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When Calls the Heart

(Canadian West #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  21,331 ratings  ·  1,121 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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Story_Girl Michael Landon Junior adapted the When Calls the Heart 2013 TV movie from this book by Janette Oke. In the movie he created his own character, a niece…moreMichael Landon Junior adapted the When Calls the Heart 2013 TV movie from this book by Janette Oke. In the movie he created his own character, a niece, also named Elizabeth Thatcher, who wants to follow in her aunt's footsteps as a teacher out west. That character become the lead in the later adapted TV series of When Calls the Heart - not the original Elizabeth Thatcher. But Janette Oke was inspired by this character that Michael Landon junior had created and so she and her daughter wrote the Return to The Canadian West series based on her - which I think is amazing because it means Janette Oke inspired Michael Landon Junior and he inspired her! The stories are very different (and I think I prefer the books but only slightly) but they are both just as beautiful and romantic and sweet. If you like the series you will like the books :)(less)
Jeannie Tremblay Yes, you do, as each book continues where the previous one left off.

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Apr 13, 2015 rated it liked it
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
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book is the Canadian West series, and the Canadian TV series When Calls the Heart is base on this book series. I have been really wanting to read this book since I have fall in love with the TV series that is basic on this book. I have to say this book is very different from the TV show, but I love both of them. Parts of this book I love more then the TV show, and there is parts of the TV show that I love more then the book. Of course the main character of the book is Elizabeth ...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.
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-library
**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
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
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,
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
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
Jun 15, 2015 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.
Rebekah Morris
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I needed a fun, light, but interesting story and this book fit the bill.
I enjoyed each one of the characters, the fact that any “drama" felt real and not overly done. I laughed and smiled several times and enjoyed the fact that the Christian aspects of the book were a part of the story not just tacked on.
Altogether I enjoyed this and picked up the second book as soon as I had finished this one.

There is some romance in the book, but nothing that made me cringe.
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
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
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
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
Ashley Perham
Dec 05, 2016 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. ...more
Jen. (JenGalaxy4 Christian Book Reviews)
Janette Oke’s books are Christian fiction classics. Many reviews have been published over the years singing this author’s praises.

Let’s add one more to the list, shall we? When Calls the Heart was such a refreshing read!

I was instantly drawn into Elizabeth Thatcher’s story about her unexpected move to the Canadian west. I was pleasantly surprised that it was written in the first person. It was easy to imagine myself right there as Elizabeth dealt with her day to day tasks on the frontier and i
Apr 19, 2014 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
Mimi 'Pans' Herondale
Jan 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
I wish I had never read this book.
Liz F.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this series from a local used book store and finally read it! Before, I have read the Love Comes Softly series and Season of the Heart series...
I've also watched the TV show When Calls the Heart. (my friends begged to, so I finally did. XD)
I'd probably recommend that you stick to the books before movies rule... the book and the TV show are just so different. Elizabeth has completely different motives for traveling west, the town is very different, she teaches in a schoolhouse... there a
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Clean christian romance, men and women making their path in harsh and hard Canadian land. I liked this author's style, it was my first book and i'll be looking for more of her story. The heroine seemed spoiled and childish sometimes. Sometimes books looked like diary... I dont usually like them. ...more
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
I got interested in reading this book series after watching a sugar coated romantic series in Hallmark that was inspired on them. The books ended up being so much more than the series. A great story, heartfelt romance and valuable life lessons. I was kind of in a hard moment and these books inspired me.

Another thing that is nice is that it tells the story all the way through, and it's so nice to witness it all till their babies are happily married.
Aug 05, 2012 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. :) ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a refreshing read! This is quality historical fiction, and it even surprised me how much I enjoyed the story.

I'm in love with the basic plot, that Elizabeth (who comes from a fine, cultured family) is heading out West for adventure, to teach. She's feeling restless at home, and why not expand one's borders -- and help others at the same time? She has a good heart, that girl. And her heart may discover more than she expects it to on this journey...

There are some touching scenes in the book
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Since my own novel Wildwood relates to pioneer history in Alberta, I wanted to check out another historical novel by this extremely popular author who has written 75 books, sold 23 million copies, and has seen a TV series based on her books! Janette Oke is considered a Christian author but references to God were infrequent in this novel, about a young woman from Toronto who takes up a teaching position in a rural Alberta school. Many of her experiences were amusing (huddled inside her cabin, fea ...more
Lila Diller
This used to be one of my favorite books by Janette Oke. Now that I've grown up, I realize that romance is only a fraction of the story, and the romance itself is a little contrived. It's still good for a quick, sweet, light trip back into the turn of the century (1910) in Calgary.

(Btw, if someone is wanting to read this because they've watched the Hallmark series, be warned that the series is nothing like this! The only things they kept from this book were the heroine's name, the fact that she
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. ...more
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Welcome! 1 5 May 31, 2018 12:44PM  
ACPL Online Book ...: When Calls the Heart-April 4 6 Apr 21, 2016 11:56AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: When Calls the Heart (Canadian West #1) by Janette Oke - Starting April 4th 2015 11 13 Apr 07, 2015 02:42AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 4 Dec 18, 2014 09:57AM  

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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

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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