Top critical review
Janette Oke: A Christian Author
on November 28, 2003
"The Calling of Emily Evans"
Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1990
222 pp. $5.50
Do you like to read about things of the past? Did you ever wonder how the gospel was spread throughout the Canadian West prairies? Do you like reading a love story with a Christian theme. Then "The Calling of Emily Evans" would be a perfect choice for you. This book was written by Janette Oke, pronounced "Oak", under the genre of Christian fiction. She is an expert in this field of writing and one of the pioneers in writing in this style. She has won numerous awards that highlight her already glowing career in writing. Her first book "Love Comes Softly" has sold over one million copies. She has won the President's Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, the CBA Life Impact Award, and the Gold Medallion Book Award.
The targeted audience that the author writes to is women ages 16 - 24. She has also written some children's books. I believe that any women regardless of age would enjoy this book. The purpose of this book was to inform the readers of the missionary life of a women. The author researched many conference journals that spoke of the various things that went on with the women in the ministry. There is a dedication page that dedicates her book to all the women of the Missionary Church. The next page then tells a short biography about the author. The table of contents then follows listing the prologue first then the chapters are listed and on what page they begin. The chapters run smoothly from one to the other, they all fit together perfectly in harmony.
To summarize the book it begins by talking of a girl whose name is Emily Evans that is in Bible college. She felt lead by God to go to Bible college and while there listening to a sermon she feels that God has called her to preach. The church places her in a town called Wesson Creek. This is where she resides as she faces the trials and tribulations of being a minister of the Lord. Times are hard for young Emily, but with the help of God to strengthen her she has a small congregation. She falls in love with a young gentlemen but he does not have a commitment to God and so she can not let herself become involved. By the closing of the book this young man turns his life over to God and returns to his call from God that he had spurned when his preacher father died, and then his mother. He had become bitter towards God and did not want anything to do with God. But seeing a young girl taking on the task of feeding the flock, a ministry that he should have been doing. He came under conviction and turned back to God. He went back to Bible college and then asked Emily if she would be his wife.
The authors style of writing is simple and logical. She uses the broken dialect of the west with some of her characters which makes the story seem more real. You can feel each and every feeling that her characters are conveying, this is what makes this a great book. The only weakness that I can see is that the author portrays the use of a woman as a preacher as Biblical. This does not go along with the scriptures. They may have been used in the Missionary Church but there is no Biblical basis for this assumption. I think that the author should have thought on what the Bible says about such things. For example in I Timothy 2:12 "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." Also in I Timothy 3:2 "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;" These are but just few examples of what the scriptures say.
The strengths of this book are many. One can read this book and hear the gospel. The reader can come to know Christ as his Savior if he/she reads this book. Another strength is that the author knows and has researched how hard it was for families to provide just the basic necessities of life for themselves. She portrays their lifestyle with much conviction and truthfulness.
I believe this book does target the audience that it is intended for. It is also suitable for women that are older than her targeted age group and also even men. I liked the book and it was one of those books that you couldn't wait to turn the page so that you could see what was going to happen next. The only thing that I didn't like was the woman being a preacher, that would be one of the factors in my recommending this book to anyone else. I could not recommend a book that goes against anything that the Bible says is wrong.
By Allison Dolan
November 18, 2003