Coming to DVD from Shout! Factory is another holiday in beloved Hope Valley with “When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Homecoming.”
It is Christmas time again but this year carries a little sadness for Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) as Mountie Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) is still in the Northern Territories. Trying to keep busy, she works with town Mayor Abigail Stanton (Lori Loughlin), Rosemary Coulter (Pascale Hutton) and other townswomen on ideas to help celebrate the holidays.
They decide that this year that the tree in the middle of town will be decorated with wishes. Each person of Hope Valley writes down something they wish for and anyone is free to take a wish to help grant it. Immediately Elizabeth finds the wish from Robert, one of her students who wants a crib for a baby coming. It also keeps her from putting up her own wish ornament.
The town also begins to design a parade and when Abigail’s boy Cody (Carter Evancic) discovers a Christmas list from her son Peter, he is excited about his idea for a float. Rosemary is flustered as husband Lee (Kavan Smith) decides to close his business to allow families to prepare for the holidays. This means he is around the house more and getting underfoot! Inviting Elizabeth out to dinner, Rosemary convinces Elizabeth that she must put up her Christmas wish.
Jesse (Aren Buchholz) wants to get Clara (Eva Bourne) something beautiful for Christmas and when he learns that there is something special she wants, the money becomes the problem. In the spirit of the season, Jesse is able to find a bit of work that will allow him to buy the gift. While working, he discovers something that is tempting and knowing he already has been accepted by the town means he has to make a choice about what is right.
Elizabeth is stunned to learn that Bill Avery (Jack Wagner) called in a favor and managed to have Jack back in Hope Valley, even if only for a few days. Abigail learns from Bill that there is prisoner overcrowding and that some of them are sleeping in extremely cold tents making her think of Henry Gowen (Martin Cummins). She asks Bill to have Henry brought to Hope Valley where he can spend the night in the jail cell and do community service during the day.
Now that Jack is back for the holidays, Rosemary practically begs Elizabeth to help give Lee something to do. Even Lee is thrilled when Jack asks him to help with the holiday floats! As the celebration gets closer, Abigail and Cody are disappointed to learn that the snow is so bad that daughter Becky won’t be able to come home.
But it is the holidays in Hope Valley, a place of people who are not always what they seem and a town of people who want what is best for one another which is love and extended family celebrating the most precious time of year.
Krakow as Elizabeth continues to be so endearing as Hope Valley’s beloved schoolteacher. This character has such a good heart to the point of feeling selfish about putting a wish on the town tree and it is Krakow that brings those emotions to the screen. Her infectious smile and sense of lightness make me root for her and Jack so much more.
Speaking of Jack, Lissing as Mountie Jack is equally as endearing as his co-star. Being away in the Northern Territory, it is when he returns to Hope Valley that he is torn. Instead of becoming down, Lissing’s character embraces the time with Elizabeth and gives of himself to the town he cherishes. Who can’t love a guy like that?
Loughlin as Abigail is now Hope Valley’s Mayor while still running the Cafe. Discovering what it takes to run a town, she doesn’t shy away from the problems left by Henry Gowen. Happy to have her kids Cody and Becky home for the holidays, she is excited about all the fun planned for the town. She also still believes that there is something good in Henry.
Wagner as Avery is the law in Hope Valley and although not happy with Abigail’s request to have Henry in town, he wants to believe as she does but is also leery. Cummins as Gowen doesn’t understand why Abigail would do such a giving thing for him and keeps to himself while doing community service.
Hutton as Rosemary is always so delightful, lovely and has surprising moments where she completely says all the right things! This season she learns that it isn’t always necessary to be the brightest star in the sky. I love Rosemary’s relationship with her husband always wanting to do special things for him and even when it’s a little quirky; it isn’t any less special to him. Smith as Lee is taking it easy for the holidays; at least it starts out that way! When he has the chance to be part of the holiday makings for Hope Valley, Lee is all in!
Evancic as Cody is a young man who clearly loves Abigail and wants her to know how much. Finding a way to bring son Peter back into her heart and not let him be forgotten for the holidays means everything and Hope Valley helps him accomplish his goals. Bourne as Clara is a young woman who is falling hard for the rogue Jesse. She knows he has a past but the longer he stays in the town, the more he is accepted. Buchholz as Jesse is put in a position where he must decide whether his old life means more or what he feels now for his adopted home and the young lady he has eyes for.
SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite “Long Way North,” and the epic fantasy “Beauty and the Beast.” Also their own original horror film, “Fender Bender,” gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer go to www.shoutfactory.com.
Inspired by the books written by Janette Oke, the series began airing in the United States in 2014 and quickly found a loyal following among fans who love the storyline. “When Calls the Heart” is executive produced by Michael Landon Jr. and can be seen on The Hallmark Channel.
“When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Homecoming” is a very sweet treat for the New Year. Who doesn’t want to return once again to the people and place that is Hope Valley and be a part of their holiday celebration? There is something extremely special about this series because, in truth, we all want to be a part of such a caring and strong community.
Perhaps that’s what draws everyone back season after season, the sense of nostalgia of when people were not buried by the fast-paced daily living. Instead, we can stop for a moment and breathe becoming enveloped in Hope Valley and the people doing the best they can. In the midst of it all, they remind each other to embrace life and remember to care for everyone — and I mean everyone.
Also, with every episode reminds me of what I came to believe about the series from its beginning. “When Calls the Heart” continues to hold precious the simple values we hold dear. There is nothing like a community that builds on love, family, friendship, and faith — and nothing has changed my opinion about that.
I personally would give just about anything to be there when they finally film the wedding between Jack and Elizabeth. That is actually a shared feeling between myself and other watchers of “When Calls the Heart” — we’ve spent time getting to know these characters and nothing beats a good country wedding filled with love!
In the end — join in their celebration!