Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Love Comes Softly Series by Janette Oke



 LOVE COMES SOFTLY

Marty and her husband Clem have traveled west to start a new life together. When Clem dies in a tragic accident, Marty if filled with grief and despair. Having no means of getting home Marty plans to spend the winter in her wagon in hopes of catching a wagon train heading back east in the spring. 

Clark Davis is a young widower with a young daughter named Missie. Clark knows how bitter the winters get in the area, plus he knows that he needs someone to take care of Missie while he takes care of his farm. Clark proposes a deal for Marty. Come be Missie’s momma and if she still wants to go home in the spring he will pay her way, provided she takes Missie with her because no child should be without a momma.
While Marty struggles with her grief and learning to care for a household of her own Clark’s tender care for her along with the care of friendly neighbors eventually show Marty that Clark’s God really does exist and has been with her throughout her grief. Can Marty learn to trust Clark’s God? And will she and this stranger she married ever be able to find that heart-stopping love that she remembers having when she first met Clem, or will she find that love sometimes comes softly?

This is the first book in the series and one of my absolute favorite books ever! I love Clark and Marty and have loved their story for years. I have re-read this series several times. I love how patient and kind Clark is. How steady in his faith he is and how dedicated to his family he is. I love how he cares for Marty in her grief, even while he is still grieving his own wife’s death. I love Marty’s determination to keep living. Even though she isn’t happy about her situation she is determined to give her unborn child the gift of life. And if you have ever read this book there is no forgetting Marty’s fixing fried chicken for Clark!! Even though I have read this series many times over the years I am excited to start the next one!

  LOVE'S ENDURING PROMISE

 



This installment of the Love Comes Softly series continues on with the life that Clark and Marty share together. It opens with Marty just about to give birth to their first child together. It moves fairly quickly through the years. The Davis’s take in two girls so that Marty can keep her promise to their mother to, “give them a chance.” The Davis family now consists of Clark’s daughter Missie, Marty’s son Clare, Nandry and Clae Larson and then the children that Clark and Marty have together: Arnie, Ellie and Luke. The end of the book has Missie marrying, “Thet Willie LaHaye!” and setting off on her own adventure to Willie’s land in the west where he hopes to become a cattle rancher. 

 LOVE'S LONG JOURNEY


Willie and Missie are now travelling west to Willie’s land. The wagon trail takes some getting used to. Bodies are sore by the end of the day, but there is no stopping Willie’s excitement to get to his land. There are many hardships along the way for the young couple, but with the verse that Missie’s Pa gave them before they left, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10, Missie and Willie are comforted in the fact that their God will go with them. 

Once the couple reaches Willie’s land Missie learns she will not be living in a “real” house just yet. Willie has prepared a little soddy for her. Covering her disappointment Missie learns more and more to lean on the verse that she and Willie claimed as their own. Their first year on Willie’s land brings some set-backs, but yet Willie is as enthusiastic as ever to get his cattle ranch up and running. With the love of a good wife and the help of good cowhands and the blessings of the Lord Willie’s dream begins to unfold.

I loved the glimpse that we get of trail life for the pioneers traveling west to open up new land and seek out new adventures. Even though Missie is missing her family horribly she knows that her place is by Willie’s side. I love how strong she is and eager to make a home for their family. This book is Missie and Willie’s story so we don’t see Clark and Marty, but their influence on Missie and Willie is evident. Another great story in this series that I love so much!

 LOVE'S ABIDING JOY



Clark and Marty travel out to Missie and Willie’s west. They are so excited to see their daughter that they haven’t seen in several years. They can’t wait to meet their grandsons and catch up with all that is happening in their lives. The trip is long, but not as long as it took Missie and Willie now that there is a railroad. 

Clark and Marty are enjoying getting to know all of Missie and Willie’s friends and all of the cowhands that work on Willie’s ranch. Their visit is only supposed to be for 2 weeks, but when tragedy strikes their visit becomes longer. 

I loved this installment of the series. Reading about Clark’s faithfulness to his Lord in the midst of tragedy has always been encouraging to me. I love the way his steady faith is such an influence to those around him. 

 LOVE'S UNENDING LEGACY

Clark and Marty are home from Missie’s west. Marty is so glad to be home to see all of her family once again. Clare and Kate are expecting a baby, Arnie is getting married, and Ellie has become quite the housekeeper. Marty is afraid that soon someone will come along and find out what a wonderful girl Ellie is.

Marty can’t seem to gain her energy back after the many months out west. Her family begins to worry about her. It turns out to be good news for the family and Marty soon begins to gain back some energy.

One of Willie’s cowhands from out west comes to stay on the LaHaye farm while the family is out seeing Willie’s west. Lane is the cowhand that helped the doctor when Clark’s leg had to be removed. Lane and Ellie are attracted to each other, but Ellie cannot even think about leaving Marty. She has watched her mother suffer each time one of her children leaves and the idea of going west with Lane tears Ellie apart. She will not put her mother through that. 

I loved Lane in Love’s Abiding Joy so it was fun to see him come to Clark and Marty and fall in love with Ellie. There are several heart-breaking circumstances in the story, but throughout the struggles Clark and Marty and their family remain strong and firm in their faith. That is what I love about these stories. The faith that is taught in each one is definitely lessons that we can learn from to live today.

 LOVE'S UNFOLDING DREAM



Melissa is coming from the west to continue her schooling. Belinda and Amy Jo are beside themselves to meet this aunt/cousin that they have heard so much about. Marty hopes that all 3 girls will get along and not have an odd girl out. 

Belinda is a tender-hearted soul that hates for anything to suffer. In an effort to help her cope with loss and pain her doctor brother Luke requests that she accompany him on his doctor visits so Belinda can learn to be a nurse. Clark and Marty have reservations about this arrangement, but they allow Belinda to go with Luke on certain cases. Unfortunately they are not aware of the extent of damage done to one boy’s arm in a logging accident. When they arrive his screams can be heard outside of their home. Even though she is told to stay outside Belinda knows that Luke needs her help so she goes in anyway. What she sees is worse than she could ever imagine. Belinda manages to keep the contents of her stomach from heaving up and helps her brother remove the arm and save the boys life. Belinda becomes a much more serious young woman after this experience and remembers the young man in her prayers frequently.

The Davis’s try and help this new family in the neighborhood, but they are proud and it is difficult to help them. Drew, the young man who lost his arm, notices a difference in the Davis family but he is lost in the bitterness of losing his arm. As the family slowly pays off their debt Drew supplies fresh game for his family. When he inadvertently causes Belinda’s horse to bolt he once more encounters the love from the Davis family and seeks Clark’s council in order to lift his burden of bitterness.

Belinda, Melissa and Amy Jo all start to swoon over a new boy at school. Unfortunately he singles one of the girls out which causes a rift between them. What Marty dreaded has come to pass. Thankfully all is resolved and Belinda continues on her course to become a nurse, Melissa continues on in her education to become a teacher and Amy Jo has found a knack for drawing. All is well among Clark and Marty’s family once again.

I think Belinda’s story is my next favorite after the first book Love Comes Softly. I love her spirit, and her tender heart and desire to help ease people’s pain. And every time I read it I hope that she and Drew will eventually get together. Yes, I know the outcome now, but still there is that remembrance of the first time I ever read the series and hoped for their relationship to develop. As always in this series there are many spiritual as well as life lessons that the characters learn and that is one of the reasons I love it so much. I’m looking forward to the next book.

 LOVE TAKES WING



Belinda is now a full-time nurse living with her brother Luke and his wife in town. When Rand comes back to town after spending time away apprenticing as a builder Belinda is happy to have someone her age to talk with and spend time with. She doesn’t realize that Rand has dreams of the two of them together. Jackson comes back to town as well. He’s been away training to be a doctor and Luke could really use his help. Jackson has always cared for Belinda. Belinda sees both men as “just friends” so when she realizes that they both have something more permanent in mind it confuses her. 

When an older woman becomes ill on the train, Luke and Belinda are called to help her. Mrs. Stafford-Smyth is from Boston and has been off travelling. She and Belinda become very close as Belinda nurses her back to health. She asks Belinda to come to Boston with her as her nurse and companion. Belinda is ready for a change and agrees to accompany Mrs. Stafford-Smyth. 

Boston is much different than Belinda’s small town on the prairie is. When Mrs. Stafford-Smyth’s grandson shows up and agrees to show Belinda the sights of Boston she is grateful to have a companion her own age. With so many things to see and events to attend Belinda sets aside her church attendance. When Pierre goes back to his home in France Belinda and Mrs. Stafford-Smyth are lonely and bored. Mrs. Stafford-Smyth decides that they need to spend some time abroad. On a whirlwind trip that takes them all over Europe Belinda sees sights that she never thought she would see in her lifetime, but there is still dissatisfaction in her soul. On their way back to America a kindly clergy man happens to remind Belinda of her faith in the only One that can bring satisfaction in a person’s life. 

Once again, I love Belinda’s story in this series. I love that she gets to travel and broaden her horizons. I also love the life lessons she learns in this book. Belinda is such a sweet and innocent character. She has no airs about her which is what draws Mrs. Stafford-Smyth to her. There is an openness and love for life in Belinda. I really enjoyed this bridge between books 6 and 8. It shows Belinda growing and maturing and prepares her for what lays ahead. 

 LOVE FINDS A HOME



Sadly this is the ending of the series. But wait! There are 3 more sequels I think, but I have only read them once and found that I will stick with the original 8 thank-you-very-much! 

Belinda is in Boston with Mrs. Stafford Smyth still continuing to give her care. Their relationship has grown from Belinda being Mrs. Stafford Smyth’s caregiver to the two of them being so close that Mrs. Stafford Smyth has asked Belinda to call her “Aunt Virgie.” When Belinda finds that Mrs. Stafford Smyth is going to go away with her good friend for a visit of 6 weeks Belinda makes plans to go home to see her Ma and Pa whom she hasn’t seen in 3 years. 

Having been away for 3 years things have changed some since Belinda was last there. Thankfully Jackson has found a lovely young woman to marry so Belinda doesn’t have to worry about him. She also hears that Rand has moved away and married. It is hard for Belinda to get used to her small town and all of the inconveniences of living on the farm. Belinda realizes that she has become pampered living with Mrs. Stafford Smyth and that she must be careful to not forget where she came from. 

Belinda has been praying for Mrs. Stafford Smyth the entire time she has worked for her and finally through a simple sermon Aunt Virgie sees her need for a Savior. She and Belinda have sweet fellowship and growth together in the Word of God. When Mrs. Stafford Smyth passes away suddenly Belinda is bereft and beyond consoling. Her friend and employer has left Belinda well off and it is now up to Belinda to decide what she needs to do.

This! This is the book that makes me love Belinda’s story the best! When Drew comes back into her life you just know they have to be together! Well, as the reader, from the time Belinda helped her brother Luke remove Drew’s arm after his logging accident I knew they had to be together. They are perfect together. Drew has now become a lawyer and practicing in Boston. The two renew their friendship and love blossoms. The only problem is that Belinda is planning to move back home and she thinks Drew is planning to follow his dreams in Boston. They are both heart-broken when they go their separate ways. I guess that a lesson is learned in this last book, don’t assume you know what the other person is thinking. Ha! Love Finds A Home is the perfect ending to the perfect series and it remains one of my most favorite series of all times.



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