Tamera Alexander is another favorite author I discovered this year. Her second novel in the Belle Meade Plantation series, To Win Her Favor, kept my mind contemplating what was happening with Maggie and Cullen as I worked throughout the day. Once when walking with my husband, I was tempted to discuss their troubles when I realized he would just smile about how I get wrapped up in these people who aren’t real. LOL
Whatever the time, I always learn while reading historical fiction. This novel got me thinking about several different issues. I hadn’t realized that the Irish were persecuted in the south along with the freed Negroes so learning this was eye opening. I also found it interesting to read a story from the perspective of an arranged marriage from both the bride and groom’s points of view. My heart went out to little, brave Kizzy, a former slave, who must decide if she’ll live her dream or succumb to her fears of a white bully. Maggie has to wrestle with her own fears of losing her dream and overcoming prejudices/sheltered living and shame caused by her circumstances. Cullen, with his secrets, struggles with sharing the truth in the face of losing everything. Weaving in actual Nashville history and people into the novel is another aspect that attracts me to this series.
Alexander could write novels about Kizzy and about Maggie’s friend, Savannah. I certainly wanted to learn more about these characters’ lives.
Tensions are high in this novel, especially between the hero and heroine, but also with the Ku Klux Klan spreading terror. The sizzling chemistry was tastefully written. I always enjoy watching characters fall in love and overcome obstacles. In Christian fiction, I savor how God is intertwined in the story and how the characters grow in their faith. I appreciate how Alexander wove this naturally throughout the story.
Another touching part of this love story is the love and respect that Maggie and Cullen each felt for Maggie’s father. Cullen’s determination to live up to his promises is an endearing trait.
To Wager Her Heart, the third book in this series, released in August. These books tie in with the Belle Meade Plantation. The main characters in each are not connected so reading them out of order would still make sense, though certain characters may mean more by reading them in order. I’m sure I’ll be searching for the next book soon.
If you enjoy historical romance, I hope you’ll check out To Win Her Favor. Let me know your thoughts!
At the end of the book, there is an old fashioned lemon cookie recipe. We baked them and can testify that they are delicious.
To Win Her Favor was published by Zondervan.