Book Review: The Calling of Ella McFarland

22 Mar

51TMntnn5pL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Ella McFarland’s dream is a teaching position at Worthington School for Girls. But scandal clouds her family name and may limit her to a life of grueling farm labor in the Indian Territory. Her fate lies in the hands of the Worthington board, and there happens to be one strikingly handsome man with a vote. Will they overlook the illegitimate son recently borne by her sister, Viola?

1905 brings hope of Oklahoma statehood and the woman’s suffrage debate is raging, forcing Ella to make decisions about her faith, family, and aspirations. When she comes to the rescue of a young, abused sharecropper’s daughter, her calling begins to take shape in ways she never imagined. Education is Ella’s passion, but a new love is budding in her heart. Can she find God’s will amidst the tumultuous storm that surrounds her?

Linda Brooks Davis is the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel 1st place winner. Her debut historical novel, The Calling of Ella McFarland, was released on December 1, 2015. Now working on her second novel, Linda pens stories inspired by her ancestors’ lives of faith and grit, tales that testify to the hope and healing found in Jesus.

Davis_LindaBrooks_2016_01-31 copy 2Linda was born and reared on a farm in small-town Raymondville in the southernmost tip of Texas. She attended Abilene Christian University where she earned a degree in speech pathology in 1968 and maintained a forty-year career in public schools while rearing a daughter and son who are now veterinarians in practice together. As the eldest student in her post-graduate class, she earned a Master’s degree from Houston Baptist University in 2002.

Now retired, Linda lives in Central Texas with her husband. When not writing, Linda dotes on her six beautiful grandchildren, serves in lay ministry at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, reads, and explores genealogy.


My Impressions:

Debut author Linda Brooks Davis draws upon family history in her historical romance novel, The Calling of Ella McFarland. Set in the Oklahoma Territory in the days prior to statehood, this novel has an authenticity that fans of history will love. Along with rich historical detail, the novel has well-developed characters, a suspenseful plot full of twists and turns and a romance to cheer for!  This one is perfect for those who like stories about how the west was won — in this case how women shaped America as we know it today. Recommended!

Ella McFarland is a newly graduated teacher looking for a job to expand her own horizons while assisting her struggling family. But the men of the day deem her unfit to teach the daughters of rich and powerful men. As she deals with disappointment and opposition, she senses God’s call on her life — a calling to educate and empower the vulnerable around her.

The Calling of Ella McFarland traces the fight for women’s suffrage and education of girls in the Oklahoma Territory. Although women were expected to work along side their husbands in the fields and to establish their own businesses to help their families financially, they still had little real rights in 1905. I found the historical setting of the novel very enlightening. Just 100 years ago, women faced a very different future than what we enjoy today. The characters that Davis created, both major and minor, are interesting and complex. Their motives and emotions run the gamut of the human experience. The two main characters, Ella and Andrew, compliment each other, and their slightly unconventional relationship is one of true partnership. And Ella’s faith, while tested at every turn, remains a strong thread throughout. This novel, while a historical romance, will also appeal to the suspense fan — lots of danger in these pages!

All in all, I enjoyed this first offering by Davis and look forward to more stories set in the wilds of Oklahoma.


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

4 Responses to “Book Review: The Calling of Ella McFarland”

  1. Carrie March 22, 2016 at 7:29 am #

    ooo I love that cover! Will have to check this one out 🙂

    • rbclibrary March 22, 2016 at 11:19 am #

      The cover is very good – more important than some think. Put this one one your lengthy list!

      • Carrie March 22, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

        Haha! Will do!


  1. Author, Author! — Linda Brooks Davis | By The Book - April 4, 2016

    […] welcome Linda Brooks Davis to the blog today. Linda is the author of The Calling of Ella McFarland, winner of the 2014 Jerry B. Jenkins Operation First Novel. Here’s what she has to say about […]

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