In the second Return to the Canadian West novel, Beth Thatcher returns home after a year of teaching out West, only to discover that her family is leaving almost immediately on cruise to tour the Atlantic coast. Though it gives an opportunity to reconnect with her mother and sisters, there are challenges - seasickness, her younger sister running with a faster, more rebellious crowd, Beth's usual challenges with her mother . . . At least she can maintain contact with Jarrick, her love from Alberta. But then her family trusts the wrong person, and suddenly her life is turned on end . . .
I love the early 1920's setting, that hazy period of transition, where suddenly girls are cutting their hair, but yet conservatism and tradition still hold some sway, especially amongst the upper class and out in far rural areas. So while Beth is less fashion-minded and comfortable in conservative styles, her sister Julia adores the fast pace and daring hairstyles and clothes of the new era.
Considering that Beth and Jarrick are located on opposites side of the continent for most of the story, the authors do a good job of furthering their romance through letters, telegrams, and phone calls. I appreciate their intentionality in pursuing a relationship - distance does not prevent them from having important conversations to get to know each other and their intentions better. Plus it reminded me of when my husband and I were dating, and I was traveling out West on a 3-week hiking trip, calling from hotel rooms whenever I had the chance . . .
The authors do an excellent job of depicting family, both its strengths and weaknesses. You can tell Beth, Margret, and Julia are sisters by both how they get on each others' nerves, and how they fiercely love each other. Since Beth's relationship with her mother has always been strained, Beth's father admonishes her before leaving is that she needs to take time to know her mother better, and when she finally makes the effort, Beth does learn that there is more to her than meets the eye. It's funny but true how sometimes we can be so close to someone yet not understand them.
Where Trust Lies picks up almost immediately after Where Courage Calls leaves off; while they could be read as stand-alones, I think they are far better read together. I'm certainly looking forward to the next in the series - I can't wait to see where Beth goes next, and how her adventures this time will effect her decisions in the future.
Thank you Bethany House for a free book to review; I was not require to make it positive, and all opinions are my own.
Return to the Canadian West
1. Where Courage Calls
2. Where Trust Lies
3. Where Hope Prevails