In this 2nd book of the Christian series set in Canada, the story continues as Elizabeth prepares for a big wedding with Wynn--her Royal Mountie fiancé. Busy and excited her brother's family is surprised to learn that Wynn has been posted much earlier than planned, so the wedding will have to be rushed and on a modest scale. Both families meet; the service is concluded and the honeymooners take a few days off before heading to the distant wilderness in the North Country. Their first argument involves a pair of man's trousers and boots which Wynn wisely insists she wear--to successfully negotiate a dangerous mountain trail. This is one of the first lessons she must learn: to sacrifice her modesty and feminine vanity in the name of safety. Lessons learned with tears and prayer--trusting in God's benevolent judgment and in Wynn's experienced wisdom.
After arduous travel by barge and wagon, thrown in with uncouth river men and trappers, Elizabeth finally reaches a distant outpost called the Beaver River settlement--where she finds few white people. Crushed not to have a white woman with whom to bond she makes their cabin into a home. As a Mountie Wynn must serve several functions: arbiter of justice, doctor and quartermaster for medical and other supplies--even innkeeper for the sick or homeless. Frustrated by her lack of knowledge of the Indian tongue Elizabeth must communicate using gestures with a few native words scattered in. She offers tea, sewing lessons and eventually Bible studies in her cabin, but her dream is to establish a school for the Indian children. Many disasters befall the little settlement, all of which result in the community pulling together for their mutual survival. Will "Mrs. Sergeant" prove a true pioneer's wife, able to earn praise from her indispensable husband?
Oke's story is interspersed with many references to the Bible and Elizabeth's need to seek guidance and comfort through prayer--always trusting the Lord to a provide loving answers in His own time. Only once does she lose her temper but it is justified--to cure an embittered spinster of her selfishness. Although I enjoyed this sequel to WHEN CALLS THE HEART--watching Elizabeth as she matures--I have two mild criticisms with this story:
1) Wynn is too perfect a husband; he never makes a mistake in his judgment. The author stresses the concept that the man is the Head of the household and should be dutifully obeyed. How lucky Elizabeth is to realize that she has been granted a perfect specimen for her husband.
2) A more serious consideration is the blatant fact that a once proud and self-sufficient tribe is reduced to dependency on the White Man for tinned goods, medical skills and frontier justice. Their social structure includes no medicine man, chief or even Elders to dispense tribal justice. These Native Americans are depicted more like dependent children than the proud adults they once were. Otherwise an enjoyable read about a heroine we have come to love.