Moving to a new town is never easy, but when the beautiful and headstrong Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) leaves behind her life of privilege to take up a teaching position in the pioneer lands of Northwest Canada, neither Elizabeth, nor the townsfolk, realise quite what they’re in for.
The year 1910 was not a kind time for women who were out to make a life for themselves and the first 24 hours in Coal Valley are anything but smooth for Elizabeth.
After a stage coach robbery resulting in all of her belongings being stolen, Elizabeth arrives in town sleeping in the back of a hay cart looking very ruffled. Not the first-impression she was hoping to give the women of the town whose children she would be teaching, but humorous nevertheless. Afraid of mice, outhouses and wolves, Elizabeth also manages to burn down her accommodation on her first night.
But things are not quite as they seem in the little town of Coal Valley. On top of adjusting to a new school teacher, the town is still reeling from a recent mining tragedy which took the lives of many fathers and sons. To add to their grief, the local church has also been burnt down.
A town in need of restoration, this was certainly going to be a challenging first teaching post for Elizabeth and in the hope of replacing her princess image with a sturdier impression, she pulls up her sleeves and gets to work.
When the handsome constable Jack Thornton arrives on the scene, romantic embers quickly turn into fiery sparks as the revelation of who Elizabeth’s father is, angers the young constable who feels like he has been put on babysitting watch. The comic relief provided by this antagonistic relationship, is both endearing and entertaining and grows into something much more.
Mr Henry Gowan, is the rich intimidating owner of the mine and makes life increasingly difficult for the widows, evicting them from their houses and forcing them into hard labor to win their houses back. Pulling together, Elizabeth uses her resources to join the women of the town in their search for hope and to overcome some very big obstacles.Together they learn to trust each other.
The endearing people and children of Coal Valley quickly find their way into Elizabeth’s heart and she in turn to theirs. Each child becomes very special to her and as Elizabeth keeps a motherly eye over her school, she becomes an integral part of the community.
This is a town in need of healing and despite her frequent cooking failures, Elizabeth may just be the ray of sunshine the town unwittingly needs and this town may also be exactly what Elizabeth needs.
This series has all the marks of a beautifully created Hallmark film. The warm tones and breathtaking scenery are not only a feast for the eyes but also for the heart.
With an array of excellent acting, you may recognise Sydney’s own Daniel Lissing who plays the role of Constable Jack Thornton, previously appearing in the Australian series Home and Away and Packed to the Rafters.
When Calls the Heart is based on Janette Oke’s novel by the same name and developed by Michael Landon Jr, son of Michael Landon, writer and producer of Little House on the Prairie. It carries the same heartwarming stories of a people and a community that will keep you waiting in expectation for the next episode. Join the town of Coal Valley as they journey through joys and heartaches, laughter and tears, mysteries and challenges in the search of something greater – hope.
Check out our guide for more information on when ‘When Calls the Heart’ is available.