on September 15, 2001
If I could rate this book higher I would!! Janette Oke has long been a favorite author of mine. I have read most all of her books with her "Love Comes Softly" series my all-time favorite. I was thrilled to see her begin a new series with the granddaughter of Clark and Marty. But when I read the first book several years ago, I was less than enthused. Recently I saw this had become "The Praire Legacy" series, so I re-read Book 1 and continued with the series. Once again, these books are heartwarming and should be cherished forever. In "Like Gold Refined" we see Virginia as a young wife and mother coping with life changes ... not always easy. Along with the ups and downs of everyday life comes a bitter and hard-fought custody battle over Mindy, the daughter of Virginia's childhood friend Jenny. Mindy has lived with Virginia and Jonathon since she was a toddler when Jenny leaves her with the young couple. I was gripped by the story and was inspired not only by Virginia's faith through these circumstances but moreso with little Mindy's strong faith to bring her wayward Mama Jenny to the Lord. I experienced so many emotions, from laughing,crying, comfort and anguish. I rejoiced at the conclusion. It is my hope that Janette Oke will continue on with Mindy's story (possibly a new series of books). Thank you for blessing our lives with the story of Clark and Marty and their many offspring.
on July 25, 2000
Like many of Oke's readers, I have followed the saga of the Davis family in the Love Comes Softly Series and now The Prairie Legacy. Like Gold Refined, the conclusion to the Prairie Legacy series, continues the story of the Davis's grandaughter Virginia. In the first three books of the series, readers saw Virginia mature from a flighty teenager to a caring young wife and mother. In Like Gold Refined, Virginia's path to maturity continues as she has to accept the physical changes in her aging grandparents, Clark and Marty Davis. She does not want them to grow old, to leave their farm, or to change anything in their lives. Her mother Belinda has accepted these changes and makes plans to deal with them, but Virginia wants to hang on to the past, keeping everything the same. When Virginia and her husband Jonathon have to suddenly deal with a court battle over their "unofficially adopted" daughter Mindy, Clark and Marty's problems take a back seat to their own setbacks. Over the ensuing months, Virginia and Jonathon travel to the city, leaving their young family, battle with judges and lawyers, and risk losing their livelihood as they go in to debt to pay legal fees. All the while, Virginia tries to maintain a normal household and keep things the same. Finally, it is Mindy who realizes that changes must be made and she makes the decision herself about where to live. After it is all over, Virginia explains to Mindy that some things are meant to change, and that it is all in God's plan. Through her own journey with Mindy and their problems, Virginia finally realizes and accepts that her grandparents are aging and must leave the farm. If not for the trials that Virginia suffered with Mindy, she would not have come to grips with the fact that even her grandparents' lives must change. Oke has done an excellent job with the two storylines, using one to bring about the resolution of the other. She has also come up with a fitting conclusion to the story of Clark and Marty, and has indeed shown the complete transformation of Virginia from a contented, yet carefree, housewife to a sensible young mother whose trials have formed her into a wise Christian woman, much Like Gold Refined.
on July 8, 2000
"Like Gold Refined" was pre-advertized as perhaps the very last book of Janette Oke's in which her readers would hear of beloved Clark and Marty Davis. These two folks were first introduced to Oke's readers around 20 yrs. ago as a young, lonely couple-to-be in her very first book of the best-selling series, "Love Comes Softly".
Even though Loves Comes Softly officially ended with "Love Finds a Home", the same family is picked up several years later when A Prairie Legacy was born. It is this four book series which is ending with "Like Gold Refined." For this reason, I was both terribly excited and a bit hesitant to pick up the book, possibly ending forever the long, warm, family type relationship with a much loved family.
Oke did a superb job of filling in several years between series and Virginia is a central character of this last 4 book group. She is the daughter of the Davis' daughter, Belinda Simpson, so she is their granddaughter.
Now married and mother of four, Virginia lives with her husband Jonathan on a horse ranch near her extended family. Their oldest child, Mindy is adopted...unofficially. She was the baby of Virginia's dear friend, misguided and foolish Jenny, who simply decided her child would be in her way and would have a much better life with Virginia and Jonathan. So, as a fragile, neglected, unwanted three year old, she sort of "defaulted" to become the first child of then newlyweds Virginia and Jonathan Lewis. Mindy is around eight years old when this book opens.
Virginia is having great difficulty accepting what age and time do to older folks. Her grandparents have always been a spiritual and emotional stronghold for her, and when she sees her mother, Belinda is very worried for their safety and independence, Virginia decides to refute this possibility by visiting herself. What she finds out is both shocking and heartbreaking to her.
Little Mindy has not heard from her biological mother, Jenny, in many years. Virginia is both happy and sad. She is nervous and worried. What IF Jenny does come back? What IF? She is positive that she and Jonathan could never, ever give up their beloved oldest child. Therefore, she is startled when Mindy brings up the question, "Did my other mommy love me" to which no honest answer will be comforting.
As Marty and Clark continue to deteriorate, finding suitable help for them is central in the life of Belinda. The coming of the telephone makes communication much easier, but something more needs to be done to protect her precious parents.
At the heart of this book is an unexpected letter and visit from Jenny. Not only is she very, very ill with cancer, she drops the proverbial bomb on Virginia by stating she is taking HER daughter home with her. Pandemonium sets in for Virginia, but Jonathan is much calmer and determined, and the next day announces to Jenny that she is NOT taking Mindy away. Cursing, yelling, screaming, threatening, Jenny leaves for home without the daughter who doesn't even know her mother, or frankly, even care. Will legal negotiations become necessary? Jonathan is prepared to go all the way, no matter what it costs them.
It costs them dearly. They are able to survive the first round of court and attorney costs which gave them their wishes....Mindy stays with them. But, the cost has been dear, and they are forced to pare down and postpone their dreams. But they have the most important thing, their daughter. Or, do they?
Another letter, another court fight. This one is sure to bankrupt this little family. But in the middle of this second battle, little Mindy drops a bomb of her own. Ten years old and sensitive, she walks into the room, overhearing a conversation so carefully kept from her in the past. Learning that her mama wants her (needs her?), she begins to feel she must go live with her. She must tell her about God before she dies. Devastated but honest, Jonathan and Virginia try to start the adjustment of life without their much loved oldest child.
The conclusions of this book, the outcome of Mindy's life, Jenny's life, Virginia and Jonathan's life, and the finale for Clark and Marty Davis makes this a must read wrap -up for these dear, dear friends if only in the pages of a book. Thank you Janette Oke for years of pleasure from and fellowship with a great, great family. Rarely has such a family impacted so great a reading audience.
on May 8, 2000
Once I started this one, I couldn't put it down. In typical Oke style, she had me feeling the pain and joy of Virginia and her growing family as they go through the most difficult of times. All around her changes are taking place -- some good, some not so good. But through it all, the love for God and family remains strong. A must read for anyone who can't wait to see what happens next.