Thursday, April 30, 2015

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

From the publisher:
A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who could help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing forever.
An Irishman far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He's come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and begin farming, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he'd wagered, especially when Maggie Linden's father makes him an offer he shouldn't accept yet cannot possibly refuse.

Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the inaugural Peyton Stakes, the richest race ever run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance--and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder--Maggie's father, aging, yet wily as ever, makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail--Maggie must marry a man she's never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.

Tamera Alexander is one of my favorite authors.  This is the second in the Belle Meade Plantation novels but you don't have to read the other book to enjoy this one.  There are slightly character references to her other books (which I loved) but don't detract from the story at all or leave you with questions.  

This book was deep with tension and conflict.  The time period that Tamera places her characters in is a rough and cruel one.  She does not shy away from the ugliness of the time but instead embraces it head on so that the readers can really understand and feel what it was like.  I knew about the hatred toward former slaves but had no idea that the Irish were also hated.  A fascinating time period to read and understand.  

. Maggie was as fascinating character to read, she was prejudice in many ways from the way she was raised and her thinking was very normal to what a lady at that time would have been thinking.  I liked that she wasn't "modern" in her thoughts and had to be challenged to grow.  That seemed very realistic and appropriate.  Cullen was the strong character in the book, yes he had a temper, but he was the one would was kind and capable and didn't label things as others in the town did--and that seemed real as well, considering he was looked down on.  Tamera Alexander teaches so much in her novels that you have learned history without even realizing it.  I love her mixture of history and romance.

 I love "arranged" marriages, it allows romantic tension and friendship to build all the while they live together.  I really appreciated the familial and friendship loves that were in this book as well.  Maggie's father is a man who has love and trust in God that he passes on to others.  Maggie's friendships enhance the story and you will find yourself wanting to know more about Savannah.  (Good thing Tamera is writing a novella for her!)

I enjoyed this book and recommend reading not only this one, but all her books.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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