Thursday, July 27, 2017

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

First a window, then a door. . .

Another in the series based on the real Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville and real-world events after the Civil War. As the story unfolds it is obvious that the two main characters, Alexandra and Sy are of separate worlds on separate paths. But Tamera gently weaves the story and we see an illustration of how God takes us through our lives – first opening a window, then a door, until time goes by and we can see the path clearly. It has character styles that I am drawn to – a strong, independent, intelligent woman and a rugged, compassionate, intelligent man.

Alexandra was on the train that crashed and her fiance was killed. Sylas' father was the engineer who was driving the train. Sy now owns the railroad and is trying to find out what happened and clear his name. His business depends on influencing General Harding of Belle Meade, but he is not accustomed to prosperity or the Southern way of doing things. Alexandra is accustomed to both and in a position to help Sy, but she is about to lose her connection with her family.

This is one of the best truly Christian stories where Jesus is mentioned often. Beautifully written full dimensional characters you are glad to get to know.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Fiction and the Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.

From the Publisher:
Can a railroad man and a Southern Belle turned teacher find a way to work together to achieve their dreams in the new reality of the post-Civil War South?
Sylas Rutledge, former gambler and new owner of the East Line Railway, invests everything he has into this venture, partly to see if he can do it—but mostly to avenge his father. One man holds the key to the railway’s success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sylas Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver in high society, and when he meets Alexandra Donelson, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor.
Spurning her family’s wishes that she marry, Alexandra Donelson is pursuing her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But her family does not approve, and ultimately, her father expels her from the family home and cuts her off completely.
Through her friendship with Mary Harding, Alexandra is thrown together with both General Harding and Sylas Rutledge. And she soon finds herself falling in love with a man whose roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility.
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win the hand of the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.
Set at Nashville’s historic Belle Meade Plantation, To Wager Her Heart is a sweeping Southern love story about a nation mending after war, the struggle to move a country forward, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves for who they truly are—and can be—with each other.

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