Normally, when this conversation comes up, I mention Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. This mess is probably the worst I've seen. The book is amazing, just for the record and VERY different from the Anne Hathaway movie. I will say, I do love Anne Hathaway, but Ella is not a hippie, ogre/elf rights activist. Ella is more of a Cinderella character with a whole bunch of plot twists. And the book DOESN'T TALK. It's just a fairy gift.
But back to my main topic of conversation. For years, I have been lamenting the fact that Hallmark has been turning Janette Oke's books into movies. I actually saw the movie, "Love Comes Softly," before I read the books. The books, let me state, are very much in the style of L.I. Wilder, and are sometimes more biographical than storylike in nature sometimes. Especially when it comes to Marty's step-daughter Missy (who is never widowed in the books, by the way). For some reason, Hallmark though it would be a good idea to turn everyone into a widow. First Marty, then Missy and of course, Belinda - who by the way, was Marty and Clark's biological "surprise child." Missy never adopted her, nor did her husband die. She and her sister Ellie both live very happy lives in the west with a passel of children.
But OH MY GOODNESS - when I found out that Hallmark was working on the Canadian West series, I about had a heart attack. You have to understand that those books are my favorite of all things Janette Oke. The first book, "When Calls the Heart," is a wonderful story. I was completely petrified, worrying that they would ruin this perfectly good story.
It took me a while to get up the courage to watch the movie.
Anyways, to set the record straight, the movie really messed with the Thatcher family tree.
To begin with here's the REAL DEAL.
Elizabeth's mother was a widow with one son, Jonathan, from her first marriage. She then married Elizabeth's father and together they have, Margaret, Ruthie, Elizabeth, Julie and Matthew.
Jonathan left Toronto, Canada and moved to Calgary where he and his wife Mary have four children: William, Sarah, Kathleen and Baby Elizabeth.
It's this Baby Elizabeth that I think the movie is trying to tell the story of, but they completely mixed up siblings.
Wynn, was Elizabeth's brother Jonathan's Mountie friend. Jonathan's children call him, "Dee," which is half the reason Elizabeth was confused about Wynn's marital status (which the movie did get correct). The scenes with the smokey fire and the box social are in the book. Elizabeth never met her family's "very-single" Dee, but did meet the Uncle Wynn of Phillip Delaney. These events were true.
She actually found out the truth from her sister in law, not Lydia Delaney. Mary corrected her in private when Wynn showed up at the Calgary Thatcher home when Elizabeth come home on visit from her school near Lacombe. But knowing that Wynn isn't Lydia Delaney's husband isn't the the meat of the plot as the movie would have you believe. The real plot is merely hinted at in the movie by way of mentioning the, "why a mountie can't marry," speech.
Here's the speech, by the way:
"Other men can run their lives in this order: God, wife, work; but [a mountie's] has to be: God, work, wife, and [Wynn] won't as a woman to take the lesser position."Hence ensues the plot. following which are adorable scenes where Elizatbeth fakes a broken ankle and such to get time alone with Wynn in order to change his mind.
You really ought to read the book.
It's told in first person, and in some ways, is very much like the movie, SOME WAYS. It drove me nuts that they over simplified the situation with Andy. In truth, Andy got headaches because he got kicked by a horse in the head when he was little, and never fully recovered. That's why they held the box social. Everyone knew Andy was a little slow when it came to his schoolwork and why he got headaches. He wasn't sick.
And I'm sorry to say, Elizabeth actually stood Wynn up after he bought her box lunch (this was when she though he was married.) The movie was correct is stating that Phillip Sr. was in the hospital, however.
And about the mice... She did buy traps, but ended up letting her SINGLE mouse live in peaceful coexistence with her. And she wasn't late her first day. She was on time. And her students weren't near as bad as the movie made the out to be, most of them were simply incredibly uneducated. And she actually began creating lessons on nature because she wanted Wynn's help. She never got poison ivy.
If you can't tell, I'm going crazy right now.
What I'm trying to say, is that when a scriptwriter is working from a book, they ought to stick as close to the original as possible. I do understand that movies need more action than books sometimes provide, but I would rather they simplify scenes, or create plausible scenes, than modify facts about the story.
Maybe it's the author in me - I'm just a tad scared that one day I'll write a book and someone requests movie rights. Let me just state right now - I want to write the script, or at least oversee the writing of the script. No one is doing the same doozy on my book that Hallmark does on Janette Oke books.
But really - READ BOOKS people.
It's always better than the movie.
And for those of you who wondered at the end of the movie what happened to Wynn and Elizabeth, let me just say - Wynn finally figures out that a woman, if she loves a man enough, can handle the Northern frontier and not regret marrying him.
And Elizabeth does stay in touch with her brother's family, contrary to the movie. She sends letters at every opportunity. They even attend her wedding.
Anyways, I'm done. My rant is over. I just had to make a point about books being better than movies.
Ella Enchanted, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Love Comes Softly, and When Calls the Heart. All perfect examples. The book is always better.
I'm done now.
Oh... and one final thought. I am an avid watcher of Arrow and the Flash. When I realized that Stephen Amell was playing Wynn - that's half the reason I finally sucked it up and watched When Calls the Heart. Seeing him in period clothing was pretty awesome.