To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation Series #3)

To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation Series #3)

by Tamera Alexander


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To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation Series #3) by Tamera Alexander

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 American history when both were tenuous and hard-won.

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 the truth doesn’t tear them apart first.

Sylas Rutledge, new owner 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 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 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 her heart to do it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310291084
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 08/08/2017
Series: Belle Meade Plantation Series , #3
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 204,140
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, including the Christy Award (two-time winner, seven-time finalist), the RITA Award (two-time winner, four-time finalist), the Carol Award, the Maggie Award, the Booksellers Best Award, and Library Journal's top distinction, among others. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live a short distance from Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation, the setting of Tamera’s two USA Today bestselling Southern series.

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To Wager Her Heart 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and series learning more about American history after the civil war in the South East. Tamera continues to produce stunning serial reads! I am hoping to enjoy the next novels.
Swampbrat More than 1 year ago
Once again [a:Tamera Alexander|322733|Tamera Alexander|] has woven a beautiful story inside real history. Set in post-Civil War Nashville, and including parts of our nation's past, such as Fisk University (a freedmen's school), The Jubilee Singers, Philip Bliss, and of course the beautiful Belle Meade Plantation, I didn't want to put the book down. Tamera did a wonderful job showing us the hard truths of that time, the prejudice, and the shifting in society as freedmen and Southerns attempted to reconstruct their lives. I enjoyed all the characters- the main and minor. The building up of Sylas and Alexandra's relationship was believable and not overdone. It was great to see Uncle Bob and the Hardings again. I also enjoyed the theme of trusting God in everything and of continuing education. Both important during that time period, and today!
KVM 12 months ago
This story of Miss Alexandra Jamison and Mr. Sylas Rutledge is a wonderful story of finding yourself doing what God has in store for you and finding forgiveness and love through tragedy. Its also a good story based on true events in the south after slavery is abolished. I loved how the story carried it self through the book never losing the true thread of the story but also weaving and including so much in its path. The romantic feeling of the railroad, the hardship of having to give up family to follow your true calling, this book will truly make you want to cry at so much injustice and share the wonder of what started out as a job becomes something that saves you.
mrskbookstogo More than 1 year ago
Alexandra Jamison is spunky, loyal, trust worthy, and willing to accomplish those things that most people will shy away from. In 1871, women were told who to marry. Alexandra loved her father, yet she had a life to live and her father's plan of marriage didn't fit in any way. Even though she was part of Nashville's founding families, the social life for a lady wasn't of importance. Since Dutchman's Curve and David, her life would have a different meaning. When her father requests that she help the owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, she didn't expect all the frustration nor the bonding that would eventually lead her to discovering the truth about why her husband died at Dutchman's Curve. Silas Rutledge doesn't have time to become a "Southern Gentleman." Coming from Colorado, he knows how to get things done. Yet, Alexandra had an intriguing solution. If he wanted to win the bid for his railroad, he would have to be taught how to the prospective owner of the Belle Meade Station thought which meant he would need to think like a southern gentleman. For Silas, he thought winning the bid was his main purpose for coming to Nashville. He was not prepared to learn the ways of the south, nor was he completely prepared to clear his father's name from the scandal that was associated with the train wreck at Dutchman's Curve. The last thing he had on his mind was an intelligent, albeit strong-willed women and her need for his truth in her healing. The delightfully entertaining quips between Silas and Alexandra are equally matched as a captivator and a spitfire. Be prepared to smile, entertain moments with a few giggles, and become completely engaged in the lives of these characters. When historical fiction is well woven, the reader forgets which time frame they are presently entertaining... MrsK
AngelaBycroftNZ More than 1 year ago
To Wager Her Heart was another stellar read from an author we expect no less of - and are seldom disappointed. From it’s uncompromising attention to historical detail and setting plus a swoon worthy hero who takes the definite slow burn route to romance. Some may find it a little on the slow side but I felt the story warranted it and it made the eventual resolution that bit more worth the wait. Alexandra faces an impossible choice - marry a man she barely knows let alone loves and is more of her father’s vintage. If she refuses she will be completely cut off from her family. I wanted to shake her parents for their virtual cruelty even to the point of refusing her to take her possessions with her and tossing her out with literally the clothes on her back. She takes a stand and goes to teach in a coloured school - another nail in her coffin in this south setting. Meanwhile her path crosses with Sylas - ambitious and successful owner of the railroad. He recognises in her a strength and purpose which draws him. Alexandra has reason to be anxious around the railroad as her former fiancé was killed only recently in a terrible train crash which Alexandra was also involved in. She will need Sylas strength to overcome her fear and move on with her life. I also particularly loved the historical additions of hymn writer Phillip Bliss which while tragic was still a great anchor point for the story. Recommended for anyone looking for a gentle and relaxed story to warm heart. Definitely worth waging on.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
To Wager Her Heart by author Tamera Alexander is a story of a young woman who has decided to follow her dreams instead of her parent’s plans for her life. She does however do this in a most respectful way, even considering her age which is in the mid-twenties. Taking place in Nashville in the year 1871, the Civil War and its aftermaths was still very much on everyone’s minds. As the country was changing from the way before the war to the new reality, unfortunately Alexandra was seeing that old prejudices did not want to die. Stepping out on her own, to the best of her abilities, she was also paving the way for more women to do just the same. This was much more of a historical novel than a romance, although we do get to see a romance bloom between Alexandra and Sylas Rutledge after a rocky beginning. I did appreciate the author’s historical details and the real life people she placed in this book. Sylas was a railroad owner and trying to make his name by purchasing more lines and opening up the country’s infrastructure. I was unaware of some of the historical facts that even took place closer to my neck of the woods and I am intrigued enough to look closer at that history. This is the third novel in the series A Belle Meade Plantation, and I have yet to read the first in the series. I still enjoyed To Win Her Favor more (more of a romance historical, more my cup of tea) I did like getting a peak Alexandra’s and Sylas’s world. I received a copy of this novel for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
SBMC More than 1 year ago
This book is the second book I’ve read by Tamera Alexander and she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite historical romance authors. I had enjoyed Christmas at Carnton previously (yes, I’m reading the books a little out of order here) and knew I would enjoy the author’s writing style and research, but I didn’t expect to be swept away so completely by the story and the characters. I’m always amazed when real-life events are so seamlessly integrated into fiction that is moving and thought-provoking. I’ve learned a bit about railroad safety history as well as the struggles of the freedmen everywhere even years after the end of the war. The story is well-written with a well-paced plot. Sometimes there are lags in the plot line in historical fiction, but there were none in this book. There are solid themes of forgiveness, dependence only on Jesus, and maturity in faith. It was refreshing to see both of the main characters start out with faith, however small, and grow during the book. Sylas is a swoon-worthy hero. He’s a self-made railroad owner, loyal, compassionate, resourceful, kind, thoughtful, and unswerving in his beliefs though they may cost him. He falls in love with Alexandra first and does everything possible to woo her, slowly and gently. Alexandra is the daughter of a prominent Nashville family still suffering from a broken heart after her fiancé is tragically killed in a train accident. She is genteel, lovely, intelligent, hard-working, compassionate, and faithful to what she believes is right and true. Even though teaching at a freedmen’s university means being shunned by her family and almost all whom she holds dear, she still forges ahead, knowing that this is her calling. The terrible state of most people’s hearts toward the freedmen was absolutely heart-breaking, yet I realize this kind of awful darkness resides even now. In the midst of a tender and delightful romance, the author addressed the heavier aspects of racism and discrimination in 1870s thoughtfully. I received a copy of the book from Zondervan via NetGalley. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
BBulow More than 1 year ago
To Wager Her Heart is a lovely conclusion to the Belle Meade series. In what I’ve come to believe is her signature style, Tamera Alexander brings the Reconstruction to life, rife with racial tension and numerous injustices, yet not without hope and the push for reconciliation. Alexandra Jamison is an admirable character, surrounded by other admirable figures – those teaching and those daring to learn, in a time when both aspirations were fraught with potential danger. Sylas Rutledge is an outsider, requiring assistance as he navigates a business relationship with General Harding, owner of Belle Meade Plantation. Though they clash a bit at first, Sy soon realizes that Alexandra is his best bet to do this is to get some help from Alexandra. Alexandra, who has just forfeited her home in a high-standing Nashville family in order to teach freedmen at Fisk University and in dire need of her own funds. There are a lot of layers and details in this story that make it unique. The details about railroad expansion are both exciting and dangerous. The temerity in the face of adversity of the teachers at Fisk University and the university’s Jubilee Singers makes for one compelling story. In addition, both Alexandra and Sy must overcome personal adversity, that of fear for Alexandra, and a desire for justice for Sy. The culminating “wager” is not really a wager at all, but a choice that comes easily to Sy and one for which I applauded his character. Most of all, I applaud the Jubilee Singers, who face prejudice and adversity as they strived to raise money for Fisk. I appreciated the author’s note that Alexander includes to talk acknowledge both the persecution and the triumph of the real Jubilee Singers. I’m so glad to have finished such a wonderful series, and recommend all three books and the novella for fans of rich historical fiction, with endearing characters and heartfelt messages. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a review positive or otherwise.
MJK108 More than 1 year ago
“No matter where you’re going, God is already there. He’s already on the train. He’s already waiting for us at the first stop in Cincinnati. There is nowhere we can go—by carriage, wagon, ship, or train—where he is not already there, holding us in the palm of his hand.” --Words of wisdom from Ella’s mom Tamera Alexander once again transports us back in time to Nashville during the year 1871. A wonderful blend of true historical facts mingled with a fiction storyline runs through this outstanding novel highlighting Alexandra Jamison’s heartfelt battle for independence to follow her heart’s calling as an educator. Alexandra must first break free of a domineering father and the expectations of society in order to fulfill her dream. Getting hired by the Fisk University, a freedmen’s university, is only the start of a life changing course of events for Alexandra. Her choice to teach at the university leaves her without a home, money, or family. However, during the course of events, Alexandra meets Sylas Rutledge, a mine owner from Colorado trying to bid on a railroad near the Belle Meade Plantation. The story follows Alexandra and Sy as they each pursue their dreams and struggle to find out if they can surmount a past that stands between them and build a future in spite of their differences. The historical detail encompasses railroads, Fisk University and its Jubilee Singers, and touches once again on Belle Meade Plantation, in addition to the struggles for the general recovery of the South following the Civil War. The characters feel like real people that will touch your heart with their stories, struggles, and efforts. The themes running through the novel are many; forgiveness, acceptance, family, prejudice, and realization of fulfilling dreams in different ways. A great read! I highly recommend this novel for anyone with an interest in historical inspirational fiction. An engrossing story that will hold your attention! This ARC copy was received from Zondervan and The Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
Powerful, well researched, well written, and emotional read are just some thoughts that come to mind upon finishing. This is book three in the Belle Mead Plantation Series, but I had no problem reading it as a standalone. This era of history is brought to life in a beautiful story that you can easily identify with. The characters are real and the sacrifices that were made to educate freedmen were selfless. The scene at the slave pens was so emotional and you will definitely need tissues. I can almost hear those Jubilee Singers and see their faith. What an example to us to be better people. Tamera Alexander has a gift to pen a book that draw us in and keeps us engrossed till the end. One of my favorite books this year. Deserves to be read and reread. I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction Guild. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Jennybug52 More than 1 year ago
4 1/2 stars- Tamera Alexander is one of my all time favorite authors. I devour everything she writes. Her storytelling is masterful and she has a way of weaving together a tale that is both heart warming and real. Many of her characters in past books have endeared themselves to me. And not always just the main characters. Oftentimes, minor characters and their stories will stay with me long after I’ve read the book. This story is no different. I fell in love with Alexandra and Sylas, the main characters. They both had heart wrenching backstories and I enjoyed reading how those circumstances/events/people helped mold their character. Even though neither Alexandra’s fiancé nor Sylas’ stepfather were alive in the book, their influence and integrity lived on. For me this book was all about overcoming adversity; realizing that God created you for a purpose, figuring out that purpose (often through the help and influence of others) and then boldly striving to live out that purpose. I loved how Tamera weaved the story of Fisk University and the Jubilee Singers into Alexandra and Sylas’ story. The combination of fact and fiction was very fascinating. Ella and the other singers were another amazing example of boldly believing in God’s purpose and striving to fulfill it even when it seemed impossible. Having to overcome centuries of prejudice and fight for the very things that so many of us take for granted, the students at Fisk were an inspiration. I always look forward to Tamera’s book and can’t wait to read her next one. I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.
SemmieWise More than 1 year ago
** “None of us knows what we’re fully capable of doing until God leads us to a place where we realize our strength is nothing compared to his. He says to take a step, yet you look out and see nothing but thin air in your path. Yet, he calls you on. And only when you finally trust him and take that step into nothingness do you discover you’re standing on solid ground.” ** Tamera Alexander continues her Belle Meade Plantation series with “To Wager Her Heart,” a delightful historical fiction novel with just enough history, just enough fiction, and just enough romance. Twenty-five-year-old Alexandra Jamison hails from one of Nashville’s founding families. With that comes certain expectations — like marrying a much older man whom she doesn’t love. But she wants her life to have more meaning than a socially acceptable arranged marriage. A year ago Alexandra faced a devastating loss — she was on a deadly train crash that claimed the life of her beloved fiance David, a university professor who strived to help the freedmen advance their lives now that the Civil War is over. Inspired by David, and after hearing a performance by Fisk University’s Jubilee Singers, Alexandra decides to teach for the freedmen’s university — a decision that alienates her from her family. Sylas Rutledge, a small railroad owner from Colorado, is in town to bid on a Belle Meade railway project. But he is also in town because of the deadly train crash from a year ago — his stepfather was the train engineer blamed for the accident. Sy hopes to clear his father’s name and find the true story behind the train crash. As Alexandra’s and Sy’s paths continue to bring them together, they begin to develop stronger feelings toward each other. But they also grow deeper in their relationships with their own selves, as well as with God. “To Wager Her Heart” is a tremendous story of sticking with one’s beliefs, no matter the cost to one’s self — to stand up and fight for what one believes in. It’s a story about pursuing dreams, finding answers and following God’s leading; overcoming fear and the power that we have over it; and having a thirst of knowledge because education means freedom, no matter your station in life. It also reminds us that we each have a purpose and we should strive to fulfill that purpose. A major theme that runs throughout “To Wager Her Heart” is our dependence on Jesus, and how God provides for our needs. While Alexandra is at Fisk, she becomes close to the group of singers who ultimately become the Jubilee Singers and tour throughout the country. Many times during the story, they sing “Give Me Jesus,” an old Negro spiritual song, reminding us of our need for Jesus at all times: “In the morning when I rise, in the morning when I rise, in the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.” Alexandra learns this message again and again, including when she’s asked to travel with the singers — thus having to get over her fear and ride a train once again. Even though “To Wager Her Heart” is part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone novel. Alexander’s latest novel is a great fictional story that circles around real places and real events and real people. For more information on what’s real and what’s not, check out her Web site at Five stars out of five. Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
StephieJ More than 1 year ago
I gave To Wager Her Heart five stars! This is my favorite book that I have read this year. The author uses rich historical details in this story. The author clearly did her research and did an excellent job. The main characters were so realistic and likable. At almost 400 pages this book could have been even longer. I really felt connected to the characters and was sad when the book was over. I guess I will have to read it again! I highly recommend this book! You will be pleased that you read this book! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. No positive review was required. My opinion is honest and is my own.
BookReviewerTG More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in the Belle Meade Plantation and in my opinion the best. One interesting note about this story is the way Tamera Alexander wove the son "Give Me Jesus" throughout the story. This song could be the theme of this read. Sylas and Alexander become allies when they unexpectedly find that their families are going in a different direction. Alexander is spunky and decides she will attend Fisk University to become a teacher. Now Sy on the other hand has invested everything he owns in the Northeast Line Railroad to clear his father's name and for the sake of the challenge. But as life has it, things don't always go the way we plan for God has a different direction for our journey. Quite an inspirational read with history of the railroad. The reader can tell that Mrs. Alexander did her research when writing this wonderful story. *This book was provided for review by the Fiction Guild*
Faerytalemegan More than 1 year ago
If you like the "When Calls the Heart" TV series, I think you'll really enjoy "To Wager Her Heart". "To Wager Her Heart" by Tamera Alexander is the third book in the "Belle Meade Plantation" series. It can also be easily read as a stand-alone. I don't normally like to read a lot of books set in the U.S. during different war periods, but recently I've been picking more of these up and enjoying them more than I thought I would. "To Wager Her Heart" is just such a book. Tamera Alexander has a superb and engaging writing style and creates here a story that draws the reader in. Her characters are also very well written and come to life on the page. She is very good at writing swoon-worthy moments! "To Wager Her Heart" is set in the post-Civil War South. It is fascinating to read about the South and what life was like for everyday people after the war ravaged their land and their hearts. Ms. Alexander does such a great job portraying this "in-between" time where a lot of change is taking place, but there's also many people who still hold to the "old ideals", including the father of our main character (Alexandra). I love how Ms. Alexander incorporates real life into the fictional story, like the freedman's school that Alexandra teaches at (Fisk University) and the Jubilee Singers. I love that the university emphasizes knowledge, not only of the basic subjects, but of Christ. Despite these many good things, it was hard for me to read at points, due to the vivid descriptions and the heavy subject matter. Like I said, it's not my favorite time period to read about, precisely because of all of weightier issues that come along with it. But it is important to remember these periods in our nation's history as well and the courageous men and women who went before us. There are many important messages in this book. Throughout the story, Ms. Alexander conveys the lesson that we're all created in God's image and it doesn't matter what color skin you have, which is still a very pertinent message today with the recent racial tensions and the white supremacy movement. I was encouraged by Alexandra's struggle with fear after tragedy and how she is able to overcome that fear through her faith. Tragedy, loss, love, overcoming, and justice are all themes that are woven into this amazing story! Content: This is a clean read, but it is more on the edgy, gritty side of Christian fiction. One character was in a train accident and she often thinks about it or has flashbacks. The descriptions of the accident and aftermath are very detailed and vivid. The word "negro" is used in context. There is talk about a woman's "assets" and the author implies that a character is a prostitute. The prostitute propositions a man, and this man has been to a brothel before. The Lord's name is taken in vain once. A person accidentally gets drunk. A man tries not to look at a woman's décolletage. There is some sexual innuendo. There is talk of how slaves used to commit suicide. Genre: Christian historical fiction; Romance Rating: I give this book four stars. I want to thank Tamera Alexander, Zondervan, and the Fiction Guild for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
bookstoregal More than 1 year ago
Good story, especially for those of you who like historical fiction with some romance. I had not read the first 3 books in this series, but I liked this one pretty well, even so. I really like to read historical stories that have some basis in fact, so that I can learn something new. I love that this book features the Jubilee Singers! Very interesting!! The one drawback for me was that it had maybe a little too much smooching near the end. . Overall, a good book. I was given this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. I am in no way required to give a favorable review. Thanks!
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful read from Tamara I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild. I was not asked or compensated for a favorable review. All thoughts are my own. This is the 3rd book of the series and it is another wonderful book from Tamara. This makes you think about how families in the south made decisions based on how they were perceived about what there station was. Alexandra had lost her fiancee in a train accident the year before and felt lost. He father wanted her to marry an old man she had no feelings for because she was getting older. Sy came to Nashville to bid on the construction of an extension of the rail line & find what happened to his step-father in the same train accident. He needed to learn how to deal with the Southern men in business and Alexandra would be his ticket. He didn't expect to fall in love. She was banished from her family home because she was going to be a teacher at Fisk University. She needed to find her steps. But with this she needed to get over her fear of riding on trains, wonderful things come to those who give everything in God's hands. This is a wonderful historical read, and again Tamara draws you in and you can't put it down.
Nutz2read More than 1 year ago
I have so many thoughts regarding this book. I almost cried a time or two, and it definitely left me with many things to ponder. It’s one of those stories that has stuck with me, and weeks later, I’m still noticing the impact on my thoughts and reactions. I love that! I so enjoy reading books that challenge my preconceived notions and cause me to stop and think and this one does exactly that. I always enjoy and appreciate the depth of historical detail in Ms. Alexander’s books. Her writing pulls me in until it seems I’m right there with them, on the road to Belle Meade Plantation, or in the classroom with Alexandra, or riding the train. The story in set in the years following the Civil War and much of it focuses on the discord in the South regarding the teaching of Freedmen and overcoming biases. It’s a very controversial topic, but I thought the author handled it with grace. I may have picked this book up expecting an entertaining story, but I found so much more than that and turned the last page with a challenge set before me. I also appreciated how the story ended. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is so realistic and I liked that it wasn’t an unrealistic “everything works out perfectly” ending. It was real, but also hope-filled. I so enjoyed getting to know Alexandra and Sylas! Alexandra is kind and caring, determined and brave. Desiring to follow her dreams, she stepped into the unknown and maybe stumbled a few times, but got back up and kept fighting for what she believed in. I loved seeing her character grow and change throughout the story as she learned to look past the color of a person’s skin and see them for who they are. Sylas is also a great character and one that suited Alexandra perfectly. He’s a bit rougher around the edges, but with an integrity that runs deep. I appreciated how he stood for what he valued and didn’t back down, regardless of the cost. He also loves to ruffles Alexandra’s oh, so proper feathers and defy society’s expectations. Both of these people became dear friends over the course of their journey and I was cheering for them as I turned the last page. The only person I truly disliked was actually George White. I’m not sure whether he’s one of the historical figures found in this story or not, but I found myself frustrated with him often. I realize he’s described as abrupt and determined and he truly wanted what was best for the students, but I personally found him to be overbearing and rather rude. His appearances I could’ve done without, though he definitely didn’t ruin the story. Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and stories that leave you with a “hangover” for a few days. *My thanks to the publisher for my complimentary copy of this book! I was not required to write a review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Sylas Ruthledge has more than just a bit of a dilemma to face. Coming from a start up railroad company in Colorado to the Belle Meade Plantation of Tennessee, he finds himself out of his element. His is missing out on all the Southern genteel ways that might cause him to lose out on his bid to expand his railroad territory all on account of not being like all the other wealthy bidders. To call him an outcast is mild in comparison to some. The other thing that keeps him from being looked upon favorably is that his father was responsible for the death of more than a hundred souls when two railroad engines collided at Dutchman's Curve. He knows his father couldn't have been responsible because he knows what an experienced engineer he was. Now while in Tennessee he hopes he can find a way to clear his father's name. His only help might just come from his most least likely of places. When Alexandra Jamison is forced by her wealthy socialite family to marry a man she clearly could never love, she is given an ultimatum by her father. If she refuses to marry a man as old as her father, she can find someplace else to live and with that it means she leaves everything behind including all her personal belongings. She will walk out the door with only the clothes on her back. The good thing is that she has managed to secure a job as a teacher for Fisk University, which teaches the Freedmen and women how to read and write among other things, but the pay isn't that good to allow her to purchase some things she will need along with at least more clothes. So Sylas and Alexandra make a partnership that will benefit them both. She agrees to help teach Sylas the ins and outs of good business dealings as long as he isn't underhanded in his approach. She also agrees that once he obtains new information into the cause of the train accident, he will share what he learns with her. She lost her financè in that crash, while she managed to survive. Even though it goes against what she wants, she knows that without any money, or help, she might be forced to return home and beg for her families help. So she will assist him only until she can get back on her feet and get paid. I received To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander compliments of Zondervan Publishers and NetGalley. This is the third novel in the Belle Meade Plantation series and if you love anything from that sweet Southern history with a refreshing romance mixed in, you will definitely want to pick up this novel. Alexandra's character is a spitfire, like a bit of Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With The Wind. She isn't about to forced to do anything that isn't what is in her heart even if it flies in the face of Southern society. I love her strong determination to keep Sylas at bay, even though she finds herself drawn to man who will do anything to win her heart in the most genteel and southernly ways! Definitely a 5 out of 5 stars in this readers opinion.
Diana_Urban More than 1 year ago
Another great historical novel to enjoy! Ms. Alexander has written another thoroughly enjoyable historical novel! Her latest offering opens the history of slavery in Nashville to readers and highlights some of the women and men who played significant roles in helping the freedmen gain an education through Nashville’s Fisk University and the Jubilee Singers. I found it interesting and enlightening to have this glimpse of history, and I particularly enjoyed the way Ms. Alexander blends historical and fictional characters and events. She also highlights the impact of train wrecks and the effect they had on people. Both main characters, Sy and Alexandra, are affected by the wreck that occurs, thus creating believable tension between them and illustrating that there are two sides to every event. Sy and Alexandra learn more about each other and themselves, and as they do, they change and mature. Alexander’s writing sings, with phrases like, “…his voice sounded like a slow pour of fine bourbon into a glass. Or the rich taste of chocolate melting on her tongue. How had she not noticed that before?” I thoroughly enjoyed her descriptions of the beauty of the mountains where Sy’s family lives, as well as “seeing” that small Appalachian community through the story. Alexander also does a masterful job of illustrating how people can worship God in different ways. For example, Sy thinks about his relationship with God, “… a man couldn't hang off the side of a mountain by a rope and not somehow get a glimpse of the Almighty…” I liked the way each character’s relationship with God grew from his or her own experiences. The extras provided at the end of the book are also fun. The discussion questions are great for individual or group reflection and discussion. And I can’t wait to try the recipe for Chess Pie! I thoroughly recommend To Wager Her Heart, and I look forward to Ms. Alexander’s next book! Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions expressed are my own.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
To Wager Her Heart was a great wrap up to the Belle Meade Plantation novels. Although if you haven’t read the other books, don’t worry, this one can be enjoyed as a stand alone novel. This author always takes me right back in time and makes me feel as if I am really living in the time period that the book is written in. She also writes very realistic characters, which I enjoy. I liked Sy and Alexandra and appreciated that they were characters with good intentions and were both kind people. They were still human and carried various different fears and doubts. I enjoyed the slow building of their relationship. I also liked learning even more about this time period, where tensions ran high and there was still much work to be done to help freedmen find empoloyment and education. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Laurabo More than 1 year ago
Tamera Alexander has captured so many emotions, the era and personalities in the historical novel To Wager Her Heart. Following the Civil War the South is torn and still conflicted with ingrain prejudices and beliefs having such a hold that those not agreeing are oft en rejected and spurned. The South was so set their traditions and proper society that new comers were not looked on favorably. Enter Sy Ryland from Colorado, a railroad man and son of an engineer believed responsible for a tragic train wreck. Sy is determined to find proof that his father is innocent. Needing help learning to move among Nashville's society he requests the assistance of Alex Jamison, daughter to one of Nashville's founding families. Alec, however, lost her fiancé in the train wreck and resents Sy and also finds him uncouth and lacking in proper etiquette. When she refuses to marry her father's choice in husbands and decides to teach in the freedman's school he casts her out. Tamera is able to write compelling stories with individuals rich in character and has the ability to weave life lessons and inspiration in the narrative. Her stories are complex and intense and beg to be read. I received a free copy from Zondervan a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing Group. No review, positive or otherwise, was required – all opinions are my own.
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
This author's writing style is rich with history and a meandering pace that ensures that readers don't miss a thing. I haven't read many books set during Reconstruction so I appreciated the new perspective of the freedmen and those in the South seeking to help them. Much of the story revolves around the work and issues at Fisk University where Alexandra secures a job teaching men, women, and children. It is at the same time encouraging and daunting, with the endeavor receiving both support and opposition. There is an emphasis on the importance of education and the freedom that knowledge brings- for both Alexandra and her students. On the other end of the spectrum is the development of the railroad lines in the area and the politics and Southern etiquette that influences the business that Sy is pursuing. Although they have little in common, seemingly chance meetings give them the opportunity to help each other and an unlikely friendship develops between Alexandra and Sy. I loved how they interacted- Alexandra's propriety not able to mask her strength and spirit, while Sy is unable to keep from admiring her and bringing light and cheer to her life in small and big ways. The romantic moments they share are so heartfelt and wonderfully written. While the highs and lows of the plot didn't feel particularly compelling or pull strong emotions from me (like the previous book in the series, To Win Her Favor), I was glad that I read this book and would recommend it to fans of historical fiction. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
Jaquelyn More than 1 year ago
To Wager Her Heart is the third novel in the Belle Meade Plantation series. I have not read the first two, and don't believe you need to in order to enjoy this book. I was drawn to the characters from the first page. Alexander is a master at painting scenes where I feel like I'm there. It was interesting learning more about our country was when slavery had finally ended. It's sad to think that the problems didn't end just because the war did. I have an all new respect for teachers who left their comfortable lives to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to receive an education. In this book Alexandra Jamison had her life turned upside down, and she grew through it. Alexandra misses her fiancé David. She couldn't wait for their dreams to come true when they started their new lives together. Now that he is gone, it's no longer possible. Being forced to accept a arranged marriage or leave, Alexandra decides to take action. Maybe her dreams can come true in an all new way. Little does she know with this adventure there will be many challenges along the way. Will fleeing all she's ever known be a blessing, or will she regret her decision? I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction. The characters faith was fun to see, and I enjoyed how they grew throughout the story. I had fun watching Alexandra and Sy slowly begin to care for each other. Sometimes we see someone one way because of how they dress or look, but once you get to know them they are so much more. Alexandra learned this lesson the most, and I felt inspired watching her learn to change that reaction. I received a copy of this book from Zondervan Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. I was in no way forced to post a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
sesquius More than 1 year ago
I stumbled upon Tamera several books back and instantly became enamored with her style of writing, the contents and the rhythm. Since then, I've sought out her books and they all are set around the theme of Belle Meade. However, the first books I read contained the actual occupants of the house, so trying to keep all those in order has been a bit of a challenge. That said, I started this book with a pre-understanding of the Belle Meade Mansion, however, if you haven't read any of her previous books, that's okay. Each book is independent of themselves. In this book, the story is set outside the plantation with Belle Meade being a background participant. Alexandera Donelson's family is one of Nashville's founding families and with it comes a certain amount of responsibility. But when we first meet Alexandera, it's has been nearly a year since a tragedy. In turn, her father believes that it is high time that she married. Of course, in this era in between the horses and buggy and the transition to railroads, a girl finds herself at a crossroads. Continue to obediently obey her parents to marry an eligible, albeit much older man, or follow her dreams. For Alexandra, it is to follow her dreams. However, it comes at a cost. In the meantime, we have Sylas who has come east to start a new venture in laying out railroad tracks. An owner of a railroad, he is hoping to create capital for a new line of tracks he hopes to lay. In addition, he hopes to find out if his father was really at fault for a railroad tragedy that had occurred the year before, killing hundred. Needless to say, Sylas and Alexandra meet and after coming to a business agreement, it slowly transitions into one of friendship and possibly more. A few things that caught my attention. I didn't realize just how "bad-ass" Sylas apparently was in his past. There was a mention of him playing cards, but to be a "former gambler", I didn't forsee that until I just now read the back of the book once more. As for how he turned his life around, I didn't see that in the book unless I had skimmed over it too lightly to see how the story was going to end. Her relationship with her father and whatever happened to the fellow who offered to marry her? Overall I really did enjoy the book, but I felt it didn't have the same time of depth and fluidity that her previous books had. This one, I felt moved along quite nicely and then suddenly I felt myself in a rush towards the end, almost to bring all the pieces together and tie them in a nice bow. Unfortunately, I found some of the pieces less than satisfactory. Because the end of the story, those last two pages I kept flipping forward wonder where the rest of the book was hiding. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers. All opinions of this book are my own.