Okay, Hearties, full disclosure here! I’ve had a new idea for a #FanFictionFriday story! I think it will come as a surprise to some, a shock to others, and a “Finally!” to a select few. So, that being said, this movie review will not be as long or thorough as some previously have been. I want to have this new tale finished for you by this Friday, so it will take some focus.

This DOES coincide with today’s movie though. If you remember, I promised all of you that I would discuss Kevin McGarry’s film Winter Love Story today since I reviewed Chris McNally’s movie A Winter Princess last week. (That is REALLY going to get confusing! Both brand new actors to WCTH have surnames that begin with “Mc”? I’ve already gotten their names mixed up several times, and the season hasn’t even started yet!) And the story is about two WRITERS! Has anyone noticed that there seems to be a huge run of Hallmark stories that feature authors? Two in Winterfest alone! And most of them are authors who are trying to break out of their shy shell, or the mold in which others have placed them. I think someone or “Someone” might be trying to tell me something! That’s how I’m taking it anyway. 😉

Well, we’ve come to the end of Winterfest; or as I like to call it, the New Men of WCTH Fest. 😀 I think it’s safe to say that we are quite familiar with the faces and voices of these two gentlemen, and we are quite prepped for viewing them in Season 6; especially Kevin with TWO Hallmark Winterfest films. That guy was one busy bee!

He gave quite a performance in this movie. I think what I like best about him is how down-to-earth he is. Cassie mocks him for having “the ‘aww shucks’ routine down”, but he actually does! He handles her so well in most situations, especially when she’s being volatile. He travels with his dog, he snacks on potato chips, and still gets starstruck when his favorite author walks into the room. AND when the woman he’s fallen for walks out of a ceremony given in HIS honor, he passes off the trophy with a hasty “Take this!” and rushes after her.

Most of all, I love how supportive and encouraging he is of a nervous, brand new writer trying to scratch out a name for herself without resorting to name-throwing. He doesn’t treat her like a tag along; it never enters his mind. He respects her opinion, and asks it of her in regards to his work. But what’s the best way to show your support? Admitting love isn’t a bad start. 😀 Their last words to each other earned several brownie points with me. Most of you know that I’m not a personal fan of the “I love you, too,” statement. Nothing against those who use it, it just sounds like an afterthought to me. So when Elliott declares, “I didn’t just fall in love with your writing, I fell in love with you. I love you, Cassie Winslett, and I hope you love me back,” I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. He told her he’d fallen for her, he said the actual three words, (including her name, which is a bonus!), and he said “back” instead of “too”. Perfect!

Now for the “Bard of Breakups”. Love that name, by the way! Jen Lilley has a great knack for being so real, and just being adorable while being so real! The best example I found of this in this story was at Cassie’s surprise party. She starts to cry, then laughs at it, and quickly dabs her eyes; hopefully before anyone notices. It was like looking in a mirror, because that is EXACTLY what I do! Talk about being real! She also did a fabulous job of slowly gaining confidence. She went from shock that someone actually came to get a book signed by her, to bashfully saying they got a great room because of one of her fans, to totally covering for Elliott when HE was at a loss for words…and so smoothly too! I do admit that I didn’t care for the fact that Cassie went into total drama queen martyr mode just because Elliott thanked his ex-wife at the Awards. It was 2 sentences, and she wasn’t even there! But other than that, she totally won me over.

Last thing I want to mention: the surrounding characters.

1) Mom. The writers, the director, and Mary-Margaret Hume did amazingly with her. Usually the mother is overprotective, over critical, and entirely too full of herself. Jeanine knows that she knows her craft, and she expects others around her to know it too. But she is totally supportive of her daughter’s career, and respects the fact that Cassie wants to succeed on her own merit. And she tells her how proud she is. As someone who grew up in her mother’s shadow, I can tell you we LIVE for that kind of thing!

2) Becca. Becca’s and Cassie’s relationship is something every girl dreams of: to know each other THAT long, and STILL be the best of friends, never having had a “friend fight”? And her reaction to the “cute dragon writer” was hilarious!

3) Piper and Julian. These characters are perfect at filling in the gaps. And it’s such a little thing, but Laura Miyata displayed one of the finest qualities to have as an actor, in my opinion. That is a difference of inflection. If you’ve seen the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, you’re familiar with the scene when Lizzie reads the letter from Uncle Gardner with news of Lydia. Mr. Bennett has one single line the entire scene: “Read on.” It could have been flat and monotone, ruining the entire scene. But he says it differently every single time. That’s what Piper did when poor Julian, oblivious to the blossoming chemistry wanted to go on the city tour. She said his name 3 times, and she nailed it! I even laughed because of how she changed it up every time, and Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll picked it up and ran with it with his silly reactions to being figuratively dragged away.

Okay everyone, time to depart. I promise to try my best to get the new story finished; cross your fingers that it happens! I hope your Hump Day was not too long, or too short, and there are great things ahead for you. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

It’s Friday! And we are OFFICIALLY less than a month away from the return to Hope Valley! I am, of course, very tearful at the fact that we won’t be seeing Daniel Lissing in said town; but I truly am curious, and, dare I say it: excited! I’m excited to see where they’re going to go with the turn of events, as well as the new characters. And in this Heartie’s opinion, if The Greatest Christmas Blessing is any indication, Jack will not be forsaken or forgotten in memory, nor will his death be harped on too much for comfort.

That actually brings me to my topic for today. I’ve touched on this subject before, but not with the same point of view. My dear friend from college, who is also a Heartie, has just finished Season 5. She watches the show on Netflix, so I have to be careful what I say around her. I’m sharing all this with her permission. When she sent me this text, I was completely torn on my next move:

“I am finally watching season 5 of When Calls the Heart. It has made me laugh, cry, and everything in between already. I had forgotten how much I liked it.”

What do I do? I couldn’t tell her, and ruin it! Then again, I didn’t want her to come crashing down. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to answer her. A few days later, she sent me this message:

“I really wish you would have warned me that Jack dies! All my memories and emotions came flooding back until I was crying my eyes out…It was as bad as Matthew Crawley [a main male character on Downton Abbey who also met with a tragic demise]. How could you stand it?”

You see, friends, this darling friend of mine is a young widow. She lost her husband in a car accident four years ago. Her son was 6, and her daughter was only 5 months old! She lived through, in real life, what our characters experienced in Coal Valley; and she faced the frightening prospect Elizabeth did of raising a child who would never know their father. I told her my reason was I wanted her to fully enjoy the wedding, as well as not getting the chance to answer. Thankfully, she seemed to accept that, and doesn’t hate me now.

But the real reason I wanted to highlight this painful point in the series is to, once again, praise Erin Krakow’s acting skills. However, this time, we’re looking at it with fresh eyes: the eyes of someone who JUST watched the finale for the first time, and a true widow who lost her husband far too soon.

We all know Erin is an exceptional actress, but she’s never lost a spouse. So how would she know how to act, except for sad and depressed? I don’t know if she did it on instinct, research, or personal experience with a family member or friend, but my friend says she was “spot on. That’s how I acted.” She went into detail of how full Erin’s performance was. She first mentioned her walk. The slow, stiff way Elizabeth carried herself was how she moved; just trying to put one foot in front of the other. She then talked about the blank look that plastered itself on her features, as if she couldn’t see or hear anyone, she was only walking in a personal fog…that’s when I started to tear up. What struck me most about what she described, was the way Elizabeth crossed her arms over herself, holding herself since there was no one else to do it now. That had never even crossed my mind!

The most in-depth answer she gave me was her interactions with other people. I was in Texas, and she was in Idaho, so I could only talk to her on the phone…when she felt up to it. So I didn’t see her around people. But she said the way Elizabeth was silent around people, even around her friends and students, was very accurate. She was cold and silent, conveying that she was not ready to talk to people. And the first time she met with Molly, Florence, Clara, and Abigail, her expression said, “I know what you’re trying to do, but it’s not going to make me feel better.” That’s how my friend act around people too, or so she tells me. Conversely, when Elizabeth IS ready, and she receives that beautiful quilt, her face tells us that although she no longer has her ROMANTIC love in her life, she is surrounded by love nonetheless.

And then, the real clincher; something that really put one of my own opinions to rest for good! When I talked to my friend, I told her I was severely on the fence about Elizabeth having a baby. On the one hand, her baby grows up without his father, she’s another widow of Hope Valley, and she has to raise this baby almost totally alone. On the other hand, the baby is a piece of Jack to keep with her always, a symbol of hope and life moving on, and the whole town is there to support her. I couldn’t decide which story I would have liked better. Then she offered her insight. She told me that her son was pretty independent at age 6, and didn’t need much. But her sweet baby girl, so new to this world, was completely dependent on her. “If I hadn’t had [her] to take care of, I never would have gotten out of bed in the morning.” So Elizabeth is forced to take care of herself, since she’s caring for another life. That set my mind to rights.

She did have one criticism: the peace Elizabeth achieved by the end of the episode took her about a year to grasp herself. Of course, (since we met in the theatre department,) she understands that TV magic, passage of time, and consolidation is in order. I think she was just slightly jealous of Elizabeth. 😉

Well, my dears, here’s where I leave you. I hope you have a marvelous weekend as we crawl closer to the Season 6 premiere at what seems to be a snail’s pace. But “if we promote it, it will come.” 😀 This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Hellooooooooo, Hearties! You’ve made it to Wednesday! If you tuned into Monday’s post, then you saw I was looking for votes as to whether I should review Kevin McGarry’s “Winter Love Story” or Chris McNally’s “A Winter Princess”. Thank you to everyone who put in your two cents. Unfortunately, SOME of you, (yeah, you know who you are!) actually said “both”. Thanks for the help! So based on votes, and my own logic, (ahem!) here is the conclusion: today we’ll give Chris and the Royals a turn since I’ve already discussed Kevin’s “Winter Castle”. Then, as we have one more Wednesday, we’ll come back to the pair of writers. 😀

First off, I’m thinking Chris has to be a really fantastic actor! Most, if not all, of the behind-the-scenes and interviews I’ve seen with him reveal Chris to be pretty quiet and reserved. But shout “Action!”, and he is completely at ease and deeply emotional. Just proves that talent comes in all kinds! His character is also well done! He wanted to leave the family business, but not bitterly; he’s smart but discreet; has a good head for business, but stays personal and loyal.

That loyalty is what fuels what I believe to be one of the most powerful scenes in the movie. The emotion in Jesse’s voice when he tells Carly that he desperately wants her to stay, but “can’t be the reason [Carly] leaves [hers]”…I had to rewind it. I was so moved!

One particular detail I was so happy to see addressed is the accent. I watched a few previews, and I wondered why Carly had no accent, especially if she was supposed to be from Europe. Then upon their second meeting, Jesse questions Carly as to why she speaks with a North American accent. Her answer: four years of American boarding school. Brilliant!

Let me give a quick shout-out to the two gentlemen who portray Gus and Emile. They both played characters in December Bride: Layla’s suspicious brother, and Cooper the neighbor, respectively. I still say “Gus” (real first name is Casey), needs his own lead role in a Hallmark movie. He’s certainly played his fair share of supporting characters. And both of them did pretty well with accents!

I hate to back out early, but I fear exhaustion is overtaking me. But there is one more scene I’d like to highlight. Any guesses? Three words: fire, hands, warm. Jesse warming Carly’s hands is one of the sweetest and chemistry-filled scenes in the whole film. Warming hands, I think, is one of the most intimate romantic gestures for a new couple, and it’s not used as often as I think it should be. So good on all of you!

Well, good night, everyone. Pleasant dreams, and I’ll see you Friday. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Happy Monday, Hearties! It is ESPECIALLY happy, as it is a holiday, and some of us had the day off. No, I don’t mean me; my daughter had her birthday party this morning, so it’s been busy, busy, busy! But it was the party that inspired today’s post. Since I didn’t get a chance to post last week for #FlashbackFriday, I thought a #MomentMonday would be in order. And that highlighted moment is Dr. Carson Shepherd’s birthday party. Fitting, huh?

First of all, this is just sweet! I don’t have a strong opinion as to whether or not Faith and Carson belong together. He is much older than she is, but that was typical back then. If nothing happens between them, I won’t bark; but if some sparks are ignited, I wouldn’t mind that either.

But whether or not these two become a couple, I love that Faith throws Carson a surprise birthday party! If nothing else, this shows Faith’s sweet and caring personality to do something thoughtful for a boss she cares for and respects.

Do you react with the characters as you watch? Maybe it’s the actress in me, but I do; I really do! So when Faith is in the mercantile discussing party plans with Ned and Florence, and in walks the good doctor…I think I gasped louder than Faith did. Then I snickered behind my hand so hard I couldn’t breathe until he left, and all present heaved a simultaneous sigh of relief.

The joke sure was on everyone when Carson walked into the saloon unannounced after having to double as a veterinarian. But in true Hope Valley fashion, they go with the flow, stop taking down decorations, and spontaneously yell, “Surprise!” And let’s not forget sweet and adorable Cody and Robert making up for dropping the birthday cake by spending their own money to make that hideous one; not to mention everyone brave enough to try it. Then the “icing on the cake”, (ha ha!) is Rosemary actually NOT taking credit for the party, and giving the glory to Faith. The delight on Carson’s face is immediately evident. A man who once was all alone and running from his past now has gifts more priceless than whatever Elizabeth left on her desk. He has friends; he has a home!

Well, my friends, I shall bid you good evening, or rather, good night by now. There sure is a lot to choose from for Wednesday: TWO brand new Winterfest movies, with BOTH brand new WCTH leading men, in ONE weekend? I’m telling you: brilliant move! So the question is, which one would you like me to do? A Winter Princess or Winter Love Story? Be sure to leave me your vote, either here or on Facebook. Until then, dear ones. This is HookedHeartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Welp, it’s Wednesday! How’s everybody’s week going so far? If you don’t already know, something pretty big is happening in our family this week! My oldest is turning 8 tomorrow!!! I’m a little in shock that this is actually happening, but there’s lots of activity surrounding it, so my mind is kept occupied.

I did have an interesting thought, though. There’s been a lot of talk on the official fan page about children watching WCTH. So I thought, what better way to celebrate my little Heartie’s birthday, AND get a fresh and new children’s perspective on the show…plus she got a HUGE kick out of being featured! I hope you’re sitting down, because her exact words are here, and they are HILARIOUS!

1. So Kyrah, who’s your favorite character?
– Can I have 3? Jack, Elizabeth. And someone who’s strong and stands up for herself. Can you guess?
– Abigail.
– Uh huh!
– Do you want to be like Abigail when you grow up?
– Mm hmm. And there’s 1 more: Bill. He’s also strong. And 1 of my favorite lines is with the figgy pudding. “Love? Oh very funny! Be sure you pick up some at the store.”

2. What did you like most about the Christmas movie?
– If it was LAST year, I’d say Elizabeth putting the ornament on the tree, and Jack comes up behind her, and…yeah. (May I add the sneaky and coy smile crossing her face at this moment.) This year…can we come back to this?
– Sure
– (After a lengthy pause, and answering other questions) My favorite part about this year is when everyone is in the little house, (cabin) because everyone is safe, and the baby is SO cute!
– Do you like that they named the baby Jack?
– Of course! Why wouldn’t I?
– It’s just a question, silly!

3. Speaking of babies, how do you feel about having a baby brother named Jack?
– It is 1 of the BEST things that has happened in my WHOLE LIFE!

4. How sad were you when you heard that Jack was dead?
– I was the SADDEST fan! (Skeptical look from me) Well, I FELT like the saddest fan
– (After I’d asked the last question) You know, Mommy, I really WAS the saddest fan!

5. Would you have preferred to have Jack die, or have someone else play him?
– I would rather have him die because I don’t want ANYONE taking Jack’s (Daniel’s) place!
– (At this point, my 4-year-old pipes in) I want to MARRY Daniel Lissing! (Look out, Dan!)

6. Do you think When Calls the Heart can still be a good show without Jack?
– Mm hmm
– Why?
– Everything always turns out good and has a happy ending.

7. What are you looking forward to most in Season 6?
– Little Baby Jack growing up. I hope HE doesn’t die! If he did, I would SO upset!
– And Nate BETTER NOT replace Jack! I do want Elizabeth to fall in love again, but not with that guy. That guy does NOT look like he could fall in love with that woman! But I DO think he’ll make a GREAT Mountie!

8. What would you do if WCTH ended?
– I would be crying in my room for an hour or 2.

9. If you could have anyone from When Calls the Heart at your birthday, who would you have? What would you do?
– I would have Erin, Daniel, Abigail, Bill…what’s his real name?
– His real name is Jack.
– Really??? Also Pascale, Lee, and who used to run the church?
– Pastor Frank?
– Yeah, him! Baby Jack too! And I would have a WCTH party, Mommy would KNOW how to prepare it! We would watch the show, have a heart cake. We’d have heart-shaped stuff that says “I am a Heartie”, because I am the BIGGEST Heartie!

10. What’s it like having Mommy be a blogger?
– There are no words for how AWESOME it is!
– Do you like my stories?
– Yes!
– Do you have a favorite?
– You would have to read them to me again.
Then she said “I love you”, and scooted out the door to school. Gotta love her candor! I hope this has been entertaining for you, giggling at an almost-8-year-old’s point of view of our favorite show! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Here’s the birthday girl!

And Dan, I thought you should get a glimpse of your future fiancée!