Saturday, August 5, 2017

Great story! Great history! -- To Wager Her Heart

For great southern historical fiction, I just don't believe you can find any better than Tamera Alexander's stories. To Wager Her Heart, the third and final book in her Belle Meade Plantation series, is just one more piece of evidence to back up that statement.

As soon as I began reading the story, I felt that I had stepped back into the 1870s world of Nashville, Tennessee, where people from all kinds of backgrounds were learning to live in the new realities of post-Civil-War life. The authentic history that forms a major backdrop for the story is a huge element of what makes Tamera's writing so engaging. You can count on her to do have carefully done her research as she weaves together beautifully those real details and characters with others from her own imagination. The personal struggles, faith, and romance between her characters round out a lovely story that made it almost impossible to put down the book until reading the very last word.

The Belle Meade Plantation stories have some carry-over in characters and story lines, but each can easily be read as a stand alone. In each of the stories, I have run across some pieces of American history that I had not known earlier. It was fascinating in this book to learn some of the background of Fisk University and the Jubilee Singers as freedmen first began to have educational opportunities.

Thanks to Tamera Alexander for providing a copy of To Wager Her Heart for review.  I was delighted to share my thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society's expectations must work together to achieve their dreams—provided the truth doesn't tear them apart first.

Seeking justice . . . 

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fiancĂ©—and has broken her heart. 

Struggling to restore honor . . . 

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family—and Nashville society—do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.

Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor? 

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager her heart to do it. 

Set against the real history of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a stirring love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in American history when both were tenuous and hard-won. 

About the Author:

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the Christy Award, the RITA Award, and the Carol Award. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband have returned to their native South and live in Tennessee, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children.

Tamera invites you visit her website, her blog, on Twitter, or Facebook.

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