next time,

 –  Julia Elizabeth