by Angela Walker
In a surprising move, the Hallmark Channel is showing films based on the last two books of the tremendously popular Love Comes Softly series on two consecutive weekends. Love Takes Wing will show on Saturday, April 4th, and Love Finds a Home airs on Saturday, April 11th. The six previous films were all shown at least six months apart between 2004 and 2008.
Twenty-two years ago, Janette Oke wrote the first book in a saga that spans three generations and has produced eight movies. In 1979, Love Comes Softly was published, followed quickly by Love's Enduring Promise. The story of a man and woman falling in love amid the hardships of surviving in the wilderness of the American frontier captured the imaginations of readers everywhere and were the beginning of a new fiction genre: inspirational fiction.
Between 1979 and 1989, Oke published the other six novels of the Love Comes Softly series, which quickly became best selling books. Then the clamor began: make movies based on these books.
In 2004, 25 years after its publication, Michael Landon, Jr., directed Catherine Heigl and Dale Midkiff in Love Comes Softly, the first film based on the novels. Since that time, 5 other films have been produced in the series that is a best-seller in the Christian and inspirational film market.
Initially released in VHS format, the films are all available now on DVD, including Love Takes Wing, which will release May 5, a month after its premiere on the Hallmark Channel. The release date for Love Finds a Home has not yet been announced, but if it follows the normal pattern of release for the other films, it may be released in November or December.