Book vs. Movie {When Calls the Heart}

8:06 AM



Hola everyone!
This is a new thing on Saved by Grace called "Book vs Movie". Technically I will compare a book vs. what the movie or TV show adaption did to it. Today we have When Calls the Heart the TV show, and The Canadian West Saga, which I have been a fan of for forever!
The book "When Calls the Heart" is from The Canadian West Saga by the amazing Janette Oake. It is a lovely series, one I highly recommend! It is worth your time and some of my favorite books!
I read them when I was eleven and I'm a die hard book purist and fan when it comes to this.
That being said I was very wary of watching the TV show from Hallmark channel when I received it over a year ago (I did a review of it here last winter).
First let's compare characters...
Movie (or TV Show)

Jack never disappoints me once during season 1 and 2! Daniel Lissing's performance is exceptional, and he is definitely my favorite character so far without a doubt! He does very well with Erin Krakaw and together they make a perfect team for the show! With the show I am not disappointed in this character in the least! He can pretty much do anything - take out outlaws for one - while he can also paint, give advice, and be a super amazing friend and mountie.

Vs. 
Book

Now in the book When Calls the Heart, Jack (otherwise known as Wynn in the books), is determined NOT to marry because he is a mountie and mountie's don't usually get married because of the hardships of living in the north. He doesn't want to drag Elizabeth into it all.
Now, unlike the TV show he is much more resolved in this and it takes the whole first book for him to finally come to that conclusion.
In the TV show however, Elizabeth is the one hindering the relationship from progressing, which leads to annoying me and my whole family (more on that next).
So to sum it up, Jack is great in both the book and show. He wins either way and Daniel Lissing is Jack for sure!

Movie (or TV Show)

Elizabeth is a lovable character for me in season 1, bringing across much of what I expected. Erin Krakow is perfect with Daniel Lissing and together they make a great team in the show and are absolutely ADORABLE!
From my perspective, without comparing her to the book, she could have been better in character development. She leads both Charles and Jack on in season 2, giving us a prolonged season of - who will she choose? Obviously we know the answer so it's really a dumb thing to go through.
Otherwise, I still did enjoy Elizabeth but she is slowly becoming my least fave character because of her indecisive attitude.

Vs. 
Book
I LOVED Elizabeth's character in the whole saga! She was funny, a strong Christian, and slowly learning to adapt to life as a country school teacher. She assumes Wynn (Jack) is married in the first book in the saga but is falling in love with him despite her better judgement, and Wynn wonders why the new school teacher is avoiding him. It really is hilarious and should have been in the show!
Elizabeth leads no one on that I remember, and her character progresses even more as her and Wynn marry and go farther into uncivilized wilderness.
To sum her up she's really good in the show, but even better in the book. The writers need to straighten her out and get her married to Jack! We are going places the saga never went to, and if she's not engaged by the end of season 3, I will sorely be disappointed

Book
plot

The plot in the book was fantastic! It went from Elizabeth adapting to the west as a school teacher to then having to go even more out of her comfort zone after marrying Wynn! Her character developed better after getting married it seemed, because she had to learn how to adapt to living in a small cabin, conversing with Indians, etc, and through that time we meet new friends,  feel her pain as she longs for a child, go trough natural disasters, etc, etc. The plot was deep, the end fulfilling.
Vs. 
TV show
plot



The plot of season 1 was excellent (outlaws, romance, inspirational themes - lots of good stuff), while season 2 lacked what the saga had to offer - I don't even see any of the saga's plots in season 2! It was really a crummy season with some good, heart warming moments, but most of it leaving me upset and unsatisfied with a soap opera feel.
This isn't to say I don't like the show. The plot still is good, the characters are amazing, the acting amazing - a lot of it amazing! It has a lot of potential to go places and add more of the books (which I'm obviously hoping for).
Sadly, the costumes in the show are a little strange and out of place for the time period, the mining town a little too clean and well kept, and some of the characters wearing jewelry where otherwise they'd been too poor.
Other then that (which I knew seems like a lot), the attraction between Jack and Elizabeth that happened in season 1 makes me want to press forwards. They are lovable and it holds a lot of good things (just follow the books Michael Landon Jr.!!!).

On a side note: Lee and Rosemary were and are an awesome addition! For some reason they go well together and I think they added some much needed lightheartedness in season 2!

To sum it up in my Book vs. Movie (or in this case, TV Show) post - both are great but the books in my opinion were better. The characters need to pick up like they were in season 1, and Elizabeth needs to realize what she's doing wrong.
As I'm writing this post I have one episode left of season 2 to watch (but I pretty much know everything that is going to happen from spoilers),  so far books are better in terms of plot and story line, but the characters blend together in my mind from the show and books because they are just like I imagined as an eleven year old!
What did you think of the show and the books? Please feel free to fangirl, comment, and chat, below!

Imagines via Pinterest and taken from the show's season 1 and 2
.

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13 of your thoughts

  1. I have never read the books, but I have seen the first couple seasons of this show and really enjoyed it! In my experience, the books are always better. I also thought that some of the costumes/hairstyles were out of place for the time period. They seemed a little more accurate in the first season and then in the second season the costumes started looking too modern and inauthentic. But the characters are still lovable and the story-line is intriguing. :)

    Thanks for this comparison! I think I will try and read the books now.

    Dani | a vapor in the wind

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    Replies
    1. Yes, books do tend to be better and I always enjoy them even more so. I think one of the reasons for me is because I can "see" what the characters are thinking and feeling and a more in depth look at times.
      The books are very good but book one is more a difficult read but still worth it. Just a little warning ahead of time. =) Technically it's because the characters where Elizabeth teach, speak differently and it shows that in the book, making them more difficult to understand. Still, like I said, it's good!
      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. After I started watching the tv show, I decided to read the series. I then found out that the show is not based on "When Calls the Heart" or even part of the "Canadian West" series that the book is a part of. The tv series is based on the "Return to the Canadian West" series that is about Elizabeth Thatcher's much younger cousin whose name was also Elizabeth Thatcher. "Where Courage Calls" is the first book in the "Return to the Canadian West" series. The tv show is based on that book

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but the TV show is based also on the first movie Michael Landon Jr. did called When Calls the Heart which was based on the Canadian West Saga. =)

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  3. Oh!!! How interesting! I really enjoyed the tv show, so I sought out the books & I've been reading them wondering why the tv show went so far off the storyline with Jack instead of Wynn, Coal Valley instead of Pine Valley (something like that), dragging out the romance vs. getting engaged at the end of the first book & married by the beginning of the second book! Then, like you said, they were off as a married couple to the northern settlement with Native Americans, where as the show does not even mention those things. So I'm going to have to read the "Return to the Canadian West" series & spot the similarities & differences between the show & the book. I do think that so much of the "Canadian West" series would be an intriguing show to watch! Interesting post! Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for commenting! It would have been - nothing like making a book nerd mad by changing the books and making the TV show different. However, I'm a huge fan of the show so I can't fault it much. Haha.

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  4. Above all I'm so happy to find a clean tv show & books that have elements of faith & trust in God. I believe it's so needed & so hard to come by!!

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  5. The Christmas movie is on now. I grew up on the books, but still very much enjoy the show! :-)

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    1. Ohhh how was it? I'm dying to have a look see at that movie!!!!

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  6. I've just stumbled upon this show and three episodes in I totally love it! Thank you so much for your helpful review. I desperately wanted to learn more about the books and the show. Now on your recommendation I will find the books and enjoy both! :-)

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  7. I finished the Canadian West series clear through When Tomorrow Comes. I just started the Return to the Canadian West series. I’m confused. I know Mary and John had an Elizabeth. I assumed that Beth was their Elizabeth but they did not have a daughter named Julie... that was Elizabeth’s sister. Are they just mixing characters? What am I missing? Should I just not try and connect the two series? Trying to figure this out. If you have any insight please fill me in! Thank you!

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    1. DON't try to connect the two series - I couldn't haha. Honestly it's just too confusing and I prefer the Canadian West Saga overall... *sigh*
      Sorry I couldn't be of more help!

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  8. if you read return to the canadian west, it's more along the lines of the tv show.
    jack is called jarrick by elizabeth.
    Wynn is the guy that the older cousin elizabeth married. the elizabeth of the tv show is the daughter of Wynn's elizabeth's uncle.

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