TO WAGER HER HEART
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 dream -- provided the truth doesn't tear them apart.
Silas Rutledge, new orner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this new 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 through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison he quickly decides he's found his tutor. But he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra's fiancé and shattered her world.
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedman'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 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?
Sy is willing to risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager he heart to do it.
Set against the real history of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubliee 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.
From time to time a book finds its way into your TBR pile that oozes special literary vibes that are hard to ignore. It looks good, it feels good -- it even smells good! And it clamors for attention until you pick it up and open the cover. And once you do -- there's nothing for it but to surrender to the beguiling story within. To Wager Her Heart is just that kind of novel. It's a story that feeds a reader's heart, mind and soul.
The romance is deliciously sublime. Sy is the kind of all-encompassing hero that causes heart flutters and spine chills. He's purposeful in every thing he does. He's kind and sees deep into another's needs
and then quietly goes about providing them. He's gallant with Alexandra even when she snubs him but relentless in his pursuit anyway. She's buried her heart with her fiance and panics when Sy starts to bring it to life again. Definitely an exquisite love story!
I love the way Alexander incorporates real people and events from history into her stories. Her research is meticulous and I always come away having learned something new. This Canadian had never heard of Fisk University or the Jubilee Singers and I am woefully uneducated when it comes to the Reconstruction Era. Some startling facts merge with fiction leaving me breathless and aching. Harsh reality comes into sharp focus because history isn't always kind and taking a hard look at injustices from the past is difficult to do. But so necessary!
So I finished this read a little battered and bruised. But hopeful too. Because Alexandra's and Sy's story celebrates the joy that comes in the midst of sorrow when you have the courage to place your faith wholly in the Lord. "You see, I believe that if the Lord tells me to jump through a wall, it is my part to jump -- and the Lord's to put me through it." (p 250) Facing fears, finding courage, being true to yourself and standing strong for justice -- these are just some of themes that make To Wager Her Heart such a memorable...and mesmerizing...novel. An incredible addition to Tamera Alexander's Belle Mead Plantation series.
If you would like a chance to win a copy of To Wager Her Heart, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 14 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!