Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review: To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

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Title: To Wager Her Heart

Author: Tamera Alexander

Series: A Belle Meade Plantation Novel #3

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult


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 that the truth doesn't tear them apart first. 

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 fiancee—and what has broken her heart. 

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 history when both were tenuous and hard-won.

**5 stars**

'Twas such a lovely story! To Wager Her Heart is definitely one of my favorite novels by Tamera Alexander! I was surprised anew by her beautiful writing style and rich storytelling.

With harsh reality and heartbreak, yet tenderness and fresh chances, Tamera Alexander unfolds this incredible story during the aftermath of the Civil War. Amid train accidents, bitterness, and prejudices, Sylas Rutledge, owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, and Alexandra Jamison, schoolteacher shunned by her family and friends, learn to trust, love, and hope again.

Sy and Alexandra were both characters I loved and wanted to cheer on. I was swept away into this story. The school for ex-slaves. Sy's work with the railroads. Alexandra's family struggles. The Jubilee Singers. The very tender romance.
I thoroughly enjoyed it! To Wager Her Heart didn't leave me bored, but drew me into these unique people's lives that the author brought to life with such grace! She writes with such realness and beautiful historical detail. The story isn't perfect ... everything doesn't work out neat and tidy ... but the characters find joy and peace despite that. And that's real life!

Some moments left me smiling. Others, heartbroken. Still others, laughing! And then, next, I'd be appalled and outraged by the injustice of something that happened. But through it all, there was hope for newness.

So beautiful. The friendship. The faith. The romance. The healing. A very well-written historical novel. A compelling story of loss and faith. I highly recommend To Wager Her Heart!

I received a copy of To Wager Her Heart from Booklookbloggers review program in exchange for my honest review.

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