11 March 2015

Review: Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke

2015 Reading Challenge: A book I started but never finished

(Well, now I've finished it.)

I wanted to like Where Trust Lies, because it’s by Janette Oke. I think I’ve bought, read and reread all her books—she was one of the first Christian romance authors I ever read. But I was disappointed, even though I read and enjoyed the first in this Return to the Canadian West series, Where Courage Calls.

Why? Well, the first reason was obvious: this wasn’t set in the Canadian West. Beth Thatcher has returned to her family back East for the summer vacation, which meant this book didn’t have any of the interesting characters featured in Where Courage Calls (although there are a couple of crossover characters). I didn’t know when this was set: obviously it was immediately after Where Courage Calls and it was some time between the end of the Great War and the beginning of the Great Depression … but when?

Then, I’m sad to say, there was the writing. It was slow. So slow that I put it down for a couple of months. The first three-quarters is basically a travelogue of the ladies on a cruise, and is as interesting as the last time you listened to someone you barely knew go on about their long holiday. “And then we … and then we … and then we …,” with occasional family arguments to inject some semblance of conflict.

Sure, Beth met some people along the way, but there was nothing engaging about either the travelogue, or Beth’s inner journey (which seemed to be centred around the fact her mother doesn’t understand her). The plot really didn’t get going until the last quarter, when the pace picked up considerably with the addition of some real conflict and tension, but it was all wound up too quickly, and everyone learned a valuable moral lesson and lived happily ever after.

Added to the plot and character issues, the writing felt old-fashioned and awkward, with too many adverbs (“she finally said playfully to her mother”), redundancy (“Beth thought to herself”. Really? No one read her mind?), and the outlandish dialogue tags (“she enthused”, or “directed Mrs Montclair”).

Overall, Where Trust Lies was a miss, and I don’t know if I care enough about Beth to read the inevitable sequel. Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.


  1. I started one of Janette Oke's later books which I couldn't finish. I forget whether it was that one though. The heroine was a great granddaughter of Marty and Clark from the 'Love Comes Softly' series. It seemed the public wanted to know more about the Davis family when she should have maybe let them rest in peace.

    1. I know the book you're referring to - there were five in the series, and I read and enjoyed them all, although that was many years ago.

      However, I don't remember if I read them before or after the Love Comes Softly series - that might have made a difference.