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The Calling of Ella McFarland

By Linda Brooks Davis


Ella McFarland’s dream is a teaching position at Oklahoma Territory's Worthington School for Girls. But scandal clouds her family name and may limit her to a life of grueling labor on her family's farm in Indian Territory. Her fate lies in the hands of the Worthington board. Might handsome Mr. Evans help her reach her dream? Will the board overlook the illegitimate son recently borne by her sister, Viola?

As 1905 brings hope of Oklahoma statehood and the citizens are anticipating a new state constitution, the woman's suffrage, prohibition, and compulsory education debates are raging. When Ella comes to the rescue of a young, abused sharecropper's daughter, she is forced to make decisions about her faith, family, and aspirations. With a new love budding in her heart, her calling takes shape in ways she never imagined.

Can Ella find God's will amid the tumultuous storm that surrounds her?

Book Takeaway:

One woman's devotion to a serendipitous calling can transform not only those she rescues but her very self as she discovers the layers of grace God has laid upon her.


Year Title Description
2014 Jerry B. Jenkins Writers Guild Operation First Novel First Place
2016 ACFW Carol Award First Place - Debut Novel

Why the author wrote this book:

From an early age I heard my grandmother and mother tell stories of life in Indian Territory and the new state of Oklahoma. Their lives were rife with hardship, trial, and grief. Rather than weakening them or their faith, such experiences empowered them as women and strengthened their faith. My grandmother had a 3rd grade education, and my mother, a 9th. Mother would accept nothing less than a college education for her children. Nor would she depend on a man to do something she could do herself. My grandmother buried 2 husbands and 5 daughters but never lost her faith. My mother buried a son and tended an ailing husband for 10 grueling years yet never blamed God.

I consider the stories told by my ancestors to be treasures of which I am a steward. Hence, The Calling of Ella McFarland, while not the actual life story of any family member, is saturated in truths about many. It represents my love and high esteem for two strong women: my mother and grandmother. And it reflects my longing for my granddaughter--also named Ella Jane--and other women, young and old, to cast herself upon the mercies of God who will hold her up and make her strong and give her His purpose.


"‘I must trust Him to give me the voice to speak for others’ Ella McFarland"
- Betti on August 10, 2019

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