Book Series Review

Yes, today I am doing a review on a book series. It is an old series, but a good one. Years ago I read a couple of the books in the series and saw a movie that was based on one of the books, so this year I decided I wanted to read the entire series and see all of the movies based on the series. I recently finished reading the books but have not yet watched the movies.

The series is the  “Love Comes Softly” series by Janette Oke. There are eight books in the series. However, Janette Oke’s “A Prairie Legacy” series continues the stories of the characters from the “Love Comes Softly” series, and “A Prairie Legacy” has four books. Therefore, altogether there are twelve books.

I enjoyed each of the books, but my favorites are the original “Love Comes Softly” series. You see, Janette Oke didn’t plan to write a series when she wrote the first book “Love Comes Softly”. However, it sold so well and readers wanted more about the characters in the book, so Ms. Oke’s publisher encouraged her to create a series.

When she finished “Love Finds a Home”, the eighth book in the series, she decided she was finished and moved on to other books. However, again, readers asked her to continue the series. The characters from the “Love Comes Softly” series are truly realistic, and readers come to love and care about them quickly and easily from the very beginning. So, Ms. Oke wrote “A Prairie Legacy” series a few years after the original.

As I read the series, I could tell that some time had passed from Ms. Oke’s writing the “Love Comes Softly” series to writing “A Prairie Legacy” series. I found it harder to love the characters at first, and because Ms. Oke wrote the stories as time had progressed, as indeed it would have in real life, the issues the characters dealt with were more modern, which just seemed like a big jump to me, but in the reality of time, wasn’t. Ms. Oke is a wonderful writer who went on to write and cowrite many more wonderful stories.

Of course, Clark and Marty are my absolute favorites of this series and I love how Ms. Oke wrote so well of their aging throughout the series, but decided to end the series before their deaths. I’m sure I’m not the only reader/fan who is thankful for that.

Then there was Missie, Clark’s daughter to his first wife who had passed away. When she grew up and married and they decided to move far from Clark and Marty, they all had to adjust to the separation.

Missie had married a young man named Willie, and all through the book, “Love’s Long Journey”, he constantly shows his love and caring for her in such tender, touching ways. There is a dialog in the book that I just have to share because it melted my heart and convinced me that Missie had definitely married the right man:

Willie: . . . “I love ya. I’ve loved ya ever since ya were a little schoolgirl.”

Missie: “And you showed it by dunking my hair ribbons in an inkwell.”

Willie: “An carvin’ our initialls–”

Missie: “And putting a grasshopper in my lunch pail.”

Willie: “An’ tellin’ young Todd Culver thet I’d knock out his teeth iffen he didn’t leave my                   girl alone. An’ closin’ yer classroom window when it got stuck. An’ prayin’ fer ya                   every single day–that iffen God willed, ya’d learn to love me.”

Missie: “You did that?”

Willie: “I did.”

So, yes, “Love’s Long Journey” was another of my favorites in the series. Also, the last three books of the original eight. In “”Love’s Unfolding Dream”, Belinda meets a young man whose family has fallen on rough times. She finds the young man attractive and intriguing. Later in the book, they have a conversation that makes me feel in my heart that they are destined to be together. However, they both want to pursue other things, as they are still young. In the seventh book of the original eight, “Love Takes Wing”, Belinda has two or three young men interested in her, and I was afraid Ms. Oke was going to have Belinda end up with a different man. I felt tortured all through “Love Takes Wing”, and I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so you’ll have to read the series if you want to find know all of Belinda’s story and whether or not she ended up with that original boy from her childhood or someone else, and then you will know if I enjoyed the final book of the original eight, “Love Finds a Home”.

I concluded the reading of these two intertwined series by Janette Oke by reading “Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie” written by Ms. Oke’s daughter, Laurel Oke Logan. It is Ms. Oke’s life story and explains how she eventually became the wonderful writer that she still is today.

“Love Comes Softly” was published in July 1979 and was Janette Oke’s first book, and her most recent book “Where Hope Prevails” from the “Return to the Canadian West” series was released just last month.


Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday suggestion, as per The Broke and Bookish, is “Ten Reasons I Love X” and you can place whatever you like in the spot of “X”.  Therefore, I am going to do “Ten Reasons I Love Janette Oke”.

  1.  When I first gave my heart to the Lord and became a Christian, the first Christian fiction books I read were books written by Janette Oke.
  2. I love every book that I have ever read by Janette Oke, although, unfortunately, I have not read them all. Her characters capture my heart.
  3. I love that many of Janette’s stories are Christian historical romantic fiction.  Maybe that’s why I decided that clean historical romantic fiction is what I want to write.
  4. Although I have only read five of the twelve books in Janette’s “Women of the West” series, A Gown of Spanish Lace and Drums of Change are two of my favorite Janette Oke stories. Drums of Change is a special favorite because it is about an Indian girl, and I have always had a fondness and fascination for the Indians.  My great-great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian woman.  Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of meeting her.
  5. One of my favorite series of all time is one written by Janette Oke, and that is the Love Comes Softly series.  In that series, Janette created two characters that all of her readers fell in love with, Marty and Clark Davis.
  6. Janette Oke cares about her readers and their opinions.  She originally wrote Love Comes Softly as a single book, but many of her readers wanted more, and so with the encouragement of an editor at Bethany House publishing, she wrote a second book, and the series eventually turned into an eight novel series. When readers still wanted more, Janette wrote four more novels, The Prairie Legacy series, where the series of Clark and Marty Davis and their family finally ended because at the end of twelve novels, Clark and Marty had reached their final years together and Janette nor her readers wanted to mourn their deaths.  So finally, the readers were satisfied, and Janette had cared enough about her readers to change one novel into a series of twelve novels, and that remains, maybe, the best loved series Janette has written.
  7.  Some of Janette Oke’s stories have been made into movies.  The Love Comes Softly series was made into movies, and I LOVE them!  (Well, the ones I have seen) I have the complete book and movie series of Love Comes Softly, including the Prairie Legacy series, although I have not read the Prairie Legacy series.  I plan to read all of these twelve novels very soon, and then sit down and watch the movies!
  8. I recently found a book at a bargain book store that is a book about Janette Oke written by her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan, and I can’t wait to read it and learn more about one of my favorite authors!
  9. Janette Oke also wrote another of my favorite book series and that is her Seasons of the Heart series.  It is a four book series.
  10. The biggest reason I love Janette Oke is because not only does she care about her readers, she also cares about future writers and those who write letters to her.  I wrote a letter to her back in 1996, when I was hoping to soon become a published author.  I sent her a letter expressing my love for her writing and I sent her a short story of my own and asked for feedback and advice on becoming a published author.  Now, you and I both know that successful writers don’t usually answer their own fan mail.  They don’t have time, and they don’t read stories fans send them asking for writing advice.  Well, I want you to know that Janette Oke did just that.  She read my letter and the story I sent and she sent me a two page letter responding with answers to some of my questions about publishing at the time!  She offered me some tips on my writing and encouraged me to keep writing!  This busy, successful writer took the time to personally respond to my letter!  What a sweet, caring woman Janette Oke is!  I am so glad that I was bold in writing to her.  I still have the letter she sent me in the original envelope it was sent in, and it still means a lot to me today!I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Janette Oke in person or having any other contact or correspondence with her, but she will always remain special to me for taking the time to encourage me in my writing, even if it did take me considerably longer to really get serious about my writing.