Dana's Valley

Dana's Valley

4.7 7
by Janette Oke

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New Look for a Bestselling Author's Mother-Daughter Collaboration

Erin Walsh thinks her family is as close to perfect as it can be. When one grim diagnosis is all it takes to shake her family to the core, she wonders if they can ever go back to they way they were. Erin's attempts to go about life as usual feel empty and as each member of her family seems to


New Look for a Bestselling Author's Mother-Daughter Collaboration

Erin Walsh thinks her family is as close to perfect as it can be. When one grim diagnosis is all it takes to shake her family to the core, she wonders if they can ever go back to they way they were. Erin's attempts to go about life as usual feel empty and as each member of her family seems to struggle alone, she is about ready to give up on God. However, Erin has yet to learn that God will never give up on her.

Editorial Reviews

Appropriately, bestselling author Janette Oke and her daughter Laurel Oke Logan have written a novel about how one family struggled to overcome obstacles to faith.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bestselling novelist Oke is a mainstay in the Christian fiction market but, unfortunately, this newest offering, coauthored with her daughter, falls flat, despite a promising plot. Dana, a young teenager, is diagnosed with a terminal illness and her solidly Christian family deals with the resulting turmoil. Oke and Logan make a noble attempt to show that Christian families don't always enjoy rosy lives in the midst of suffering and affliction. A teen son strays, a younger child feels neglected and a sister struggles with bitterness toward God. Yet despite chapters of narration describing the family's daily life before the cancer wreaks its havoc, there is little character development. The book is wooden where it has the chance to evoke deep emotions. For example, when the siblings wait at the house for the call telling them Dana's bone-marrow transplant surgery is completed, sister Erin notes, "We were all a bit anxious." No kidding. There are a few sweet moments, including one in which Dana's little brother, Corey, chooses a spot for his tree where she can see it from her window. However, everything is wrapped up quickly, neatly and unbelievably in the end. After pages of bitterness over her sister's disease, we see the younger sister's attitude toward God changed in a few paragraphs. This passionless story falls short of other titles in Christian domestic fiction, including Oke's own work. (Apr.) Forecast: Oke's books have sold more than 20 million copies to date, so this will surely enjoy strong sales among her many fans. New readers, however, will likely be disappointed, and lackluster reviews won't drive many to the book in any case, hobbling the crossover ambitions for this one. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Despite its title, this book belongs to Dana's sister, Erin, who is ten when the book begins. Erin is the third of four children in a busy, happy, Christian family. She enjoys an especially close relationship with Dana, who is just fourteen months older. The first indications of trouble come when Dana is feeling excessively tired and continually seems to be getting sick. At first, she is diagnosed with lupus, but medication does not help. When the doctors finally discover that she has leukemia, the family's reaction to Dana's illness is realistic. The mother becomes totally absorbed in Dana's care, neglecting the other children, especially four-year-old Corey. The father is working longer hours to pay the bills. The older brother stops attending church and takes up with some disreputable friends. Erin struggles with her fear, resentment, and grief with growing maturity, although her Christian faith is sorely tested. The plot is predictable, and Oke and Logan takes their time in the telling. The lengthiness of the book gives the reader ample time to experience all of the family's changes as gradually as they occur. The family's Christianity is evident in its commitment to prayer, church, and the Bible, but the realizations the members receive from their faith are not exclusive to Christians. This book will be popular with good readers, especially girls who devour all the Christian literature that they can find. Readers who are not Christians but are fans of Lurlene McDaniel might appreciate the way Erin comes to terms with her sister's illness. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High,defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, Bethany House, 300p, $15.99, $11.95 Trade pb. Ages 12 to Adult. Reviewer: Diane Masla SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
Library Journal
Dana's Valley

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Baker Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt


I slipped the butterfly bookmark between the pages of the journal and gazed out the window of my bedroom. I had been determined to keep any tears in check, but the familiar handwriting and the long-ago memories filled up my heart and tugged at my emotions, and I wiped at my damp cheek. It was more nostalgia than pain, though, that evoked my deep feelings. I guess I was rather surprised when I realized that fact. Then came sweet relief, and I felt myself smile as I picked up the book to continue my perusal. But I didn't resume reading immediately. I sat staring at the small volume in my hands, musing silently. The journal's story was not mine—but it was so intricately involved with my own personal journey that the words on the page seemed like my own.

Perhaps it is only when we are deemed adults that we really begin to understand, to appreciate, to evaluate our formative years. I think it has certainly been so for me. Looking back, I feel I am beginning to put some events from those years into a broader context. I am discovering the roots of the values I hold dear. Those mental images of childhood I have now been able to frame and arrange in some kind of order so I can step back and look at how I have been shaped into who I am. My understanding of life, of its joys and struggles, of family and of relationships, of how they mold and stretch us beyond who we might have been on our own, takes on new significance.

I know no family is perfect. But I also know that my average midwestern Christian family tackled the changes and trials we faced remarkably well, all things considered. Our parents must have started us out with a pretty solid base—or our story might have had an entirely different ending. We are closer to one another now than we have ever been.

My understanding of my heavenly Father—who He is, how He loves us—has been changed as well. This fuller view of God can only happen when one has faced challenges and trials, when one has been stretched beyond what is secure and comfortable. God is now more real, more present, more involved, in every part of my life. As my grandmother shared recently with me over a cup of tea, that is indeed the goal of our journey here on earth.

But perhaps you will understand more fully what I am attempting to say if I tell our family's story. To do that, I must take you back some years....

* * *

Corey had taken a third helping of oatmeal, and no one seemed to notice. It was the first day of our new school, and attentions were diverted elsewhere. Dana had been late coming to breakfast, and even now she was complaining of aches and pains. Mom tried to question her, wondering if she might be coming down with an other flu, but there seemed to be no symptoms other than the aches. We'd already nursed her through an episode of flu since we had moved into the new house, and now I was a little perturbed. Surely she wasn't doing this just to get out of school on the very first day. But in my heart I knew this wasn't in Dana's nature.

"How'd you sleep?" Dad inquired.

Everyone was so preoccupied with Dana that no one was paying any attention elsewhere. I decided since no one else had noticed the dribbles of oatmeal running across the table from the pot to Corey's bowl, I'd better step in. "Corey, I think you've had plenty."

He looked at me crosswise. "I'm big today. So I can eat more."

"Dana, I just can't figure it out," Mom was saying.

"You don't have a fever. Maybe it's just a growth spurt that's making your back and arms ache. Though it seems like I've heard more often about leg aches with growing pains. What do you think, Dave? Should she just stay home?"

By this time Dad was standing behind Dana and feeling along her spine. "When you say it aches, honey, what do you mean? Does it hurt in one place like a bruise, or does it feel more like you've strained a muscle or something?"

Corey began pouring his third serving of milk into his bowl, splashing freely.

"I don't know, Daddy. It just sort of aches. It's almost like the pain moves around. I can't explain it. Maybe I should just take some Tylenol. It'll probably go away once I get to school."

"Dave, I don't like it," Mom murmured. "It's too strange a thing to just let it go. I think I'll call Dr. Miller. I'd feel better if we got it checked out. Though I'm not sure what more he can tell us."

Dad nodded, and Mom headed for the phone in the office, where she could hear better.

"I know just how you feel, Dana." Grandma, who was now frequently joining us at the breakfast table, patted Dana's hand. "I get those aches and pains too. Lucky for you, you'll outgrow yours."

When Corey had dumped three large spoonfuls of brown sugar into his bowl, I couldn't keep silent any longer. "Doesn't anybody else see this?" Once I had their attention, I motioned at the mess around Corey's dish and its heaping contents.

"It's just sugar, dear." Grandma smiled at Corey. "It won't hurt him."

I wanted to argue with her but instead turned back to Dana as she spoke.

"I'll be okay, Daddy. But I'd like to go lie down. If I can just rest for a while, then I think I'll be okay. Maybe I could go to school after lunch."

That was as much as I could take. I had piano to practice, and I was glad for a chance to get away from the chaos around the table. Corey could eat all the oatmeal and sugar he wanted. I was just glad to wash my hands of it.


Excerpted from:
Dana's Valley
Copyright © 2001, Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan
ISBN: 0764224514 (paperback), 0764225146 (hardcover), 0764225162 (large print),0764225254 (audio)
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.


Meet the Author

Janette Oke's novels have sold over 25 million copies. Janette and her husband, Edward, live in Alberta, Canada.

Laurel Oke Logan, daughter of Janette and Edward Oke, is the author of the bestselling Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie and In the Quiet of This Moment. Laurel lives with her family in Indiana.
Bestselling author Janette Oke is celebrated for her significant contribution to the Christian book industry. Her novels have sold more than thirty million copies, and she's the recipient of the ECPA President's Award, the CBA Life Impact Award, the Gold Medallion, and the Christy Award. Janette and her husband, Edward, live in Alberta, Canada.
Laurel Oke Logan, daughter of Edward and Janette Oke, is the author of Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie, as well as the novels Dana's Valley, Where Courage Calls, and Where Trust Lies, which she co-wrote with her mom. Laurel's growing family includes six children, their spouses, and three grandsons.

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Dana's Valley 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like this author. She writes good books with good topics.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It jerked at my heart and really think about the meaning of life. It contains a priceless message.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this and feel in love with it.I laughed and I cried so hard.It is a very sad book.And I LOVE it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sounds good!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book shows that a mother and daughter writing team really works. I felt that I was almost living at the house that the family did in the book. They used words that made the story very realistic. This book is very moving and should not be missed by anyone.