Book Reviews

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 dreams – provided the truth doesn’t tear them apart first.

Seeking justice . . .

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 fiancé–and has shattered her world.

Struggling to restore honor . . .

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 powerful love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in American history when both were tenuous and hard-won. It’s Tamera Alexander – impeccable historical research and heart-gripping fiction – at her best!

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**

5 Star

Tamera Alexander’s novels are certainly listed among my favorites simply for the rich historical tapestry that she weaves behind the stories. To Wager Her Heart captures a fascinating glimpse of time when freedman schools were not widely accepted and the railroad was still booming.

In this particular novel, I just adored the characters. Alexandra Jamison is probably going to be a favorite heroine for a while—she grows so much in the novel! And Sylas Rutledge is an all-around good guy who is a bit out of place in genteel Southern society. The way the stories of these two characters twist together makes for a great plot that is sometimes sweet and other times funny.

I was impressed with the glimpse of history as I walked the streets of Nashville with these characters. And then, as I learned more of the “behind the scenes” of the book and the history that really is captures in these pages, I was blown away. There are a lot of details brought to life in these pages, making this a wonderful book.

While this is the third book of the Belle Meade Plantation novels, it certainly can be read at any point. It could be considered a standalone novel. But regardless if you decide to just pick this one up right away or prefer to read them in order, this is a book that I can highly recommend.

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