*If you are new here, WELCOME! For When Calls the Heart, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
If your book club hasn’t read, When Calls the Heart, I recommend it for a light-hearted read. I decided to read When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke after watching the Hallmark series by the same name. (Maybe I watch too much Hallmark–is that a thing?)
This book will remind you of simpler and slower times in this fast-paced world of ours, and sometimes it’s good to remember to slow down. There’s still plenty to discuss within the pages, and I’ve provided book club questions and a tasty recipe for blueberry coffee cake as well! So if you’re looking for food ideas and more for your book club’s meeting about When Calls the Heart, keep reading!
Here’s a quick summary for When Calls the Heart:
In this book, set in early 20th Century Canada, Elizabeth Thatcher ventures out to the Canadian west to become a teacher for a small community. The challenges brought on by living alone in a desolate place and teaching a group of children who have never been offered the opportunity to attend school will test her. It’s the eyes and the disarming smile of a quiet and kind member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that will slowly erode her perceptions of the wild, uncivilized men of the West and find her surprised at the sudden softening of her independent heart.
For the When Calls the Heart recipe:
For this book, I decided to create a version of Anna Peterson’s Coffee Cake. If you are looking for food ideas for When Calls the Heart, look no further!
Anna sends coffee cake and stew to Elizabeth frequently throughout the book and is a quiet, but ever-present, figure in her new home. She often sends goodies through Lars or Else, her son and daughter, knowing how their sweet spirits will cheer up Elizabeth.
When Calls the Heart Blueberry Coffee Cake
- ½ stick of butter (1/4 cup) softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ stick of butter (1/4 cup) softened
- 1/3 cup flour
For the cake:
- Mix softened butter and sugar until creamed. Add the egg and mix again.
- Then, mix in ½ of dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder).
- Next, add ½ of wet ingredients (milk, vanilla) and mix.
- Repeat last two steps until everything but the blueberries is incorporated.
- Fold in the blueberries with a spatula.
- Place mixture into a buttered 9X13 baking dish with a spatula.
For the topping:
- Mix softened butter and brown sugar.
- Stir in flour and cinnamon.
- Fold in the pecans.
- Crumble over the cake mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes until the cake rises and the topping is browned.
When Calls the Heart Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
- Why do you think Elizabeth ultimately agrees to travel to the Canadian West despite her first reservations? Would you have been able to leave home at a young age and start a life somewhere so foreign?
- Elizabeth is a very independent woman when it comes to dealing with questionable characters like Mr. Higgins and in respect to living alone in the less-than-ideal teacherage, but that strength seems to flail in the presence of unwanted tenants (mice). Why do you think mice play a large role in this story and why is Elizabeth unable to deal with them as she dealt with other problems?
- When it is revealed later in the book that Kathleen’s Dee is actually Wynn Delaney, did you see that coming? Did the fact that little Kathleen adores Dee soften you to Wynn’s character? Do you think this was also a turning point in Elizabeth’s feelings towards Wynn? Why or why not?
- Did you enjoy reading the scenes about Elizabeth and her students? Which parts did you find believable, which parts did you feel lacked, and what would you have liked to see that wasn’t included?
- When Elizabeth decides to return home after a year at her school and leave her students, did you find this change in character? Did you think Elizabeth would come back after the school holiday?
- Do you think it is the loneliness of the Canadian west or the fact that Elizabeth “comes into her own” through her independence that cause her to reevaluate her desire for a husband?
- Did you enjoy the scenes with Elizabeth’s brother and his family or the scenes in with the school and community better?
- Did you feel like there was enough interaction with Wynn to make a believable romance? What other scenes could the author have added to create a stronger romantic storyline?
- How do you think this book compares to the Hallmark series of the same name?
- If you are a fan of Janette Oke, how do you think it compares to her other books/series? What do you like better or what do you like less than the others?
Have you read When Calls the Heart? What questions came up in your mind while reading? What was your favorite part?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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