A while back, when I got the Hallmark Channel, the channel would frequently play the movie versions of Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series. Michael Landon, Jr. directed some of them, and Katherine Heigl was in the first two. Sometimes, the Hallmark Channel would play the movies all day, one after the other!
I really liked the first movie. In that, Heigl plays Marty, who lost her husband. She stays with a Christian widower, who has a little girl, Missy. Marty does not immediately fall in love with the widower, but the love comes softly as she gets to know him.
The second movie, I found to be so-so. Missy is grown-up, and she has two suitors: a guy with lots of money, and a guy with not so much money. Missy talks with her step-Mom Marty, who offers her some advice. Later, when the guy with money tells Missy that she will never want for anything if she marries him, Missy recoils. Missy realizes that marriage should be about two people getting through tough times, not trying to escape them. I guess the rich guy said the wrong thing!
I struggled to get into some of the movies after that. They just did not interest me. I was also somewhat puzzled—-maybe unjustifiably so, but puzzled nonetheless. These movies that I was seeing did not have much humor, a lighter side, if you will. Michael Landon’s stuff had both serious, heavy material but also a bit of humor that gave the viewer a break, or that lightened the emotional load a little. These Love Come Softly movies, some of them directed by Michael Landon, Jr., did not have that, as far as I could see.
I wrote about this complaint of mine on a Christian discussion board, and a lady informed me that Michael Landon, Jr. did not originate these stories, but the movies were based on Janette Oke’s series of books. After that, the series did not come to my mind that much.
I’m thinking of revisiting them, though. I’ll probably read the books rather than get the movies off Netflix. I don’t have time to watch TV during the day on account of my dissertation work. At nights, I watch TV with the family (while reading), and, when requesting a Netflix DVD, I try to get stuff that all three of us might enjoy. I doubt that my Mom and step-Dad would particularly like the Love Comes Softly series. In reading the books, I will probably be able to get into the stories more and become more attached to the characters.
Why am I interested in this? Well, first of all, I am getting into Christian fiction. Some of it is good, some of it is not-so-good, and some of it is in between these extremes. There is a part of me that likes stories with a redemptive, inspiring message that I can carry through life, or a moral lesson. There are many readers who do not like that, who prefer books that reflect messiness. I have to admit that there is another part of me that identifies with them, that sees Christian fiction as a bit monochromatic. While I like Christian fiction, I enjoy it even better when the characters are rounded and complexities are acknowledged.
Secondly, I miss watching Little House on the Prairie, and so perhaps inspirational books about the pioneer days can meet that desire that I have.
I seriously doubt that I’ll be reading Love Comes Softly anytime soon. I have review books to read. I am reading Catherine Marshall’s Christy. I want to finish Lynn Austin’s books on Hezekiah and Manasseh, and perhaps read some of her other books, such as her Civil War trilogy. But I may read the Love Comes Softly series sometime down the road.