Posted in Book Reviews

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

169Schoolteacher 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.

More from My Heart Belongs in Series…
My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss: Priscilla’s Reveille by Erica Vetsch (January 2017)
My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmella’s Quandary by Susan Page Davis (March 2017)
My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight by Susanne Dietze (May 2017)
My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring by Carrie Fancett Pagels (July 2017)
My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily’s Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar (September 2017)

My Thoughts: I’m a sucker for a mining camp story, so I was drawn to Dicken’s Castle Gate and wasn’t let down. The story didn’t focus on life inside the mines quite so much but was rich on the difficulties of the immigrant miners, namely the Greek miners. The place where this story really shined was in immersing the reader into the Greek culture and traditions. This is an area that I haven’t run across often in Christian Fiction and found it delightful. It’s always sobering to witness prejudices being played out in a story, and I leave with so much respect for those who traveled the hard roads earlier in our nation’s history as well as leave with a lesson or two about how to respond to it in today’s climate.
My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah was a delightful read with a delightful cast! I enjoyed my time with the Pappas family and only wish we could expect more from these friends.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah 4 stars and recommend it to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction or mining camp settings.

~I received a copy from Net Galley. I was not compensated for my review. All thoughts are my own.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

172Do They Have a Fighting Chance at Love?

After completing his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father’s knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past.

Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs in the town her father founded. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she’s reluctant to trust him. Yet as the mysteries of the town’s new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.

Eden believes she’s finally found a man of honor and integrity. But when the truth about Levi’s prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian’s affections?

What I Loved: One of the aspects that stood out the most was the hero. There’s something so special and so unique about a flawed hero. It was endearing to watch Levi struggle with his speech and the creative way he worked around it. Equally endearing for me was watching Eden’s spiritual growth. She has a righteous judgemental problem that so many Christians have fallen victim to and it was encouraging to see how Witemeyer brought her from one idea to the other. The reader can easily glean lesson while they were being entertained.

Rating and Recommendation: If you’re looking for another Christian historical or Christian western that you haven’t read yet, you’ll enjoy To Win Her Heart. I’m giving it 4.5 stars.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Name Unknown by Roseanna White

159Edwardian Romance and History Gains a Twist of Suspense

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

What I Loved:  A Name Unknown contained so many of my favorite fiction aspects: There is something so right about meeting a flawed character in a novel, and White nails it with her stuttering hero.
There was a touch of mystery and suspense. Just a touch to keep those pages turning but not so much that you have to leave the light on at night.
I find the noble thief an endearing storyline. It’s always interesting to see the realities of a lifestyle that I have no experience in such as Rosemary’s history as an orphan on the streets of London.
And then there’s the author character. I enjoyed being able to relate to him as well as watching his thoughts and his stories unfold throughout the story.
One can’t neglect the historical angle! The series started before WWI so we’re seeing the climate heat up as the nations are on the brink of war and people begin to suspect each other of being traitors. Most war fiction novels feature the war or the aftermath and few look at what is taking place before the start of it.
And most importantly, of course, is the spiritual message. White does an excellent job walking her character through salvation and repentance, as well as growing her Christian character.
Needless to say, this will be one of my highlights for the year. And I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving A Name Unknown 5 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction, Pre-war, or WWI setting.

~I received a copy from Bethany House. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.