Monday, March 10, 2014

When Calls The Heart: Lost and Found

When Calls the Heart: Lost and Found” tells the captivating story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coalmining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges. Lori Loughlin plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion.

The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) who believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman’s career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. Living in a 19th century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own.
The series is inspired by Janette Oke’s bestselling book series about the Canadian West, and reunites Oke with Executive Producer and Director, Michael Landon, Jr. (back cover)

This is the first DVD of 10 in the series. Written by Michael Landon Jr., Cindy Kelley, and Brian Bird.

When Calls The Heart: Lost and Found is the first episode of a series that began on the Hallmark Channel Jan. 11, 2014. Based on the Canadian West novels of Janette Oke, but not an adaptation of the books. There was also a television movie that debuted last year that tied the 2 together a bit closer. I saw that movie and loved it. It also caused a bit of confusion at the beginning of this dvd for me since there was a change in the lead actress, a new Canadian Mountie, and the ending of the movie had been changed to reflect the new direction the series is taking. Also, a couple of other scenes from the movie had been reused with slight alterations. However, I quickly adapted and quit trying to compare the two.

The drama of a small town coming to grips with the disaster of a mine collapse and the deaths of so many
husbands, fathers, sons, relatives, and friends could easily become maudlin, but there are enough elements of comedy and romance to soften the harsh realities. While Elizabeth and Daniel may be the main focus, the story of the townspeople weaves through this a fascinating drama. The determination of the women to do whatever it takes to support their families and give them options, the children trying to adapt to their loss, and everyone in the town trying to come to terms with their new normal.

 The characters are well developed and each seems to have the determination and strength to get through no matter what comes their way. I do think it a little odd that even the weakest of them aren't more prone to give-up, but this is only episode 1. The character that I thought was the best written was the "villian" of the piece...the mine supervisor. There are times when he is does the wrong thing, but I felt that the very nature of his job would make him have to be a bit cold-hearted in making some decisions.

Altogether, really balanced storyline, characters that you will come to care about, delightful scenery, and you are left wanting to know more of the story at the end of the episode. The fact that my grandfather and a couple of uncles were coalminers gave this an additional fascination for me, but would have kept my attention anyway. Not quite a 5 star for me, but right at a 4.5. I definitely recommend this particular dvd, and I am sure that the others will live up to the hope I have for this series.

Thank you to Edify Media and Word Entertainment for providing me with a copy of this dvd for review purposes. No expectations were given for a good review, and only an honest one was promised.

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