Dianna Rostad’s ‘You Belong Here Now’ Will Steal Your Heart [REVIEW]

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Montana. With vast open plains and clear blue skies as far as the eye can see, it is a place that is both isolating and filled with possibilities. For a rancher’s headstrong daughter, it is home. For a resilient Cheyenne ranch hand, it holds the key to both his past and his future. And for three children on a westbound train, it could be just the salvation they are looking for. When their paths converge, will the five of them realize just how much they need each other or will outside forces destroy any chance they have at happiness? Find out in Dianna Rostad’s gripping debut novel, You Belong Here Now.

William Morrow

Between 1854 and 1929, the Orphan Train carried nearly 200,000 children from the East Coast to the West, in the hopes that pioneering families would adopt them and provide them with loving homes. In 1925, three of those children nearly make it to the train’s final stop, having been poked, prodded, and ultimately overlooked by prospective parents at all the other stops along the way.

Desperate to escape Hell’s Kitchen, Charles is a scrappy city boy through and through. Tall and strong, he makes many people nervous, but all he really wants is a family to call his own and a chance to start life over, far away from the big city.

Patrick still talks with an Irish brogue. Having been orphaned by the Spanish flu and unable to return to his homeland, he’s an optimistic lad who knows his way around horses and a farm.

Opal is a tiny girl who won’t speak, who has obviously seen more than her share of trauma if the scars on her wrists are anything to go by. Big eyed and pretty, but afraid of men, she clings desperately to the two boys she has come to think of as her brothers.

As fate would have it, their journey takes them to an isolated Montana farm. Nara, the family’s spinster daughter, is determined to keep the homestead alive. Together with Jim, their Cheyenne ranch hand, she works long, backbreaking hours on the range, mending fences, tending livestock, and avoiding the ornery family nearby. The last thing she wants or needs are three orphaned children making her life even more difficult.

Determined to run the kids off, Nara puts them to work but is surprised to see just how tough they really are. Meanwhile, her aging parents also take a shine to the children, and before long, they gradually begin to forge familial bonds. Then the unthinkable happens and the past rushes up to destroy their newfound happiness and the children’s safety. Will Nara step up and protect the children she initially didn’t want? And to what lengths will she go to keep them from harm?

I am always giddy when I discover a novel that is sure to become our next Diamond Review Book! As soon as I started reading You Belong Here Now, I was in awe of Dianna Rostad’s writing. Her words just flow, like delicious nectar over your fingertips, impossible to resist. You’ll simply want to consume every last juicy drop of this sweet story! Thankfully my pal Emily Fisher over at William Morrow knew this was a book I’d like and made sure to get it into my eager hands. And now I simply can’t wait to get it into yours.

This story has everything, including suspense, tenderness, and a family with a heart so big it can move mountains. Rostad deftly captures the children’s fears, as well as their dreams for the future and their eagerness to belong to someone, somewhere, even if that is someplace they have never been. I loved watching how each member of this family grew and transformed over the course of the novel, even stubborn Papa who has resisted handing the reins of the family ranch over to Nara for such a long time.

Ultimately, this is a book about the healing power of acceptance, which is a lesson that is so desperately needed right now. Not since John Irving’s Cider House Rules and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath have I been so invested in a novel’s characters. But here, the characters, their unimaginable plight and Rostad’s riveting prose profoundly moved me and left me feeling inspired. I know you’re going to love this book just as much as I do. I sincerely hope you will give it a read!

Dianna Rostad
Dianna Rostand
(Photo by Jaden Photography)


Dianna Rostad was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Her parents and extended family come from the ranches of Montana and the farms of Arkansas. Dianna raised three kind human beings, and when they began to test their wings, she took to writing with a passion, completing Southern Methodist University Writer’s Path program in 2009.

A favorite task of her creative endeavors is the discovery and research of people and places where her novels are set. She has traveled extensively to pursue the last artifacts of our shared history and breathe life, truth, and hope into her novels. Now living in Florida, Dianna continues to write big-hearted novels for wide audiences everywhere. You Belong Here Now is her debut novel.

For more information, visit DiannaRostad.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, and BookBub.

By Dianna Rostad
368 pp. William Morrow. $16.99.

Purchase You Belong Here Now direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.


Want to win a copy of You Belong Here Now? Enter to win by following us on Twitter. We will draw from our followers using random number generator at noon on Friday, May 7. Happy reading!

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

One Response to Dianna Rostad’s ‘You Belong Here Now’ Will Steal Your Heart [REVIEW]

  1. trish says:

    This sounds amazing! No wonder you loved it! Thank you for being on the tour!

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