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.