Most helpful critical review
Not Her Best
on April 25, 2004
Despite the fact that Mrs. Oke created a good plot for this book, I was keenly disappointed in it. I felt as though Mrs. Oke knew not how to write about certain scenes in the book. She therefore, quickly brushed through that certain scene and TOLD us what happened, not necessarily SHOWED us. It seemed as if huge chunks of the story were missing, leaving me hungry for those chunks. I didn't particularly, like the ending at all. Although I believe in surprise endings, which is what she gave us, this ending didn't quite seem to fit. True, all of Emily's (the main character) struggles would have been solved with the ending (I'm not telling you just what the ending was...he he.), but...I don't know, I was also disappointed with it. Now, Mrs. Oke didn't do such a bad job; the plot of the story was very charming itself. Mrs. Oke just didn't do the best job of telling it.
The plot begins with Emily Evans, a slight, young, and not the healthiest woman, studying dutifully away at Bible School. She isn't the brightest little thing and has to work harder than others to achieve her good grades. She isn't quite sure what's she doing at Bible school, but she strongly feels it's what God wants her to do, for ever since she was young, she's had a strong desire to serve the Lord. Then, during chapel one day, she decided to fill that desire and become the "deaconess" at the mission in Wesson Creek. Her father packed a bunch of gunny sacks and crates and sent her off, although he wasn't too sure that any woman (no matter of their health) should do the preaching. He thought that preaching was a man's job, and especially since Emily is so often sick, I guess you could say he sort of resented her going. Nevertheless, he gives her his blessing and prays for the best.
Once Emily arrives, she is very disappointed in her house and church. She spends about a week fixing it up (with the help of some crews). Then, she holds her first service and is once again disappointed, except this time, it's in the size of her congregation. Emily struggles on, meeting new people, finding enough money for her food, and laboriously preparing sermons. She even falls in love with Shad, but his unbelief in God, makes it seem rather hypocritical to allow him calling. Big John, the mercantile owner, poses hard questions for Emily to answer, and she has to do some researching. To sum up, the book is all about Emily's struggle to obey God's calling, even though it isn't her first choice.
All in all, I guess what I'm trying to say is that; Oke had a good plot, but skipped some major parts. The book was ending all too soon.