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My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna's Choice Kindle Edition
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The romance between these two very different people is so very well written. (I loved it!) In Castle Gate, Greeks and Americans are not to socialize. Yet, as much as they deny and try to hide their feelings from others and themselves, Leanna and Alex do fall in love. It is Alex's niece and nephew that bring the two together. Leanna is their teacher, she is also hired to walk them safely to and from school. Young Maria wants Leanna to show her “American dance.” It a moment with sweet possibilities for Alex and Leanna. “Their eyes danced together before any footwork began” is one of my favorite lines. Do they get to dance? Does their love overcome the obstacles they face? You must read the book to find out. You will not be disappointed.
This book is such a good mixture of romance, drama, trauma, hope, and forgiveness. The story stayed with me long after I turned the last page.
This is my first novel by Angie Dicken, but it certainly will not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I love Dicken’s attention to detail, and it is evident she did a ton of research for this book. I had no idea about the racial tension in Utah in the early 1900s. The animosity between the American miners and the Greek immigrants coming to Utah for work is palpable in this story. Throughout my reading of this book, I had to often take Google breaks to research Castle Gate. I got lost looking at all the pictures of miners with their soot-covered faces, the women and children trying to make a home while fathers/husbands left every morning for work uncertain if they would return home at night or not. And, I was drawn into articles about mine shafts collapsing and men losing their lives. I often questioned why anyone would be willing to go down a mine shaft knowing it was a precarious, dangerous place to work. Did they need the money that badly? Did they think they were mighty men who were invincible? Did they get an adrenaline rush from their job? I was utterly fascinated by this aspect of the book, and had a difficult time putting it down.
This novel follows Leanna McKee and Alex Pappas in 1910. Leanna is a recent widow who lost her husband in a mining accident. She is also a teacher at the local school where the miners’ children are taught. Alex Pappas is a Greek immigrant who came to America in 1902 with the goal of making enough money to send to Greece to pay for his very sick wife’s medicine. Unfortunately, he is unable to save her in time, and she dies. Both characters, Leanna and Alex, deal with guilt. Because of dashed expectations and a bit of financial betrayal, Leanna was very harsh towards her husband. She never gave him forgiveness for his misdeeds before he died. She wasn’t very loving towards him either, and this all causes her much grief. She doesn’t feel like she should ever be in another relationship because she doesn’t think she is good wife material. Alex also feels guilt over not being able to prevent his wife’s untimely death. He throws himself into work to provide for his mother and father, brother and sister-in-law, and niece and nephew. He never even considers remarriage because he, too, feels unworthy. I truly relate to both of these characters. Growing up, I had BIG dreams and expectations for my life, but life didn’t turn out the way I thought. Like Leanna and Alex, I had to learn that God is the boss of my steps, not me. He puts me on HIS path, not on my path. It took me a while to understand this, as it does for Leanna and Alex.
I had no idea about the racial tension in Utah at this time. There are many passages throughout this book that illustrate the utter hatred the Americans had for the Greek immigrants. These parts in the book are written so well I could feel the tension, and, a few times, I caught myself holding my breath. I don’t understand hating someone because of the color of their skin. I just don’t get it. My heart broke for Alex and Leanna about ten times over the course of this novel. BUT, it all ends very well. I didn’t know how it would end well, but Dicken did a fantastic job of tying this novel up nicely.
I really could go on and on about this book! There is SO much depth to this novel that I just did not anticipate. I am so thrilled to have read this book, and I cannot recommend it enough. If you are looking for an excellent Historical Fiction, purchase this book today! You will not be disappointed.
The one group I never knew of their struggle was the Greeks. I enjoyed learning so much about the Greek heritage from Dicken, a third generation Greek in this book.
My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate brings to life the importance of acceptance. In my own home, my father berated me for showing kindness and love to another race. When I spoke of what God did for them, he questioned my love for God. Rejecting those who are different is not an issue that has faded over time. It continues today. And because of beautiful stories like My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate we are reminded that America is a rich melting pot of many heritages all in need of accepting each other.
I purchased this book from Amazon and was under no obligation to give a review.
Series: My Heart Belongs
Genre: historical, romance
Publisher: Barbour Books
Publication date: November 1, 2017
Number of pages: 256
A review copy of this book was purchased for review. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.
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