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Love's Unending Legacy


The Advocate



Love's Unending Legacy

Reviewed by Phillip Tomasso III

"...drew me in, held me captive, and forced me to watch the events with a box of tissues in my lap."

It was Saturday night. Nothing worth watching was on television—which is no surprise. It was then that I remembered I had a video to watch and review. I picked up Love’s Unending Legacy and dropped it into my DVD player. Got comfy on my recliner and pressed the play button on my remote.

Apparently, this is the fifth film in a series adapted from novels written by best selling author, Janette Oke. I’d seen the first, Love Comes Softly, and remembering how much I enjoyed it, worried that I’d be lost watching this movie because I had not seen the three installments in between. Thankfully, this was not the case.

Missy LaHaye (portrayed by Erin Cottrell) has spent the last several years mourning the untimely death of her husband. As the local sheriff, he was shot and killed trying to head off a dispute in a saloon after a card game went south. Missy and her son move to Pennsylvania where a teaching job awaits her, and her parents welcome her and their grandson with open arms.

Expecting to do little more than live out a modest life with her son, Missy is not prepared for the unexpected turn of events about to unfold and send her carefully planned out future into complete disarray.

At Sunday service, the pastor announces that an orphan train is on its way into town and he expects his parishioners to open their homes to these parentless-children. Knowing she barely has enough food and supplies to support even her son, Missy has no intention of becoming a foster parent. However, on her way into town, she is drawn to the church to see how the adoptions are going.

With no other families there to take in children, one child is left, an ornery fourteen year-old girl named Belinda (portrayed by Holliston Coleman). When the pastor says that she will have to get back on the train, Missy cannot believe she has stepped forward and offered to take Belinda in.

Maybe she was hoping to complete her family with Belinda’s presence, but what Missy gets is attitude and lack of respect from the young teenager. And secrets.

With the help of the local sheriff (portrayed by Victor Browne), a young, handsome and intriguing gentleman, Missy digs for answers and exposes the truth behind Belinda’s past. In a desperate attempt to create a unified and loving family, Missy is forced to examine the depths of her heart, the expanse of her faith and overcome a foreboding sense of loyalty.

If you have read any of the movie reviews I have written, you know a little about me. And if you haven’t, then you will soon discover that when it comes to movies I am easily pulled into the story. Love’s Unending Legacy drew me in, held me captive, and forced me to watch the events with a box of tissues in my lap.

If you were a fan of Michael Landon’s Little House on the Prairie, you might think this movie is taking place in Walnut Grove. As the co-producer of this movie, Michael Landon, Jr., is clearly not just following in his father’s footsteps to create films entire families and people of any age can watch and enjoy, but he is also, proudly—might I add—carrying on his father’s legacy.

Some of the negative reviews I have seen about this movie have nothing to do with the movie itself, but rather focus on the fact that the movie deviates from Oke’s bestselling novels, substantially. Admittedly, I’ve never read the books—no disrespect meant toward Ms. Oke—and so the deviation from her words onto the big screen did not impair my ability to enjoy the story being told.

Love’s Unending Legacy is emotional, impacting and heartwarming. My homework is to go back and watch the other films in the series. Otherwise, I risk missing out on a truly powerful story.

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Phillip Tomasso IIIThomas Phillips grew up with a reading disability. He did everything possible not to read. It wasn’t until he was in seventh grade that he finally read a book cover to cover. Now a voracious reader and prolific writer, Phillips uses his accomplishments as a motivational backdrop for speaking at school assemblies. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Phillips has worked as a freelance journalist and currently works full time as an employment law paralegal. When he isn’t writing, Phillips plays guitar, is active at his church, coaches his children’s Little League teams, co-leads Ink Spots and Coffee Grounds—a creative writing group, and plots his next story. The Molech Prophecy is his first published Christian novel. Visit him online at his Shoutlife page & Myspace page.