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Ever wonder where Hallmark gets ideas for all their movies? While many of the channel’s rom-coms, Christmas movies, and mysteries are original stories, some are actually based on books. That includes the movie that led to Hallmark’s longest-running original series and a popular mystery series starring an actor who was one of Hallmark’s biggest stars

‘Big Sky River’ is based on a book by Linda Lael Miller 

Kavan Smith, wearing a cowboy hat, and Emmanuelle Vaugier, in a promo shot for Hallmark's 'Big Sky River'
Kavan Smith and Emmanuelle Vaugier in ‘Big Sky River’ | ©2022 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Allister Foster

Earlier this year, When Calls the Heart’s Kavan Smith starred alongside ​​Emmanuelle Vaugier in Big Sky River, a movie about a widower embarking on a new relationship with a divorced woman. It’s based on a book by Linda Lael Miller, who said she wanted to focus on two characters who overcome their challenges to develop a deep personal connection. 

“Most of my characters are terrified of falling in love again because they’ve been burned in some way,” she said in a chat with Vaugier and Smith (via YouTube). “Especially in this story, everyone had to get through all the personal stuff that would keep them from taking a risk. And I find that really fascinating to write about.”

‘Mrs. Miracle’ and other Hallmark movies are based on books by Debbie Macomber 

If you’re a reader of romance novels and women’s fiction, then you know the name Debbie Macomber. The New York Times best-selling author has written dozens of books, including several that have been turned into Hallmark movies. They include the 2009 movie Mrs. Miracle and its sequels Mr. Miracle and A Mrs. Miracle Christmas, as well as Trading Christmas and Dashing Through the Snow. She also wrote the book series that inspired Hallmark’s first scripted series, Cedar Cove

‘Christmas in Canaan’ is based on a book by Grammy-winner Kenny Rogers 

Hallmark teamed up with country music superstars for the 2009 holiday movie Christmas in Canaan. Set in 1964, it’s based on a book co-written by Grammy-winner Kenny Rogers and stars Billy Ray Cyrus as a widowed Texas farmer whose son develops an unlikely friendship with a boy from a different racial background. 

Candace Cameron Bure’s ‘Aurora Teagarden’ movies are based on Charlaine Harris’s book series

Hallmark’s Aurora Teagarden Mysteries series has come to an end following star Candace Cameron Bure’s decision to move to the competing Great American Family network. But fans can still revisit the dozen-plus movies in the series, as well as the original books by Charlaine Harris. (Fun fact: Harris also wrote the Sookie Stackhouse novels that inspired HBO’s True Blood.)

Janette Oke’s ‘When Calls the Heart’ inspired a movie and a TV show

Janette Oke published her inspirational novel When Calls the Heart back in 1983. Thirty years later, her story of a young teacher who takes a job teaching in a small town on the Canadian frontier was turned into a movie starring Maggie Grace and Poppy Drayton. Soon after, Hallmark decided to expand the story into a TV series. The show – which has diverged significantly from Oke’s original stories – is currently heading into its 10th season. 

Oke is also the author of Love Comes Softly. Katherine Heigl starred in a 2003 adaptation of that book that aired on Hallmark. Several more movies based on Oke’s sequels to her first novel later aired on the network. 

Several Hallmark movies are inspired by Jane Austen novels


Kavan Smith Says His New Hallmark Movie ‘Big Sky River’ Is About ‘Broken People Trying to Get a Second Shot’

Sometimes, Hallmark looks to classic novels when searching for inspiration for its movies. Over the years, the network has aired several films loosely inspired by Jane Austen’s books, including Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen, Christmas at Pemberley Manor, and Playing Cupid (which draws from Emma). Unleashing Mr. Darcy is based on a modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice by Teri Wilson, and Pride, Prejudice & Mistletoe is based on a book by Melissa de la Cruz. 

Interested in more Hallmark movies based on books? We’ve just scratched the surface, but other adaptations include The Bridge (based on a book by Karen Kingsbury), The Christmas Train (based on a book by David Baldacci), and Sand Dollar Cove, The Secret Ingredient, and Christmas in Evergreen (all based on books by Nancy Naigle). 

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