My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele’s Journey (2018) by Amanda Barratt is a fantastic, highly-engaging installment in the My Heart Belongs series published by Barbour Books. Reading the previous stories in this series is not necessary as this book is very much a stand-alone story. With a full-time job and a very precocious and busy five-year old, this story took me five days to read. If you are noting the longer period of time it took me to read this book, fear not! It took me a while to read because it was finals week this week at school and I needed to grade like crazy. Please do not let my longer reading time deter you from this book. This book is AH-MAY-ZING!!! I received a 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 5+++ STARS. This story is a Christian Historical Romance.
About the Book
Journey now to Niagara Falls, New York, of 1870 where…
She avoids danger at all costs. He makes his living by rushing headlong into it.
Outwardly, Adele Linley’s trip to visit her American cousins is nothing more than a summer vacation. In reality, she’s the daughter of an English aristocrat with barely a penny to her name seeking a rich American husband.
Having grown up in an overcrowded orphanage, Drew Dawson is determined to make a name for himself. He’ll take any honest job to provide for his sister—even crossing Niagara Falls by tightrope.
On a sightseeing trip to the Falls, Adele meets several eligible suitors. Incredibly wealthy and pompous, Franklin Conway takes an immediate fancy to her. But Adele would truly like to marry for love. When she encounters the mysterious Drew in a garden, Adele is confused by her feelings for someone who is everything she is NOT looking for. Will they both stay the course they have chosen for themselves?
I had a tremendously arduous week this week with finals and needy students, so I had very limited reading time which was really disappointing because this book is so good I did not want to ever put it down. It’s easily one of those stories where you say to yourself, “One more chapter, I can do one more chapter!”
The main characters are Adele and Drew. Life for Adele and Drew is very difficult. Adele has struggled for the past four years to keep her family estate in England going after the reckless death of her father. Instead of having any help from her brother, a man more interested in spending money he doesn’t have on cards and alcohol, she is left to figure out how to manage her mother, home, and family finances alone. Almost destitute, Adele decides to leave England for America. She tells everyone it’s to visit estranged family, but in actuality, Adele has a plan — to catch a wealthy American husband. Once in New York, during a visit to the majestic Niagara Falls, Adele meets Drew Dawson. Drew and his sister, Hope, have been orphans as long as he can remember. Growing up in an orphanage, Drew single-handedly raised and protected Hope. Due to an accident that has left her unable to walk, Hope is an invalid and totally reliant on Drew. Drew’s goal in life is to work as hard as he legally can to make enough money so Hope can find a good doctor who will help her walk again. Well-paying jobs are hard to come by, so Drew utilizes his talents as a funambulist to help secure larger sums of money in order to grow his “Hope Savings.”
Two things stood out in this book for me. First, the tension. Oh my good gracious does this book have tension. Part of the reason why I had a difficult time putting this book down is because as every page passed, I could not figure out how Adele and Drew would get to their happily ever after. To call this book a page-turner would be an understatement! Tension because of circumstances. Tension because of mistakes the characters make. Tension between Drew and Adele. Tension between Adele and her American family. Tension between Drew and Franklin (the villain!). Tension between Adele and her brother. There are so many layers of tension going on in this story that at one point (around the 94%-read mark), I looked at my husband and declared, “I have no idea how this book is going to end!!!” It was FANTASTIC!!!
The second aspect to this book that really struck me was the intense and powerful message to place our trust in God. Drew is strong in his faith, even when the going gets really rough. But Adele has very little faith in God. The men in her life who were supposed to love and protect her let her down badly. Naturally, she has transferred her distrust of men to God. Adele wants to fix everything on her own. She cannot trust that anyone will come to her aid. So she constantly comes up with plans, but her plans never work out. I can relate to Adele so much. I, too, have had a very difficult time with trust. I, too, want to fix everything. But, my plans are rarely successful if I don’t include God. I appreciate Adele’s spiritual struggles because it made her all the more real a character. She endeared herself to me, and when she came to a full understanding of God and His love for her, I almost burst into happy, happy tears!
I truly loved this story, and I am a little sad that my time with Drew and Adele has come to an end. I am so blessed to have read this wonderfully engaging story, and I cannot recommend it enough. When it is released on January 1, I highly suggest purchasing this book. You will not be disappointed with this read!