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When Calls the Heart (Canadian West, #1)
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When Calls the Heart (Canadian West #1)

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  14,511 Ratings  ·  651 Reviews
Nothing in her cultured East Coast upbringing prepared Elizabeth for a teaching position on the Canadian frontier. Yet, despite the constant hardships, she loves the children in her care. Determined to do the best job she can and fighting to survive the harsh land, Elizabeth is surprised to find her heart softening towards a certain member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Pol ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Bethany House Publishers (first published 1983)
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Catherine It's nothing like the TV show. The only thing that's the same is that a woman from a privileged background goes west to teach and falls in love with a…moreIt's nothing like the TV show. The only thing that's the same is that a woman from a privileged background goes west to teach and falls in love with a Mountie. The show has a lot of extra characters and a completely different plot.(less)
Jeannie Tremblay Yes, you do, as each book continues where the previous one left off.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ash Reads
May 10, 2013 Ash Reads rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**These books aren't anywhere near as amazing and profound as SGW's Prairie Winds trilogy, but I love them anyway!**

Its been years since I've read these, but I have definitely read them a few times. These are easy, adorable quick reads. The first one...Its probably closer to 4.25 in my rating, but I round up. I know they get better as they progress, and that is all that matters. The 'good stuff' didn't really happen until about 3/4 of the way through the book.

I love this series. I grew up with O
Apr 25, 2011 AlixJamie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
About this book:

“Nothing in her cultured East Coast upbringing prepared Elizabeth for a teaching position on the Canadian frontier. Yet, despite the constant hardships, she loves the children in her care. Determined to do the best job she can and fighting to survive the harsh land, Elizabeth is surprised to find her heart softening towards a certain member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”

Series: Book #1 of the “Canadian West” series. {There is a movie based on this book of the same name, p
I can see why this series is much loved by many readers. It is a shorter read, and while nothing is unpredictable, the setting and characters hold a lot of charm. I was surprised (happy) to see that it was written in first-person because that is not done very often inspirational fiction. The plot flowed well, and I appreciated the look into such a secluded and wild place. I've always found the life of teachers during this time period fascinating, and Elizabeth was a kindred spirit of sorts, with ...more
I'd never been very attracted by Oke's books just because I wasn't drawn by the synopses. But a Goodreads friend (Beth) gave a good review while I was in the midst of a Westerns challenge, so I decided to try it out, and was not disappointed. It's the tale of a young woman who goes out to Alaska to teach school, and through turn of circumstances ends up in a remote location as the community's first teacher. She learns to face mice and coyotes with fortitude...well, maybe the coyotes; mice doubtf ...more
Jun 15, 2015 Staci rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Such a sweet story set in the Canadian frontier.

Main character Elizabeth Thatcher is a teacher from the east that ventures to the wild frontier to live with her brother and his family and be a teacher there. Her experiences in travel and getting established as a teacher are entertaining and touching. Her experience wasn't what she planned, but in the end her heart was overjoyed with gladness.

This novel was a great introduction to Janette Oke. I look forward to continuing the series.
Ashley Perham
Dec 05, 2016 Ashley Perham rated it liked it
Definitely exceeded my expectations! (It's a good 3 stars) It's kind of a bunch of vignettes, and I enjoy that style. However, I didn't really like Elizabeth's moping around about Wynn, even thought I really liked him. I get that stuff like that happens, but I don't really enjoy reading about it. Idk, it just wasn't a stand out book to me, although I did enjoy it. I'll probably get around to reading the others in the series at some point.
Lana Jackson
Apr 23, 2014 Lana Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this after enjoying the Hallmark Channel series "When Calls The Heart." This book is the original that inspired the Hallmark Channel movie by the same name. The movie incorporated a few changes that made the story better. The series (books and T.V. show) has a different location and some of the characters are different.

Eastern born Elizabeth travels West to teach in a wilderness school in Canada. She finds difficulties in the surroundings, but adapts quickly and forms strong bonds to the
I had to read this book for our week on Christian fiction for my grown-up books class. And the reason why I didn't like this book wasn't because it was Christian fiction, as I had expected. I actually thought that the spiritual/religious part was pretty tastefull and not overly preachy. Cheesy at parts, but tolerable. Not that I have a problem with religion or anything (I don't at all), but I just don't like being preached to and feeling like fictional characters are morally superior to me becau ...more
Rachel Melton
Jan 13, 2013 Rachel Melton rated it it was amazing
I've never read more than a couple Janette Oke books, so when I picked this title up, it sat around for a while before I decided to read it. Unfortunately, I started reading at a time when I probably should have been busy doing something else. So much for finishing what I should have been doing! I couldn't put the book down and read on through the next few hours, that night and the next day till I finished. Janette Oke masterfully weaves the tale of a schoolteacher coming west to take a position ...more
Apr 19, 2014 Micaiah rated it really liked it
When Calls the Heart
By: Janette Oke
Rating: 4 stars
Ages: 13 and up (for mild romance)

I adore the Hallmark Channel series, When Calls the Heart. Who wouldn't? It is wonderful. It was inspired (loosely) on the first book in the Canadian West series, When Calls the Heart. I have heard great things about Janette Oke, so I decided to give her Canadian West a try. Here are my thoughts:

When Calls the Heart was intriguing and humorous. I started the book and really enjoyed the beginning, when Elizabeth f
1983 Rating: 4.5 stars
2014 Rating: 3 stars

This is the first time I've re-read this book since it came out thirty years ago. As a YA reader, I absolutely adored it and the first two or three sequels (I think I read four books in this series as they came out); it went quite well with the Sunfire romances from Scholastic that I was reading at the time. I do remember that I enjoyed them much more than the Love Comes Softly series that I was reading around the same time. (I went to a very small, very
Melanie Kilsby
4.95 Stars!
To me, this book is a classic!

Pure and simple.

Yes, compared to modern day writing, the plot is a little less riveting. But the love story is all the same endearing. However, her clear craft of writing, to me, is a staple on any shelf and hones the likeliness of Jane Austen. Therefore, lending to me, the "Jane Austen" status for Christian Lit. Yes, it's that good!
A lovely story with a strong female character now embarking out on her own and trying to battle life on the "West" with her
Aug 05, 2012 Melanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
I've heard good things about this series, so I expected it to be a good read -- and it was! I liked the characters, setting, and story. It was interesting and held my attention. :)
Rebecca McNutt
This Canada-set historical novel has echoes of films like The Bay Boy and Love Comes Softly. Written in an evocative, lyrical style, it's a truly unforgettable book.
Jan 26, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful little book. I have read some of Janette Oke's books before and enjoyed them, so when I spotted this series I was excited to start reading it.

When Calls the Heart is the first book in Oke's Canadian West Series. It follows a main character of Elizabeth and is written in the first person from her perspective.

A school teacher back East, she travels to the West to begin a new school teaching job at the advice of her brother Jon. Before she learns of her assignment, the superint
This was probably one of the best Christian Fiction books I've ever read. The story was so wonderful. I loved how realistic everything was. The plotline flowed naturally as did the romance. It wasn't forced. It wasn't cliché or cheesy. It was just right.

Elizabeth's story was great. I loved how her teaching so far from home came about. Having seen the series on Hallmark first, I decided to read the books after my mom said they were better. She was right, they are better. For starters, you learn a
Sarah Beth
Sep 12, 2012 Sarah Beth rated it liked it
Janette Oke and I go way back. In the waning days of my total obsession with Oregon Trail books as a child, I came across her books in middle school and became obsessed with them for their innocent love stories (my mother was thankful for this too) and their historical fiction settings. I'm a pretty voracious reader, but Janette Oke is a very prolific writer, so I think her Canadian West series are the only ones I never read. (And this is terrible, but the copies my library had had hideous ugly, ...more
Aug 06, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
The first 3/4th's of the book were the funniest, most realistic fiction I may have read before. The troubles that Elizabeth faces are small everyday issues about learning new customs, how to live on your own for the first time, and dealing with animal pests. It might sound very boring, but Elizabeth's thoughts are so well-written I felt like I really was reading a real person's diary from the time. I could relate to many of her troubles from when I first moved out on my own.

If that had been all
Janet Nitsick
Oct 15, 2014 Janet Nitsick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very excellent book. The details, such as her description about her invading mice into her abode, were amazing. The end keeps you captivated although I had suspicions on how it would come out, but it did keep me going. I like her writing voice. I would highly recommend it. However, I would have liked to have gotten a better physical description of Wynn. This is one problem I have with some Christian literature even though I am a writer of same. But it was a great read and I will read ...more
Apr 09, 2015 Trisha rated it liked it
This was a cute love story. But it was also a really fascinating story about a girl surviving in the West. Trying to start schools, rally support for struggling families and fighting off the men who just want to wed her (because she can't possibly want to work and be independent). I like her strength and I liked her loyalty and sweet shyness.
Average, just average. This book is the perfect example of a three star read. It's nice, nothing to really recommend it but then again, nothing to really disparage. The romance aspect is absent until the last page, leaving it a story of the day to day life of a rather quiet school teacher in the Canadian West. It just kind of puddles along to the end.
Feb 28, 2014 Isabel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Christian romance novels are not what I usually read. At all. But gotta admit that this one was so adroable and sweet and had me go "aww" more than once.

Really enjoyed it :)
Jordan Marie
***I reviewed my personal copy of this book for Wicked Reads ***

This was my first time reading any books by Janette Oke. Honestly, I only picked it up because I somehow started watching the Hallmark channel TV show, "When Calls The Heart," which is based on the Canadian West series by Oke. I think if it weren't for how slow the book seemed to go I would've enjoyed it more. It picked up some towards the end, but the beginning seemed to move at a snails pace. In addition, the romance was very bare
Sep 03, 2013 Rahel rated it it was amazing
The more I read, the more I couldn't stop!!!!!!!!! This book is great Sept. 2, 2013

This was one of the most wonderful book I have ever read! Even the first few pages got got me hooked (I know some people think that's not true but it definitely was for me).
The book "When Calls the Heart" by Janette Oke takes place around the 1910s and its about a proper, pampered, rich, city girl names Elizabeth Thacher that gets invited to the Canadian west by her brother who lives there to teach. She was so
Nadine Keels
Jul 12, 2016 Nadine Keels rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I'm quite happy to meet your friends," I announced firmly, "but I do want to make one thing clear: I came west to teach, not to wed. Had I been interested in matrimony, I could have stayed in the East and found an acceptable spouse."

As a longtime fan of one of my all-time favorite authors, Janette Oke, I've had her Canadian West series in my sights for about a good two decades. After reading and enjoyng almost fifty of the books she's written and co-written over the years, it's more than fair t
Aug 24, 2014 Jaimie rated it liked it
Even as a Christian, I usually find Christian romance overly preachy. When Calls the Heart, however, did a good job of fitting within the confines of "Christian lit" without coming off as a sermon. Instead, the characters' beliefs seem wholly accurate for the these people in this time period. Regardless, I normally wouldn't have picked this one up. But it all started with a Hallmark tv series. I was bored one day and browsing through my options on On Demand. Hallmark's When Calls the Heart was o ...more
Rachel Brand
Janette Oke is one of the most well-known and earliest writers in the Christian historical fiction genre and this is my first experience with her work. I was expecting this to be a typical romance novel so I was surprised, albeit pleasantly so, to discover that the romance is secondary to the main plot. Most of the novel focused on Elizabeth settling into pioneer life and I really enjoyed reading about how she grew as a person through her life on the Canadian frontier. The romance was more inser ...more
Jan 13, 2014 Nanette rated it really liked it
So, I saw that this is going to be a TV series (current DVD out with the same title). I enjoyed the movie so I thought I give the book a shot. Janette Oke can be a little too, ah, let's say "let's bake and make babies" for me, but I enjoyed this read better than the DVD in fact - because of the ending. It is not a book about teaching on the frontier as it glossed over the actual teaching part. Come to think of it, I can't remember Elizabeth actually teaching at all. The focus is really on the bl ...more
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Janette Oke writes with a profound simplicity of what she knows best—real life, honest love, and lasting values. With over 23 million in sales, her historical novels portray the lives of early North American settlers from many walks of life and geographical settings. She also writes engaging children's stories and inspiring gift books that warm the heart.

Janette was born during the depression year
More about Janette Oke...

Other Books in the Series

Canadian West (6 books)
  • When Comes the Spring (Canadian West #2)
  • When Breaks the Dawn (Canadian West #3)
  • When Hope Springs New (Canadian West #4)
  • Beyond the Gathering Storm (Canadian West #5)
  • When Tomorrow Comes (Canadian West #6)

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“The sunset was a splendid display. I wondered if it was showing off for my benefit or if it was often that spectacular. Rarely had I seen such a gorgeous scene; the riotous colors flamed out over the sky in shades that I had no words to describe. Birds sang their last songs of the day before tucking in for the night, and still the darkness hung back. Now, I thought, I understand the word "twilight." It was created for just this time - in this land.” 4 likes
“But I refused to mope about for the evening. My little ritual with teacup, familiar chair, and a favorite Dickens story went a long way toward improving my outlook.” 1 likes
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