Like many of Oke's readers, I have followed the saga of the Davis family in the Love Comes Softly Series and now The Prairie Legacy. Like Gold Refined, the conclusion to the Prairie Legacy series, continues the story of the Davis's grandaughter Virginia. In the first three books of the series, readers saw Virginia mature from a flighty teenager to a caring young wife and mother. In Like Gold Refined, Virginia's path to maturity continues as she has to accept the physical changes in her aging grandparents, Clark and Marty Davis. She does not want them to grow old, to leave their farm, or to change anything in their lives. Her mother Belinda has accepted these changes and makes plans to deal with them, but Virginia wants to hang on to the past, keeping everything the same. When Virginia and her husband Jonathon have to suddenly deal with a court battle over their "unofficially adopted" daughter Mindy, Clark and Marty's problems take a back seat to their own setbacks. Over the ensuing months, Virginia and Jonathon travel to the city, leaving their young family, battle with judges and lawyers, and risk losing their livelihood as they go in to debt to pay legal fees. All the while, Virginia tries to maintain a normal household and keep things the same. Finally, it is Mindy who realizes that changes must be made and she makes the decision herself about where to live. After it is all over, Virginia explains to Mindy that some things are meant to change, and that it is all in God's plan. Through her own journey with Mindy and their problems, Virginia finally realizes and accepts that her grandparents are aging and must leave the farm. If not for the trials that Virginia suffered with Mindy, she would not have come to grips with the fact that even her grandparents' lives must change. Oke has done an excellent job with the two storylines, using one to bring about the resolution of the other. She has also come up with a fitting conclusion to the story of Clark and Marty, and has indeed shown the complete transformation of Virginia from a contented, yet carefree, housewife to a sensible young mother whose trials have formed her into a wise Christian woman, much Like Gold Refined.
I couldn't put this book down and was disappointed to learn that it was the last in the series (as I was when the Love Comes Softly series ended). I cried my way through the ending of this book. My husband and I have two bio children and are in the process of adopting a third so this book really hit home in some ways. I love all of Janette's books. This is another wonderful story. Thank you Janette.
Once I started this one, I couldn't put it down. In typical Oke style, she had me feeling the pain and joy of Virginia and her growing family as they go through the most difficult of times. All around her changes are taking place -- some good, some not so good. But through it all, the love for God and family remains strong. A must read for anyone who can't wait to see what happens next.