Thursday, November 23, 2017

After You've Eaten Your Turkey Dinner...

As much as I loved Christmas while I was growing up - what's not to love about presents - Thanksgiving carries the most memories. Every year we traveled from New Jersey to Maryland to visit my maternal grandparents. Aunts, uncles, and cousins came from miles around. The house was filled with people, and the table truly groaned from the amount of food it held.

After we finished eating, the men headed to the living room to watch football, and the women congregated in the kitchen to clean up. We kids played to our hearts content. My grandmother had a closet filled with toys (classics such as Lincoln Logs and dominoes) and shelves filled with books. Her bookshelf is where I first discovered Grace Livingston Hill. I'd curl up in a corner and read the day away. It was sheer bliss.

As a result, I associate books with Thanksgiving. Maybe you can too, and My Heart Belongs to Castle Gate, Utah might be the first book you should read. 

Book blurb: Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never look back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that too her husband's life.

Until the widow meets the 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. Leanne as received an offer to each elsewhere and feels she has not choice but to leave Castle Gate, although she will be leaving her heart behind.

Here's my review: 

My Heart Belongs to Castle Gate, Utah is a well-written story about the plight of Greek immigrants who came to America for a better life. I immediately fell in love with Alex. He is intelligent, strong yet sensitive, and loyal to a fault. In fact, his loyalty to his family gets him into more than one tough spot. Leanne is a progressive young woman for her time, yet she is not given 21st Century behaviors as some authors tend to do. I eagerly followed Alex's and Leanne's journey to find each other, and the many twists and turns in the story brought tension as to how their relationship would be finalized. I love historical novels that educate me, and this one did not disappoint. I learned a tremendous amount about the mining industry, life in the early 1900s, Greek culture, and immigrants' struggle to fit into a new country. My Heart Belongs to Castle Gate, Utah was an easy, fast-paced book, and thanks to a dreary Sunday afternoon, I was able to finish it in one sitting. The only sad part was coming to the end of it. 

I received a free copy of this book from CelebrateLit Publishing, and a favorable review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy reading!

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, blogger, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone's throw from Fort McHenry, she has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library. She writes historical fiction. Her most recent story, A Doctor in the House, is part of "The Hope of Christmas" collection from CelebrateLit Publishing and is available for pre-order.


  1. Thanks for a great review. I haven't read this book but I have several of the other My Heart Belongs series and I have really enjoyed them.
    Thank you & Blessings!

  2. A lovely review, Linda. I enjoyed reading this book, too.
    Trust you had a blessed Thanksgiving.