Love's Enduring Promise (2004)


   

Our rating: 5 out of 5

Rated: PG

 
reviewed by Rissi C.

       

Eight years after Clark and Marty discovered that Love Comes Softly, their daughter Missy (January Jones) is about to learn the intricacies of her own heart. The Davis family is happy. They have two wonderful boys and the farm has done well. It's spring and nearing the planting. Into town has come the railroad surveyors and at their head is the handsome, wealthy, and charming Grant (Mackenzie Astin), who makes Missy's acquaintance one afternoon while she's salvaging berries to make up for giving away her lunch to a hungry child. Missy is now the teacher at the one room schoolhouse. Grant immediately likes her impetuous nature and asks her to dine with him on Saturday at the hotel in town.

 

Missy has every intention of keeping the appointment but disaster blows into their lives. Her father (Dale Midkiff) is badly injured in the woods one afternoon, leaving him disabled and possibly on the brink of death. A stranger brings him back to the Davis farm and appears again to help break their fields. Nate (Logan Bartholomew) is a wanderer with a past he's struggling to forget. The connection between them is obvious but both Nate and Missy must face dark possibilities as they determine whether their love can survive through adversity. Standing on the sidelines, ever a constant observer, is Grant. Then too is the danger of losing their crops and the emotional strife of the little boy responsible for his father's injuries. Much like the first, Love's Enduring Promise is "chick lite" romance, the definition being that there's plenty of sap but no sexual content. It does have the reward of good messages at the central core about forgiveness and strength of character, but there's not much meat on its bones.

 

To be completely honest, I have never appreciated the writings of Janette Oak but she does provide good pioneer fiction for women who just want a clean novel to peruse on a warm winter afternoon in the apple orchard. The determent here is that Michael Landon Jr., much like his father, wastes little time in researching for historical accuracy. To a born and bred country girl like me, I moan and cover my eyes when numerous inaccuracies are referenced. You do not plant wheat and corn at the same time. You do not pick green corn. You cannot hide from honey bees. They are guided by scent, not their eyes. You have to dive underwater to evade them. You also don't just drop your horses' reins and run off, otherwise you'll find the horses in the next county when you go back to look for them. One minor and doubtful point is that children on the pioneer range were taught early on to find their way home by using solar landmarks. I was also very disappointed in the role provided by a secondary character. We believe all along that he's honest, above board, charming, and very likable and then, simply because the clock is ticking and there isn't time for further character development, he does a complete about-face and turns out to be a royal first class jerk. No one can conceal their true nature that completely.

 

We should have been given hints as to his snobbery early on and left to gather our own conclusions. It seemed a cheap way to ensure that the heroine wound up with the man we all knew she would fall for, when a much more beneficial route might have given her a difficult choice and allowed the audience to struggle with the decision they wanted her to make. Plot twists aside, the acting is quite good and I enjoyed seeing Sean Astin's little brother prove that classy presence runs in the family. It's also quite family friendly. There are a half dozen minor abuses of God's name, but many more respectful mentions of faith and prayer. Violence is implied but rarely shown; a man swings an axe into his leg, with bloody results. We see the gangrenous limb as the women are tending to his wounds. A dead animal is briefly shown in a trap. In a flashback we see a boy frozen to death in the woods. Love's Enduring Promise will not win any awards for originality but it is a sweet family film with good lessons to imbibe. 

 


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