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My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna's Choice Kindle Edition
"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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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.
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.
Leanna is a woman who is trying to make it on her own. She has come to the small town to get away from her family. She is accustomed to the finer things, but her parents are hard to deal with. I loved how her faith really helped her make decisions that were difficult at times. There were a few times I did want to scream at her because she made things harder on herself. She was quite a mess at times by always making sure she doesn’t offend anyone. I wanted her to stand up for herself a bit more.
Alex was my favorite character. I loved his strong family values and his hard working ethics. As a Greek , he knew people in the town didn’t like him. His heart was heavy at times and I wanted him to find peace. It’s funny I have always thought we can’t help who we fall in love with, and this story really follows that thinking. Leanna and Alex definitely have an attraction to each other, but they both see prejudice working in the town.
The story centers on will the couple get together or not. For me this one was a bit different because of the minor characters that play such a key role in Leanna and Alex's life. There are a few that speak wisdom to them and others that share their heart. For all of us, we want to provide for our family and be happy. Will the town accept Leanna as she explores her relationship with Alex? Can Alex find a way to make his parents happy and find true love? This is one story that is a must read for everyone. It is rich in history, faith and reminds us that prejudice can happen to anyone.
“I pray that one day we will all see one another for our hearts and not our origins,”
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Blogger Program . The review is my own opinion.
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You can see that author Angie Dicken did a great deal of research.Read more