Monday, August 7, 2017

To Wager Her Heart: A Belle Meade Plantation Novel

Welcome!  Tamera Alexander is a historical writer who has given readers A Belle Meade Plantation series, A Belmont Mansion series, Timber Ridge Reflections series, Fountain Creek Chronicles, and To Mend a Dream.  To Wager Her Heart is the final novel A Belle Meade Plantation collection.  The novels in the series are To Whisper Her Name, To Win Her Favor, To Mend a Dream (a novella), and To Wager Her Heart (releases 08/08).  To Win Her Favor is currently $1.99 on Amazon (kindle version).  

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander is the latest (and final) A Belle Meade Plantation Novel.  It is August of 1871 in Nashville, Tennessee.  Alexandra Jamison is still grieving the loss of her fianc√©, David Thompson who died one year prior in a train accident at Dutchman’s curve.  Alexandra blames the train engineer, Harrison Kennedy for the incident.  Barrett Jamison, Alexandra’s father, is pushing her to marry Horace Buford.  Alexandra, though, wishes to do something meaningful with her life. After a disagreement with her father, Alexandra is out walking when she hears singing.  It is the Fisk University Jubilee singers giving a concert and after the program there is an appeal for teachers.  Alexandra has found what she wants to do, but is she ready for what it will cost her. 

Sylas Rutledge has arrived in Nashville to bid on the Belle Meade railroad project and to clear his stepfather, Harrison Kennedy’s name.  Sylas is unprepared for Southern society after living in Colorado.  He needs someone to help him navigate Nashville society.  Sylas feels that Alexandra will be the perfect tutor, but Alexandra is less than willing to pair up with him.  But after her father casts her out of his house when she refuses to marry Mr. Buford, Sylas’ offer to pay for her tutoring is answer to her prayers.  Over time, Alexandrea grows to respect and start to care for Sylas.  Their bond will be tested and Sylas could lose everything. 

To Wager Her Heart is nicely written and has a beautiful setting.  The romance portion is light and subtle which I appreciated (it was predictable though).  The main focus of the book is on Fisk University and the Jubilee singers (the hardship they endured on their journey).  Ms. Alexander did a superb job with her research and incorporating it into her story.  I like how she incorporated historical figures and events into her narrative.  It was interesting to learn about the college as well as the struggles faced by the university, the faculty, and the students.  It is a shame this historical tidbit was never included in school curriculum.  The author did a remarkable job at capturing the time-period and locale.  I did find the pace of the novel to be a little slower than I would have liked, but I have discovered that it is normal in novels rich in historical detail.  The Christian element was just heavier than I would have liked (I prefer a lighter touch), but I liked the themes which included the power of prayer and trusting in God.  My rating for To Wager Her Heart is 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  While To Wager Her Heart is part of a series, it can be a stand-alone novel.  It is nice, though, to catch up on the characters from the other books in the series especially Uncle Bob.  I am glad that I read To Wager Her Heart (which releases on Tuesday, August 8).  It encouraged me to find out more about the Jubilee singers and Belle Meade.  

I appreciate you visiting and reading my review.  I will be featuring All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco on Tuesday.  May each of you have a nice, easy Monday (a good way to ease into the week).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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