October 05, 2011

When Comes the Spring by Janette Oke

When Comes the Spring is the 2nd book in Oke's Canadian West series. It is preceded by When Calls the Heart. Like all of Oke's novels it is a wonderful tale and a nice continuation of the first book.

This book takes off a little bit after the first book ends. Elizabeth is planning her wedding with Wynn and looking forward to a honeymoon in the mountains with him. Unfortunately, before she can completely get her wedding plans off the ground, Wynn is sent a posting far North, and they would have to leave in a little over a week. Realizing that she'd rather be with him than wait one or more years to be married, she rushes the wedding.

Shortly after they go for a small honeymoon in the Mountains. They stay at a lodge and do some hiking. During this part of the novel there is a huge argument about wearing pants. Elizabeth wants nothing to do with the manly pantaloons Wynn brings her for the hike. I'm sure the author was just using the scene to demonstrate how the man is the head of a Christian household, but it was one of my least favorite parts of the book.

They then set off for their new home far North. It details a bit of their journey and their lodgings they stayed at while poling up the river. When they arrive, Elizabeth is dismayed to find she is the only white woman there. Later she realizes her shortcomings in judging by skin color and makes friends with most of the womenfolk there. In particular, she befriends Nimmie, the wife of the trader. She also encounters Catherine, the trader's sister who is not as pleasant.

The rest of the book details the troubles of that first winter in the North and the people's hardships. It also shows Elizabeth's growth from a city woman, to a woman who can hold her own in the wilderness.

Normally Oke's books, while being Christian, are not very preachy. While this one was not near as sermon-like as other author's can get, she does tend to go a little far sometimes with her conversion attempts. Otherwise, the writing is as neat and expressive as all her books normally receive. She details things well and writes very descriptive characters.

I did find another fault with this book that made me like it a little less than her others as well. In her first book of the series, Oke made Elizabeth a very strong courageous woman who needed no man. However, as soon as she gets married she seems to lose that. Elizabeth becomes a whimpering fool who often looks to her husband for approval and advice. While this is not a bad thing, she does it so often and it's greatly accompanied by words like "child like" or "young" that it makes the reader lose sight of Elizabeth the woman, and instead thinks of her as her husbands child. She lost a lot of strength in my eyes.

Looking past these few things however the story did a wonderful job of continuing her story. It was very believable and one felt cheery at the end of it. Another great reading for a weekday night.

When Comes the Spring
256 pages

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