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When Calls the Heart (Canadian West #1)

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  16,448 Ratings  ·  775 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
ebook, 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.
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Community Reviews

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Apr 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
I have a confession to make: I absolutely love When Calls the Heart. You know, the Hallmark show? The Christian historical romance that borders on cheesy where everything always turns out okay? Yeah, that’s the one. It’s one of my favorites. In this show, community is about celebrating together in the good times and supporting each other through the hard times. Faith in God is the norm, and that faith actually means something. And love always finds a way. The show idyllic and wholesome and just ...more
Apr 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley Marie
May 10, 2013 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
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
Kellyn Roth
I’ve watched most of the Hallmark TV show of the same title (which is amazing, by the way), so I decided to give the book a try. Well, it was nothing like the TV show … but it was amazing. Once I got started, I couldn’t put it down. Elizabeth was a great character (though sometimes this country girl thought she was being silly, such as with the ‘wolves’) and I love Wynn. He wasn’t Jack (or Gil) … but he was still a great hero. I loved that last scene at the train depot. ❤

Originally posted on my
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lana Jackson
Apr 23, 2014 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
Ashley Perham
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.
Haley S
Have you ever loved a book SO much that you could read it over and over again and never get tired of it? Seriously? I am not joking? Because I know that that has happened to me. When Calls the Heart is my favorite book ever. That is why I reread this book to fulfill Reading Resolution #38 (Reread your favorite book). When by It Starts with a Book and I were creating this list, we both thought that rereading your favorite book would be a fun idea. At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t sure what ...more
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Thanks to the power of Netflix, I binged watched this show in the last week and a half. I knew the show was loosely based on a book, so I decided to try it out. This book was okay. I liked Elizabeth being assertive and independent and I liked how much she cared about her students. Wynn was alright too, but I didn't believe that he and Elizabeth were truly in love because they only interacted a handful of times and during most of those interactions Elizabeth (mistakenly) believed he was a married ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
And here I was, thinking it was just the TV show that was naive and lacking depth, and that *surely* the book was better. (And yet did I binge-watch both seasons on Netflix? Yes, yes I did...) To my horror, I found the show to be significantly better than the book: *actual* character development, some semblance of frontier grittiness (but not much), and a romance that develops (instead of coming out of nowhere).

This book reads more like a diary than a novel, which in and of itself isn't a probl
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
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.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
I've promised my bff to mostly reserve my judgement on this until I read book 2. A lot about this book felt underdeveloped. It had a very tell-not-show writing style BUT, I loved that it was as much, if not more, about Elizabeth's teaching as about any romance. I LOVED that Elizabeth was level headed and reasonable. I loved the way faith and God were woven into the book.

I also maybe made fun of how, much like the Call the Midwife show and the NHS, this book (and presumably series) sometimes seem
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok so let me explain myself first. I first heard about this book from the tv show that my mother dragged me into watching. I had been putting it off and so we would watch something else because I'm not a huge fan of Hallmark shows/movies because I find them to be too corny/cliche for me. Well I finally gave in and still thought it was cheesy/corny/cliche/eye rolling but I found myself wanting to watch more and more of the tv show which then made me curious about the book series. To my surprise t ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
This is one of my favorite books by Janette Oke. It is the first book in the Canadian West series. It is about Elizabeth Thatcher, a lady from back East, who goes out west to be a school teacher. It is a really good book and it is quite funny in parts.
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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
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Other Books in the Series

Canadian West (6 books)
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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.” 2 likes
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