Book Review: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by Angie Dicken

December 3, 2017 Angie Dicken, Christian, historical, romance 9

about the book

Journey now to Castle Gate, Utah of 1910 where…
Forbidden Love Tries to Survive Old World Expectations

Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.

Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.

Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him.  When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

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SERIES: My Heart Belongs
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Barbour Books
RELEASE DATE: November 1, 2017
PAGES: 258

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“Do you expect us to give up on our chosen life because of ignorance?”

Angie Dicken’s novel My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah may be shining a spotlight on immigrant issues and prejudice in 1910 but it’s just as timely for today. People persecuted and segregated for no other reason than that they were born in Greece. Much like immigrants from several different countries are treated in the US today.

Nestled in the midst of the heartbreaking struggle is Leanna McKee, a widowed schoolteacher nursing a grudge toward her late husband. I really liked her character – even though we are very different, I could still relate to her and I think we would be friends were she … you know … real… and alive today 🙂

Agreeing to tutor a couple of (adorable) Greek children leads her into the path of Alex Pappas, a widowed miner with a grudge against God. Alex is swoony and wounded and he has a heart of gold, in spite of his anger at God and his wariness of the Americans (who are upset at his family’s success as restaurateurs). My heart ached for his family and the persecution they endured just for being Greek. In fact, I fell in love with the Pappas clan and would love to interact with them in more books!

As Leanna and Alex strike up an unlikely romance – and maybe something more – tensions in their mining community turn volatile. Dicken has done a fabulous job of establishing the tension and maintaining the electric-crackle of emotions without veering into melodrama.

Bottom Line: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by Angie Dicken is at times heartbreaking, at other times heartwarming – but always inspiring. Despite being a reflection of 1910 Utah, it has many timely insights for us today. Leanna and Alex’s story teaches us to pray -and strive – for a day when we see other for our hearts as well as our origins. It teaches us to appreciate cultural differences and to take the time to discover another person’s story, especially if that person is completely different from you. And above all, it reminds us that God is always good and He always has a plan, even if we can’t see it in the moment of our deepest pain. A great read for fans of historical fiction!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / Love it!

KissingBook Level: 3 / May forget to breathe on occasion

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about the author

Angie Dicken is a third generation Greek American, the granddaughter of strong men and women who endured hardship to grow American roots. My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate, Utah is set near the birthplace of her grandfather, a Greek coal miner’s son, and published 100 years after his birth. Angie is a contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog and an ACFW member since 2010. She lives with her husband and four children in the Midwest where she enjoys exploring eclectic new restaurants and chatting with friends over coffee.

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What about you? Do you know your family’s immigrant roots?


9 Responses to “Book Review: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by Angie Dicken”

  1. Kay Garrett

    Yes, my Grandfather immigrated to the U.S. when he was a very young man. He became an American citizen and legally changed his name to what he thought was more American. Can’t really see that out of Callich but………. LOL I was young when he died. My Dad was in the military so we didn’t live close and never really got to know him.

  2. Perrianne Askew

    Yes, some of my family came over by boat to Ellis Island from Belgium. Sounds like a great read. Thank you formthe giveaway opportunity.

  3. Caryl Kane

    Super review, Carrie! I am enjoying this series. Unfortunately I don’t know much about my heritage.

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