My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna's Choice by Angie Dicken

My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna's Choice

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 h...

Title:My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna's Choice
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My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna's Choice Reviews

  • Julie Carpenter

    Again. I'm saying it again...I really am enjoying this 'My Heart Belongs' series. I don't believe I had read anything by any of these authors before but have been happily surprised to find that I've enjoyed my time spent while reading each book in the series so far. I wasn't sure if this would be the last book in the series or not but guess what....it's not. Yay! There are another 6 books set to release next year as well. One every other month starting in January. So those of you out there who a

    Again. I'm saying it again...I really am enjoying this 'My Heart Belongs' series. I don't believe I had read anything by any of these authors before but have been happily surprised to find that I've enjoyed my time spent while reading each book in the series so far. I wasn't sure if this would be the last book in the series or not but guess what....it's not. Yay! There are another 6 books set to release next year as well. One every other month starting in January. So those of you out there who are enjoying this series too, we get 6 more!!! Can I get a Woot Woot?!

    Ok, now a little bit more serious for my review. >.<

    This book is about an old mining town that is actually now a ghost town. Castle Gate, Utah. I've been there, a long, long time ago. I don't remember many of the details but remember driving through it as I was on a road trip with family. Beautiful area but out away from much of anything. If you're interested in adding this to your list of places to visit, you can also plan to visit Bryce Canyon or Zion's Canyon (or go the opposite direction and head to Salt Lake City) in the same trip. They're not located right next to each other but within a few hours driving distance. I love the rock formations there and the landscape, beautiful. Again, not a lot close by, several small towns but beautiful country to drive through.

    I couldn't imagine the kind of life it would be to work in the coal mines, or to be a family member living in a small coal mining community. Working down in the dark, the wet, the coal dust in your lungs and covering you everywhere, the knowledge that the tunnels could collapse and you might not be the one to make it out, or your family or friends might not ever come back out of the mines. Leanna finds herself to be a recent widow as her husband Jack was caught in one such collapse of a tunnel. She is ready to leave behind her life in this miserable little town. Yet, she can't. She's stuck. She needs to have the funds to leave and a prospect of where to leave to. Leanna is a school teacher and loves her students. She loves helping those less fortunate, but life has brought its own problems and Leanna has forgotten for the time being her true dreams.

    I loved having Leanna's story unfold. There is so much back history that isn't revealed completely until almost the end. While reading, I was piecing together all the little tidbits about her life and realizing that all is not what it seems. Leanna had some pretty big struggles and emotions to sort through. This is a Christian Fiction novel so the characters would reference God and turning to Him for healing and peace. Some characters had turned their back on Him due to circumstances in their lives, refusing to believe that a loving God would really allow such things to happen. Not only did I enjoy watching Leanna come to find peace in her life but the other characters as well. I liked how the author showed that just because a person claims to be a God loving/fearing person doesn't mean that they always act and follow Him as they should. There were characters who needed to learn not to be hypocrites and truly love their neighbors and be willing to help them, not hurt them with words or actions. And I think with all members of the small community, that they needed to learn to band to together to aid and help instead of judge.

    Leanna's Choice, that's such a great title for this book. There are so many choices presented to her throughout the book. Some that are good, some that are not good and some that could potentially bring her the greatest joy and happiness. But she has to choose. She has to come to a point in her life, where she has healed from her sorrow, her anger, her hurt, and not allow the prejudices of others to dictate her choices. There were a few choices she made that I was talking to myself telling her not to. But, after that choice was made, I liked watching the growth she encountered and friends she found through the process. The question is, will she open her heart to the best choice possible for her? Or will she keep turning from that choice as a protection to her and many others?

    Castle Gate has a large population of Greek immigrants come to work the mines, make a fortune and then move on, or bring more family to America. There is a lot of prejudice involved with this group of people in the town and I thought it was well done how the author addressed and helped fix the issue throughout the story. Plenty of angst and turmoil due to the many different characters' choices that added a great dimension to the plot.

    I haven't really mentioned anything about the romance but will only say that it was sweet. There were a few times that I was frustrated with the back and forth. One character (both characters did this but it went back and forth between who was the character doing it) would start thinking/talking about how their feelings were growing and how they wanted to pursue a relationship and then with no warning, they would be the complete opposite. That scenario played through a little more than I would have liked. It did add to the angst and played right along with the plot though. Both characters have their own struggles and trials to work through but I loved that the moments they came together, they were stronger and felt the support needed for such struggles.

    If you enjoy historical fiction, Christian fiction or a sweet romance then I recommend reading this book, or any in the series. I think this one talked a little bit more about God than some of the others but I really didn't feel like it was preachy and being overdone. I don't mind Christian fiction but I don't really enjoy when the concept goes overboard and I feel like it's being forced upon me. So this series has been nice and enjoyable in that aspect.

    Content: Clean. Some minor moments of peril, discrimination, mild religious aspects, death, kissing but nothing further.

    I received a copy from the publisher, Barbour Books, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.

    Happy Reading!!!

  • Amy

    My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna's Choice is a good read. I really liked it and look forward to more by this author.

  • Trixi

    Castle Gate, Utah 1910 where prejudice and pride mingle to bring dissension of race and class. Where no Greek is welcomed among Americans and vice versa. That is until one American woman dares cross the line to teach Greek children English & her heart becomes entangled with two of her students and their uncle. When a dream teaching position is offered in Salt Lake City, will Leanna leave the life she knows for something better, or will her heart lead somewhere she never dreamed?

    This story

    Castle Gate, Utah 1910 where prejudice and pride mingle to bring dissension of race and class. Where no Greek is welcomed among Americans and vice versa. That is until one American woman dares cross the line to teach Greek children English & her heart becomes entangled with two of her students and their uncle. When a dream teaching position is offered in Salt Lake City, will Leanna leave the life she knows for something better, or will her heart lead somewhere she never dreamed?

    This story is full of heartache & pain for both Leanna and Alex who are fighting for a better life among a mining camp, along with hatred for the Greeks. I love how the author shows Leanna's strong faith in God and how Alex begins to see it for himself. Having walked away when he feels God took his wife from him, he can't deny the positive effect it has on her and how it seeps through in everything she does. His niece and nephew play an important role in getting these two together, engulfing Leanna deeper into the Pappa's family. They fight the attraction that's there because of his family and the townspeople's prejudice against their different nationalities. It's an impossible situation but God is a God of possibilities! I loved seeing their journey to happily ever after. There's a lot of twists and monkey wrenches thrown in to keep you reading just to find out what happens and how they overcome the obstacles. Historical fiction and romance at it's best, plenty of tense conflict to keep you glued to the pages, strong faith in spite of difficult circumstances, and a sigh worthy ending all make this a story that will linger a while in your heart. I look forward to more from Angie Dicken!

    *I received a copy from NetGalley on behalf of the author. Opinions expressed here are my own and no favorable review was required. *

  • Julia Wilson

    My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate Utah by Angie Dicken is a delightful Christian historical romance which I loved.

    The action is set in 1910 in the mining town of Castle Gate. There are the themes of prejudice and ignorance towards the immigrants. Even the very young were taught to hate. "I pray that one day we will all see one another for our hearts and not our origins." God asks us to shine a light in a dark world. "There is no darkness but ignorance." We are called to "scatter the darkness."

    Mixe

    My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate Utah by Angie Dicken is a delightful Christian historical romance which I loved.

    The action is set in 1910 in the mining town of Castle Gate. There are the themes of prejudice and ignorance towards the immigrants. Even the very young were taught to hate. "I pray that one day we will all see one another for our hearts and not our origins." God asks us to shine a light in a dark world. "There is no darkness but ignorance." We are called to "scatter the darkness."

    Mixed marriages were frowned upon. Arranged marriages within communities were common. Marriage alliances for money rather than love were the order of the day.

    Not all characters were motivated by money. The leading lady has a social conscience, being lead by her heart and not her purse strings.

    Education for all is important. Education gives both choice and freedom.

    Relationships with God are vital. Life events either draw people to God or away from Him. God is not just found in the confines of church. He is everywhere. Sometimes people meet with God in the countryside and find that peace that passes understanding.

    God always answers heartfelt prayer. "He prayed to Someone he'd never wanted to speak to again." God awaits our return if we have wandered from Him. Sooner or later we will find our way back. God never lets go of us.

    Love conquers all. We are called to love and not judge people. Love can bridge gaps. It unites and doesn't divide.

    I really loved My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate Utah. It had a wonderful, welcoming atmosphere. The storyline was exciting and engaging. A fabulous read.

    I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

  • Nicole

    My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna’s Choice (2017) by Angie Dicken is a sweet and engaging novel that is part of the My Heart Belongs series published by Barbour Books. You do not have to have read any of the other books in this series to understand this book though. This book is very much a stand-alone novel. This novel comes in all forms including eBook, and is 258 pages in length. With a full-time job and a sick kid this week, this novel took me a week to read. I received a free re

    My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna’s Choice (2017) by Angie Dicken is a sweet and engaging novel that is part of the My Heart Belongs series published by Barbour Books. You do not have to have read any of the other books in this series to understand this book though. This book is very much a stand-alone novel. This novel comes in all forms including eBook, and is 258 pages in length. With a full-time job and a sick kid this week, this novel took me a week to read. I received a free review copy of this novel in eBook form from NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give this novel 4.5 STARS. This novel is a Christian Historical Romance.

    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.

  • Maureen Timerman

    A story that begins with grief and guilt, then adds hate for a nationality, and you will wonder where you are, it could be anywhere in the early 1900’s. This story takes place in a mining town in Utah, and we are hit head on by people who decide that because some of the settlers are from Greece they are bad people.

    There is something for everyone, and not everyone is as they appear, some are just what we think they are, but others portray someone else. When I think of prejudice against a national

    A story that begins with grief and guilt, then adds hate for a nationality, and you will wonder where you are, it could be anywhere in the early 1900’s. This story takes place in a mining town in Utah, and we are hit head on by people who decide that because some of the settlers are from Greece they are bad people.

    There is something for everyone, and not everyone is as they appear, some are just what we think they are, but others portray someone else. When I think of prejudice against a nationality I think of the East, like Boston or New York City, but never gave a thought to the Western parts of this county, like Utah. An eye opener, but I really shouldn’t be surprised, as people are people, and fallen.

    I loved my time here with the Pappas family, would love to visit with them again, but you will be quickly caught up in this fast pace read.

    I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Barbour and was not required to give a positive review.

  • Cafinated Reads Molly

    I enjoyed Ms. Dicken's work with this newest installment in the My Heart Belongs series. She is a superbly talented author and really swept me away with her coal mining setting and her beautifully chiseled characters. As a granddaughter of a miner, I really loved reading this time period. 

    Alex and Leanna's characters were perfect! I was instantly captivated by them both and loved watching them grow in their feelings for each other. And, the sweet children! Oh how I adored them and was glad that

    I enjoyed Ms. Dicken's work with this newest installment in the My Heart Belongs series. She is a superbly talented author and really swept me away with her coal mining setting and her beautifully chiseled characters. As a granddaughter of a miner, I really loved reading this time period. 

    Alex and Leanna's characters were perfect! I was instantly captivated by them both and loved watching them grow in their feelings for each other. And, the sweet children! Oh how I adored them and was glad that they were in the story. 

    This is definitely a 4 star addition to the series. If you are longing for a book that will take you away to a richly detailed historical setting, to a world where the characters become like family, and a book that is filled with beautiful messages of longing, hope and forgiveness, then grab this one up! Ms. Dicken has a new fan in me. 

    *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher/CelebrateLit Blog Tours and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*

  • Robbie

    Angie Dicken realistically depicts the hardships of overcoming adversity, deep-seated prejudices and anger in My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna's Choice, the newest edition of the My Heart Belongs series. Hardships they faced included flooding of the mines, being underground for 12 or more hours and breathing coal dust. Instead of creating bitterness, these adversities instilled hope and determination.

    The plight of coal miners in Castle Gate, Utah, in the early 1900s, is harrowing, e

    Angie Dicken realistically depicts the hardships of overcoming adversity, deep-seated prejudices and anger in My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna's Choice, the newest edition of the My Heart Belongs series. Hardships they faced included flooding of the mines, being underground for 12 or more hours and breathing coal dust. Instead of creating bitterness, these adversities instilled hope and determination.

    The plight of coal miners in Castle Gate, Utah, in the early 1900s, is harrowing, especially for those from Greece. Not only did they have to work in horribly shocking and appalling circumstances, but they had to contend with cruelty because of unspeakable prejudices. Their rudimentary English skills make things ripe for a disaster. Throughout the story, though, the Greek families carry on with admirable fortitude.

    Dicken does an impressive job of detailing the lives of the Greek miners and what they faced, contrasted by their optimism and belief in the fresh start at life afforded them by immigrating to America. Her attention to detail and research is evident from start to finish in the book. She is a new author to me, and I’m looking forward to reading more books by her.

    I received this book free through the Celebrate Lit Blog Tour and NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

  • Babs

    Leanna had her whole life planned out, marry for love, go where your husband goes and have a great life. But things don’t go as planned and now Leanna is a widow, she is young and has to fend for herself.

    I have to admit I was drawn to Leanna she was easy to like and you felt for what she had to go through. Leanna is a school teacher and loves her students.

    Alex is a great person and it was nice to see them both go slow with their feelings and grow with each other.

    Leanna overcomes a lot and it m

    Leanna had her whole life planned out, marry for love, go where your husband goes and have a great life. But things don’t go as planned and now Leanna is a widow, she is young and has to fend for herself.

    I have to admit I was drawn to Leanna she was easy to like and you felt for what she had to go through. Leanna is a school teacher and loves her students.

    Alex is a great person and it was nice to see them both go slow with their feelings and grow with each other.

    Leanna overcomes a lot and it makes you think about all the immigrants and what they had to go through. The author does an excellent job.

    *** I am voluntarily reviewing an Advanced Reader Copy of this book***

  • Pam Mooney

    A wonderful historical romance and delightful addition to the "My Heart Belongs" series. I loved the underlying lessons and caring throughout the story. The children were darling and a sweet addition to the story. They really brought home the love and history of their Greek family. As well as the hardships and prejudices endured when immigrating to a new country. I felt I knew the hearts of the Alex and Leanna as their feelings for each other grew. I enjoyed the historical context as well as the

    A wonderful historical romance and delightful addition to the "My Heart Belongs" series. I loved the underlying lessons and caring throughout the story. The children were darling and a sweet addition to the story. They really brought home the love and history of their Greek family. As well as the hardships and prejudices endured when immigrating to a new country. I felt I knew the hearts of the Alex and Leanna as their feelings for each other grew. I enjoyed the historical context as well as the Utah setting - I really felt it drew me into the story. A sweet romance with strong characters that I instantly became attached to. A good read.


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