By: Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan
(Laurel is Janette's daughter ~ how fun!)
Beth Thatcher is one of 3 daughters from a wealthy family from Toronto, who has grown up with every luxury of the early 20th century. Wanting to teach children who may not otherwise have and education, she has accepted a year-long teaching position in a humble coal mining town. Beth believes she is following God’s will for her life and is determined to prove to everyone, especially her overly protective mother, that she is can to all things through Christ who gives her strength. After discovering the poor conditions in the town prove more challenging and potentially dangerous than she had anticipated, Beth raises to the challenge. Teaching in a building that is a school by day and a tavern by night, she feels called not only to teach the children, but to help the whole community in her own way. As the people of Coal Valley become her 2nd family, Beth discovers herself as well as a mysterious secrete that could her new family.
While I can't say this is my favorite Janette Oke book, I did enjoy the story very much. I was drawn to it right away because of the teaching aspect and a young woman going out on her own (2 things that I can very much relate to from my own life). I appreciate the Christ-centered main characters in the book, and enjoyed the journey of self discovery that Beth experienced throughout the story. I would have liked the "good vs. evil" part of the story line to have been expanded a bit more. It really only took place in the last few chapters of the book, and the beginning could have used some of that excitement and mystery. I would have also liked it if there were more of the plot that involved the miners who live near the city. Maybe they are saving that for a future book, and the ending of this one did leave it open for another story...which I would totally read!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishing for the purpose of review, however the above is my true and honest opinion of the book.