To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation, #3)
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 that the truth doesn't tear them apart first. 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. 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 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?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.

To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation, #3) Details

TitleTo Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation, #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 8th, 2017
PublisherZondervan
ISBN-139780310291084
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance, Christian, Fiction, Historical Romance

To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation, #3) Review

  • Deanne Patterson
    January 1, 1970
    Once again we are visiting the Belle Meade Plantation with this book, the third book in this series. We've come back to visit with a few familiar friends and make new friends while we are here. This historically accurate book mixes true events and places with fiction that wraps up to make this a book that you will read late into the night and it holds you captivated. I am a huge fan of historical fiction so I really appreciate the many visits the author made to Belle Meade Plantation and the cou Once again we are visiting the Belle Meade Plantation with this book, the third book in this series. We've come back to visit with a few familiar friends and make new friends while we are here. This historically accurate book mixes true events and places with fiction that wraps up to make this a book that you will read late into the night and it holds you captivated. I am a huge fan of historical fiction so I really appreciate the many visits the author made to Belle Meade Plantation and the countless hours she spent on research for this book.When I first saw the cover I have to admit I though she was in a wheelchair, that is what it looked like to me. I do believe now though that she is in a train car on Sylas Ruthledge's Northeast Line Railroad.This is master storyteller Tamera Alexander at her very best. I highly recommend it to you. Pub Date 08 Aug 2017 Thank you to NetGalley and Zondervan Fiction for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
    January 1, 1970
    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 o 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)
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  • Shantelle
    January 1, 1970
    'Twas such a lovely story! To Wager Her Heart is definitely one of my favorite novels by Tamera Alexander! I was surprised anew by her beautiful writing style and rich storytelling.With harsh reality and heartbreak, yet tenderness and fresh chances, Tamera Alexander unfolds this incredible story during the aftermath of the Civil War. Amid train accidents, bitterness, and prejudices, Sylas Rutledge, owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, and Alexandra Jamison, schoolteacher shunned by her family a 'Twas such a lovely story! To Wager Her Heart is definitely one of my favorite novels by Tamera Alexander! I was surprised anew by her beautiful writing style and rich storytelling.With harsh reality and heartbreak, yet tenderness and fresh chances, Tamera Alexander unfolds this incredible story during the aftermath of the Civil War. Amid train accidents, bitterness, and prejudices, Sylas Rutledge, owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, and Alexandra Jamison, schoolteacher shunned by her family and friends, learn to trust, love, and hope again.Sy and Alexandra were both characters I loved and wanted to cheer on. I was swept away into this story. The school for ex-slaves. Sy's work with the railroads. Alexandra's family struggles. The Jubilee Singers. The very tender love story.I thoroughly enjoyed it! To Wager Her Heart didn't leave me bored, but drew me into these unique people's lives that the author brought to life with such grace! She writes with such realness and beautiful historical detail. The story isn't perfect ... everything doesn't work out neat and tidy ... but the characters find joy and peace despite that. And that's real life!Some moments left me smiling. Others, heartbroken. Still others, laughing! And then, next, I'd be appalled and outraged by the injustice of something that happened. But through it all, there was hope for newness.So beautiful. The friendship. The faith. The romance. The healing. A very well-written historical novel. A compelling story of loss and faith. I highly recommend To Wager Her Heart!I received a copy of To Wager Her Heart from Booklookbloggers review program in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    One thing you can count on in Tamera Alexander's stories is a deep appreciation for--and attention to--historical detail. From the Fisk University (a freedmen's school) and its internationally renowned Jubilee Singers to hymn-writer Philip Bliss to the prevailing prejudices of the time, the story is rich with historical detail. While each book in the series is perfectly stand-alone, they also fit well together, dealing more pointedly with the prejudice in Reconstruction-era Nashville, while tyin One thing you can count on in Tamera Alexander's stories is a deep appreciation for--and attention to--historical detail. From the Fisk University (a freedmen's school) and its internationally renowned Jubilee Singers to hymn-writer Philip Bliss to the prevailing prejudices of the time, the story is rich with historical detail. While each book in the series is perfectly stand-alone, they also fit well together, dealing more pointedly with the prejudice in Reconstruction-era Nashville, while tying them in with the historic Belle Meade Plantation.Alexandra grows a lot during the story, both learning to find her own way and overcoming deep-seated fears and grief. Like Alexandra, I found my initial opinions of Si changing. Not that I ever disliked him, but I was impressed by how willing he was to ask for help when he was clearly a strong, self-made man. The romance is sweet, gentle, and believable as they grow into friendship and slowly evolve into romance, each helping the other pursue their dreams.Overall, it was an enthralling and inspiring story, in classic Tamera Alexander-fashion.Thank you Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free e-book; I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
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  • Dana Michael
    January 1, 1970
    This book is the final story in Tamera Alexander's Belle Meade Plantation series. It is rich in historical events that actually occurred in Nashville and Fisk University. I learned a great deal while reading this book. Things such as actual railway accidents that occurred during that time period as well as the famous Jubilee Singers from Fisk. There was also a light romance between the hero and heroine in which I really enjoyed. To me though, this book was more about the history at Fisk and the This book is the final story in Tamera Alexander's Belle Meade Plantation series. It is rich in historical events that actually occurred in Nashville and Fisk University. I learned a great deal while reading this book. Things such as actual railway accidents that occurred during that time period as well as the famous Jubilee Singers from Fisk. There was also a light romance between the hero and heroine in which I really enjoyed. To me though, this book was more about the history at Fisk and the struggles the students and faculty experienced while keeping the college afloat financially and overcoming horrible prejudices they endured. So, for all my fellow historical fiction fans, I highly recommend this book.
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  • Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
    January 1, 1970
    Tamera Alexander has been one of my go-to authors since I rediscovered my first love of reading. Everything she writes is beautiful, heartfelt, and sincere. Her books are the kind you must keep reading until you’ve savored every last word. To Wager Her Heart is no exception. (While this is the 3rd book in the Belle Meade series, each book can be read as a standalone.)Alexandra is my kind of heroine – stronger & smarter & braver than she realizes, yet still decidedly feminine. And Sy is b Tamera Alexander has been one of my go-to authors since I rediscovered my first love of reading. Everything she writes is beautiful, heartfelt, and sincere. Her books are the kind you must keep reading until you’ve savored every last word. To Wager Her Heart is no exception. (While this is the 3rd book in the Belle Meade series, each book can be read as a standalone.)Alexandra is my kind of heroine – stronger & smarter & braver than she realizes, yet still decidedly feminine. And Sy is book boyfriend material for sure with his black duster, the gun at his hip, the dog by his side, and the tender smile on his face. Not to mention those kisses. Whew! I love the nod back to Alexander’s Colorado Territory books, too, in Sy’s own roots.But even more than the romance, I love Sy’s spiritual and emotional journey over the course of the novel, as well as the rich history that the author weaves seamlessly into the fabric of the story. The Fisk University students and specifically the singers are inspiring and humbling – their courageous spirit challenging me in my own journey. The scene with the chains… y’all. I was undone. The persecution they endured on a regular basis, not to mention as they set out to gain support for their school, and their drive to learn what had previously been forbidden to them (like how to read) is something I will carry with me for a long time. Additionally, the reminder that life isn’t always tied up with a neat bow gives this novel greater dimension and grounds it even further in reality.Bottom Line: To Wager Her Heart reminds me yet again why I love Tamera Alexander’s novels. She gets to the heart of the history while maintaining the heart of the gospel. Her characters are vivid, sincere, and diverse without straying into stereotypes or losing dimension. The historical themes are compellingly timely for our current world, and the emphasis on doing the right thing no matter the cost is timeless. Go ahead and plan not to get anything else done while you’re reading To Wager Her Heart, because you won’t be able to tear yourself away once you’ve begun.(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Welcome back to the Belle Meade Plantation series! Book three centers on characters in 1871 Nashville who are new acquaintances, both who have similar struggles to achieve their dreams at the cost of great personal sacrifice. It reads well as a stand alone, with some mention of people from other books.This finely written story creatively weaves together real people and events with fictional characters, effectively dealing with issues like prejudice, overcoming fear, and walking by faith towards Welcome back to the Belle Meade Plantation series! Book three centers on characters in 1871 Nashville who are new acquaintances, both who have similar struggles to achieve their dreams at the cost of great personal sacrifice. It reads well as a stand alone, with some mention of people from other books.This finely written story creatively weaves together real people and events with fictional characters, effectively dealing with issues like prejudice, overcoming fear, and walking by faith towards God given goals. I found the history of the Fisk University Jubilee Singers, and the struggles of the freedmen to be educated, to be very inspiring. "Education is the key to unlocking not only a person's future...but to helping create a new world." Loved all the inspirational songs and hymns used in the story too, especially those of hymn writer Phillip Bliss, and the soulful spirituals the group sang: "In the morning when I rise...give me Jesus." The romance is based on friendship, developing slowly and tenderly. The story seems more character driven, with enough interaction to move it along at a steady pace.Recommend to readers who enjoy historical Christian fiction with some romance. (An e-book was provided by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
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  • Susan Snodgrass
    January 1, 1970
    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 that the truth doesn't tear them apart first. 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 Ha 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 that the truth doesn't tear them apart first. 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 fiancee—and what has broken her heart. 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 stirring love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in history when both were tenuous and hard-won.Everyone of Tamera Alexander's books sit on my shelves and I have enjoyed every single one. She writes with great depth and her historical research is impeccable. She weaves wonderful historical detail into her stories so seamlessly, that the reader (this one, anyway) must go and immerse herself in that history! I discovered several things I didn't know here in the pages of this book. The hymns written by Phillip Bliss, for instance, that I'd been singing all my life. I loved his appearance in this book. The Fisk Singers also moved me very much, especially their rendition of 'Give Me Jesus'. I could almost hear them actually singing it. This was an incredibly moving novel set in a time where the world was moving forward but still many were holding onto the old, and horrible, ways. I was moved to tears several times during the reading of it. Alexander writes with such feeling, it seeps through the words on the pages into her readers' hearts. This is one not to be missed. Nor the chocolate chess pie recipe included in the back.*I was given a preview copy of this book by the publisher. All my opinions are my own and honest.
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  • Sarah Monzon
    January 1, 1970
    My favorite thing about this book was the richness of diversity, something you don't always find in Christian fiction. And the diversity was authentic and paramount to the story, not tacked on like someone checking of a list of "things I must include in my book." The book focuses a great deal on Fisk University and the Jubilee singers and I loved being introduced to this bit of history that I didn't know a whole lot about before.Without giving away any spoilers, I think the thing I'll take away My favorite thing about this book was the richness of diversity, something you don't always find in Christian fiction. And the diversity was authentic and paramount to the story, not tacked on like someone checking of a list of "things I must include in my book." The book focuses a great deal on Fisk University and the Jubilee singers and I loved being introduced to this bit of history that I didn't know a whole lot about before.Without giving away any spoilers, I think the thing I'll take away most from this book are the things Sy learned on his journey. Not everything gets wrapped up in a pretty little bow, but we can still have peace in Jesus.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    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 super 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; RomanceRating: 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.
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  • Staci
    January 1, 1970
    As with all of Tamera Alexander's novels, I enjoyed the final book in the Belle Meade Plantation Series. To Wager Her Heart had a slightly different style than her other novels that I've read. In To Wager Heart Heart, the heroine Alexandra comes from the upper class of society and her father pressures her to marry a suitor she has no interest in. This crossroads pushes Alexandra to take a risk to become a teacher at a freedman's school.Hero Sylas is a railroad owner that isn't from the south. Hi As with all of Tamera Alexander's novels, I enjoyed the final book in the Belle Meade Plantation Series. To Wager Her Heart had a slightly different style than her other novels that I've read. In To Wager Heart Heart, the heroine Alexandra comes from the upper class of society and her father pressures her to marry a suitor she has no interest in. This crossroads pushes Alexandra to take a risk to become a teacher at a freedman's school.Hero Sylas is a railroad owner that isn't from the south. His mannerisms initially insult Alexandra.The history of the Jubilee Singers was interesting as were details about Fisk University.My gratitude to publisher Zondervan for a complimentary copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and the opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    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 outside 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.
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  • Lisa (Bookworm Lisa)
    January 1, 1970
    "When one door closes, another opens..." (Alexander Graham Bell) That is the phrase that stuck with me while reading this book. Alexandra is living in the past and not moving forward. She lost her fiancee in a terrible train accident, and hasn't been living life to it's potential.I loved the messages in this book. One is that life goes on and that there is love and joy around the corner. It comes when you least expect it. I also loved reading about the plight of the freed slaves in Nashville. Ta "When one door closes, another opens..." (Alexander Graham Bell) That is the phrase that stuck with me while reading this book. Alexandra is living in the past and not moving forward. She lost her fiancee in a terrible train accident, and hasn't been living life to it's potential.I loved the messages in this book. One is that life goes on and that there is love and joy around the corner. It comes when you least expect it. I also loved reading about the plight of the freed slaves in Nashville. Tamera Alexander does an amazing job at describing the political and social climate after the slaves were freed. I felt empathy for them and was astonished at their treatment. I knew it happened, and still does today, but to read about it and feel the emotion behind the words is a blessing for me.If you love historical Christian fiction, you should put this book on your list. It is well worth the time and effort to read.Source: I requested a review copy from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    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 w 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.You can read this review on my blog:https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...
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  • Kav
    January 1, 1970
    From time to time a book finds its way into your TBR pile that oozes special literary vibes that are hard to ignore. It looks good, it feels good -- it even smells good! And it clamors for attention until you pick it up and open the cover. And once you do -- there's nothing for it but to surrender to the beguiling story within. To Wager Her Heart is just that kind of novel. It's a story that feeds a reader's heart, mind and soul.The romance is deliciously sublime. Sy is the kind of all-encompass From time to time a book finds its way into your TBR pile that oozes special literary vibes that are hard to ignore. It looks good, it feels good -- it even smells good! And it clamors for attention until you pick it up and open the cover. And once you do -- there's nothing for it but to surrender to the beguiling story within. To Wager Her Heart is just that kind of novel. It's a story that feeds a reader's heart, mind and soul.The romance is deliciously sublime. Sy is the kind of all-encompassing hero that causes heart flutters and spine chills. He's purposeful in every thing he does. He's kind and sees deep into another's needsand then quietly goes about providing them. He's gallant with Alexandra even when she snubs him but relentless in his pursuit anyway. She's buried her heart with her fiance and panics when Sy starts to bring it to life again. Definitely an exquisite love story!I love the way Alexander incorporates real people and events from history into her stories. Her research is meticulous and I always come away having learned something new. This Canadian had never heard of Fisk University or the Jubilee Singers and I am woefully uneducated when it comes to the Reconstruction Era. Some startling facts merge with fiction leaving me breathless and aching. Harsh reality comes into sharp focus because history isn't always kind and taking a hard look at injustices from the past is difficult to do. But so necessary!So I finished this read a little battered and bruised. But hopeful too. Because Alexandra's and Sy's story celebrates the joy that comes in the midst of sorrow when you have the courage to place your faith wholly in the Lord. "You see, I believe that if the Lord tells me to jump through a wall, it is my part to jump -- and the Lord's to put me through it." (p 250) Facing fears, finding courage, being true to yourself and standing strong for justice -- these are just some of themes that make To Wager Her Heart such a memorable...and mesmerizing...novel. An incredible addition to Tamera Alexander's Belle Mead Plantation series.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. It’s no secret that I just enjoy Tamera Alexander’s writing. Her thorough research shows in the rich historical details of her stories and this book is no exception. The plot was very quiet, with little to no action, no OP drama, and no OTT plot devices of any kind. People might have found this a little slow and boring, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. The message of this story really resonated with where I am in life right now. We can try our best and leave the rest to God, feeling peac 3.5 stars. It’s no secret that I just enjoy Tamera Alexander’s writing. Her thorough research shows in the rich historical details of her stories and this book is no exception. The plot was very quiet, with little to no action, no OP drama, and no OTT plot devices of any kind. People might have found this a little slow and boring, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. The message of this story really resonated with where I am in life right now. We can try our best and leave the rest to God, feeling peace that His grace is sufficient for us. The h was a little annoying in her unreasonable blaming of the H for what his stepfather may or may not have done. I didn’t like that about her, but I did like the other aspects of her character: her willingness to serve, her readiness for introspection, and her ability to admit when she was wrong. The H was lovely, and the romance, while understated, was sweet and realistic. The way that the MCs showed their feelings for one another in steadfastness was convincing and wonderful. I’m sad to say goodbye to the Belle Mead world, but am looking forward to the Carnton series.
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  • Molly Cafinated Reads Jaber
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a fan of Tamera Alexander's ever since I read her book, Inheritance. She captivated me with that book and I would read anything of hers blindly! I was super excited to take part in being able to review this newest release, the  third book in her Belle Meade Plantation series. Let me tell you what! I had so much fun reading this book. I loved the detail she incorporated into the story and the characters she created owned me while I read this book! It did not take me long to read it, I I have been a fan of Tamera Alexander's ever since I read her book, Inheritance. She captivated me with that book and I would read anything of hers blindly! I was super excited to take part in being able to review this newest release, the  third book in her Belle Meade Plantation series. Let me tell you what! I had so much fun reading this book. I loved the detail she incorporated into the story and the characters she created owned me while I read this book! It did not take me long to read it, I was that engrossed in it.  I love historical novels set around during, beginning and end of the Civil War. Ms. Alexander created this particular story post- Civil War and really made me feel a part of the time period. I could picture the clothing perfectly as the characters wore them, and the scenery was vivid in my mind. I adored Alexandra and Sylas' characters! Both were seeking a path in life that was their own and no one elses. Watching Alexander break away from her controlling father and seek a love that her heart wanted, was incredibly wonderful! Having dealt with a somewhat controlling mom a time or two, I could really feel my heart being tugged by Alexandra. The interactions between Sylas and Alexandra really popped in the story and I loved watching them together. I could see the sparks of interest literally fly off the pages! This story of following your own heart, seeking the true path that God has laid out for oneself was really soul capturing for me. Each page turn brought something new to the book and I thoroughly enjoyed it all. This trip to the Belle Meade Plantation was definitely not my last! I can't wait to go back and grab a copy of the rest of the books in the series. If you are looking for a fun, soul grabbing story rich in history (I loved learning about Fisk University!) and detail, and characters that come to life, then this book is definitely for you. Be warned! This 5 star novel will keep you so engrossed you will forfeit the rest of your adulting duties! Hats off to Ms. Alexander on an incredible new book! I can't wait to read another amazing novel by you! This review was originally posted on Cafinated Reads
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    I was almost finished with this book before I realized why parts of the story sounded so familiar. A couple months ago, I had read a children's book about the Jubilee Singers with my students. Once I made that connection (with some help from Tamera Alexander) the grand picture just fell into place. I did not know Fisk University was in Nashville and the historical connection there. As always, Alexander does a wonderful job weaving the historical details in with her characters. The history is not I was almost finished with this book before I realized why parts of the story sounded so familiar. A couple months ago, I had read a children's book about the Jubilee Singers with my students. Once I made that connection (with some help from Tamera Alexander) the grand picture just fell into place. I did not know Fisk University was in Nashville and the historical connection there. As always, Alexander does a wonderful job weaving the historical details in with her characters. The history is not overwhelming and the romance is not overwhelming. In this novel, we see the tremendous character growth of Alexandra. Initially, I did not like her at all. I liked the minor characters way more. But as she grew, she grew on me. I enjoyed seeing Sy's character get more fleshed out. Several of the minor characters are historical figures, and Alexander did her research to portray them accurately, flaws and all. One of my favorite aspects of this novel was the topic. I read a lot of Civil War and reconstruction fiction. And I have noticed a romanticized view of the South leading to the prejudices being glossed over. The prejudices and injustices of a culture built on the backs of slaves is pushed to the side a little. It's not in this book. Years after the end of the Civil War, prejudice still abounds. And it's central to this novel. I appreciate reading a novel that shows that more realistically than many. This was a fantastic end one of my favorite series. The series does not have to be read in order, but all the books are a good read. Thanks to Netgalley and Publishers for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.
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  • Emilee
    January 1, 1970
    This book is lovely and has historical insights that I truly enjoyed.
  • Just Commonly
    January 1, 1970
    "At twenty-Five, she'd expected to be beyond all this. But life hadn't turned out at all as she'd expected." (2)As I dive into Tamera Alexander's latest release, To Wager Her Heart, I am once again reminded by the beauty of Tamera's writing, the visualization of her words of the setting, and a story with a message that leaves a mark. "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.." (293)It is a story of "At twenty-Five, she'd expected to be beyond all this. But life hadn't turned out at all as she'd expected." (2)As I dive into Tamera Alexander's latest release, To Wager Her Heart, I am once again reminded by the beauty of Tamera's writing, the visualization of her words of the setting, and a story with a message that leaves a mark. "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.." (293)It is a story of dreams, of our plans versus God's plans for us, the timing of it all and just giving it to our Lord Jesus. How perfect and how it applies a century ago as it does today, To Wager Her Heart is historical in genre, but the message of love and God's plans are timeless.". . . that dream of yours will end up contributing to other people's dreams . . . which, frankly is the only kind worth pursuing." (99)"Is the Lord leading me to do this? Because if the answer to that question is yes, then you and I have no choice but to do His will. We are the clay, after all. And he is the potter." (252)Yes, the message is worth remembering, but I also enjoyed learning something new. I was quite enamored with the historical background of Fisk University and the Jubilee Singers and how the author tied it into the story of Alexandra's dreams. Diversity is still a topic that creates tension at times, and one can imagine what it was like in the 1800s. Then we have the backdrop of the railroad set in the beautiful town of Nashville, and fans of historical fiction are in for a treat. Not only, wonderful characters line To Wager Her Heart from page to page, adding in humor as well as a good dose of wisdom and reality. "I'm married . . . but I've still got the eyes the good Lord gave me." (165)"Dogs love you even more than they love themselves . . . without their saying a word, you can read everything they're feeling just by looking in their eyes." (138)Finally, lets talk about Sylas - Sy. "Tall, dark . . . and a little dangerous." (63) He is the perfect hero. Flawed and loaded with a bit of life and wit. His romance with Alexandra was slow burning, and I just love it. Sometimes, the romance needs time to develop, even for us readers that love a good love story. Then there are those we want a good fight, knowing that nothing else matters."He determined in that moment. . . he would find a way to win Alexandra's heart. Even if he had to wager everything to do it." (230)Either way, if you're like me that enjoys a story that not only give you romance, but a certain hope that warms your heart, and well-rounded, yet not necessarily perfect, To Wager Her Heart is it. Like any good story, To Wager Her Heart is profound in its depth of life and message, rich in its details, both historical and in plot, and beautiful in its deliverance. And I hope you'll take the chance to wager your reading time on it. This review first appeared on Just Commonly blog. Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.Please note, all quotes are taken from ARC (essentially an uncorrected proof). Please do not share quote or if do, please make note that it is taken from an ARC.
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  • Clara
    January 1, 1970
    This book. It's poignant. It's relatable. It's beautiful. And it's immensely satisfying.The historical events are very well researched and enrich the setting of the story. The pace is perfect. The characters are endearing. The journey is gut wrenching and humbling.Alexandra Jamison has grown up in a respectable and wealthy family. However, she wants to do and be more than just a pampered heiress. She's not afraid of embracing the changes overcoming society and putting her head to work to give he This book. It's poignant. It's relatable. It's beautiful. And it's immensely satisfying.The historical events are very well researched and enrich the setting of the story. The pace is perfect. The characters are endearing. The journey is gut wrenching and humbling.Alexandra Jamison has grown up in a respectable and wealthy family. However, she wants to do and be more than just a pampered heiress. She's not afraid of embracing the changes overcoming society and putting her head to work to give her outmost best when needed.However, her strong personality doesn't mean she doesn't falter when challenges appear. No, she will question, fear, and doubt. Good thing, though, that the author has surrounded Alexandra with wonderful characters who encourage, challenge and uplift her. And Who will unexpectedly fight for her and warm her heart the most will be the "wild and untamed sort of man" Sylas Ruthledge. Many times when reading a historical novel, what makes my heart hurt the most is the simple fact that, while most characters might not be real, the events surrounding their lives and evoking their feelings are true. But, among this dark time, with traits that unfortunately can still be seen today, the light shown in people who search for truth and freedom shines so strongly, with such an unwavering hope, that once you finish this story, you can't help but still believe in possibilities, in goodness. If we would just persevere and turn to the One who never disappoints. Tamera Alexander gently and compassionately showed that we are all the same and capable of accomplishing the same conquests. We all fall short from holiness, but we are all worthy of forgiveness. There is no excuse of treating one unfairly and without gracefulness. But oh the blessings that come from a cause that's not much about us and our profit, a cause that can first seam like walking on nothingness,but, in truth, you'll soon find out its filled with purpose and you are standing on a firm Rock.**Many thanks to the publisher for providing me a copy through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review
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  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    It has actually been a very long time since I've read a Christian historical with the railroad as a backdrop. Remember the Ribbons of Steel series by Judith Pella and Tracie Peterson from literally 20 years ago? I'd forgotten about those stories until I read To Wager Her Heart and was reminded how much I like the stories of the iron horses of yesteryear.To Wager Her Heart has an authentic feel to it. Even though it is set years after the end of the Civil War, its affects were still felt and are It has actually been a very long time since I've read a Christian historical with the railroad as a backdrop. Remember the Ribbons of Steel series by Judith Pella and Tracie Peterson from literally 20 years ago? I'd forgotten about those stories until I read To Wager Her Heart and was reminded how much I like the stories of the iron horses of yesteryear.To Wager Her Heart has an authentic feel to it. Even though it is set years after the end of the Civil War, its affects were still felt and are tangible in the story. From stifling humidity to a run-down army barracks turned college, to the town mercantile, Tamera Alexander presents a raw setting in old Nashville. Alexander also creates believable and characters who are easy to relate to. A great setting and well-rounded characters can be difficult to find in one book, but thankfully this author's experience with the pen allows her to gift we readers with both!To Wager Her Heart is part of a series, one of the previous books I've read and one I have not. Even if you haven't read the other books, following along with this historical romance shouldn't be a problem. The ending leaves a little bit to be desired in that it seemed very rushed and forced, especially as to the dilemma that Sy faced with his railroad and his investor. Even with that, the resolution to Alexandra's story is sweet and hints at a HEA or at least a HFN. Note: Some of the language used in the book is offensive, but unfortunately authentic to the time. ~ My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ~*I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*
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  • Kellyn Roth
    January 1, 1970
    I was very disappointed by this book. I'm settling with three stars for now, but with a leaning towards two. Perhaps 2.5.The ending was rushed. Several plot lines weren't resolved. I felt that the heroine went from still being in love with her late fiance to suddenly being engaged to marry the hero in a flash. Much was skipped over - them becoming engaged and ... I don't know, admitting their feelings for each other? It was pretty terrible.Also, I found it very disappointing that the whole affai I was very disappointed by this book. I'm settling with three stars for now, but with a leaning towards two. Perhaps 2.5.The ending was rushed. Several plot lines weren't resolved. I felt that the heroine went from still being in love with her late fiance to suddenly being engaged to marry the hero in a flash. Much was skipped over - them becoming engaged and ... I don't know, admitting their feelings for each other? It was pretty terrible.Also, I found it very disappointing that the whole affair with the railroad wasn't resolved at all when it was built up on so much. It was practically a mystery, with people being secretive about it and all ... and it was just left hanging. *growls* I know it was a historical event which the author had to be accurate about, but ... no. She should have left it out of the story if she wasn't going to complete it.Honestly, I'm just super disappointed with how this series ended, especially from an author who has been a favorite of mine. I have no doubt that her next book will be amazing. :)~Kellyn Roth, Reveries Reviews
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  • Rebekah Gyger
    January 1, 1970
    I love how much history Tamera manages to stick into her stories without making them read like a textbook. It is fantastic and is the main reason that I still love to read her books all these years after I first discovered her work. I have found that a sadly large number of Historical Romances today are more romance, with barely any "historical", where as Tamera balances the two to create a more filling love story.Sy and Alexandra's relationship starts off heated to say the least, but time and I love how much history Tamera manages to stick into her stories without making them read like a textbook. It is fantastic and is the main reason that I still love to read her books all these years after I first discovered her work. I have found that a sadly large number of Historical Romances today are more romance, with barely any "historical", where as Tamera balances the two to create a more filling love story.Sy and Alexandra's relationship starts off heated to say the least, but time and forgiveness eventually brings them together. But far more interesting (at least to my history loving heart) was their interactions with the railroad and Fisk University. Though I live in Knoxville and have taken courses on Southern History, I had not heard of there being a freedmen's school in Nashville so soon after the war.One thing that I wish had been addressed is some of the darker emotions that were held by many of the South's freedmen. All of these characters in the novel are extremely forgiving and resigned to suffer underneath the continued oppression they suffered even after emancipation. While this grace is heartwarming, it is also a little unrealistic. I would have liked for at least one character to lash out or at least to display some pent-up anger.Still, this is a relatively minor complaint compared to all that Tamera did well. I am happy to recommend this book and eagerly await her next novel.I have provided an honest review after having received an ARC from the author and publisher.
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  • Lucy
    January 1, 1970
    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 a 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.
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  • Tima
    January 1, 1970
    Alexandra has been in mourning and almost driftless since she lost her fiance in a train wreck. She's been unable to make sense of his death and is now afraid to ride on a train after witnessing the collision. Sylas has left Colorado and come to Nashville to bid on a railroad project. He's not exactly comfortable in the genteel southern society and asks Alexandra to coach him on the southern customs, especially business deals. This was a fascinating story. The author drew so much from history a Alexandra has been in mourning and almost driftless since she lost her fiance in a train wreck. She's been unable to make sense of his death and is now afraid to ride on a train after witnessing the collision. Sylas has left Colorado and come to Nashville to bid on a railroad project. He's not exactly comfortable in the genteel southern society and asks Alexandra to coach him on the southern customs, especially business deals. This was a fascinating story. The author drew so much from history and it actually felt like I'd stepped back in time to experience the same things with the characters. The story came alive with her visual descriptions. The characters were authentic and had such depth; they were relatable and likeable. I loved the story of faith and love that was woven so intricately throughout the book. While flawed, the characters had real relationships with Jesus and this shone through. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book if you enjoy history, clean romance, inspiration stories, or just a well written story.I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.
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  • April
    January 1, 1970
    4+ Stars Alexander has once again written a historically rich, beautiful and evocative tale! Fans of historical fiction and of the series will enjoy curling up with this one. Alexander takes readers into the the time, place and experience of those at Fisk University and the Jubilee Singers; really it is but a taste of what they experienced and most likely felt, but worthy reading all the same. While there is a bit of romance to this tale with Sy and Alexandra, really this story reads as more of 4+ Stars Alexander has once again written a historically rich, beautiful and evocative tale! Fans of historical fiction and of the series will enjoy curling up with this one. Alexander takes readers into the the time, place and experience of those at Fisk University and the Jubilee Singers; really it is but a taste of what they experienced and most likely felt, but worthy reading all the same. While there is a bit of romance to this tale with Sy and Alexandra, really this story reads as more of a historical account of the times and the strides, victories, and tragedies found in it. Well written, with moments of insight and inspiration this is one to add to your read list. On another note, I always look forward to reading her Author's note section to learn more about the actual history/people her novel is based upon. I hope to explore these places for myself one day. While this was not my favorite of the series, there is much to recommend it.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    I love when a novel brings history to life. This was definitely the case in this novel. I'd had no idea (to my own shame, really) about Fisk University nor the Jubilee Singers prior to reading this book. I liked that a lot of the characters mentioned by name were actual people who participated in the Jubilee Singers group!I also liked how Sy and Alexandra's relationship grew from initial distrust, to friendship, which then grew to be more. I really appreciate when authors take the time to let th I love when a novel brings history to life. This was definitely the case in this novel. I'd had no idea (to my own shame, really) about Fisk University nor the Jubilee Singers prior to reading this book. I liked that a lot of the characters mentioned by name were actual people who participated in the Jubilee Singers group!I also liked how Sy and Alexandra's relationship grew from initial distrust, to friendship, which then grew to be more. I really appreciate when authors take the time to let their characters grow to love each other in a natural way, rather than an 'insta-love' kind of thing.I think my favourite thing about the book, though, was the faith element: how Sy and Alexandra each learned to trust God's leading in their lives, no matter the cost, and how they could sing with their whole hearts: "Give me Jesus . . . You can have all this world, but give me Jesus".
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  • Lori Parrish
    January 1, 1970
    Tamera may I say that you've really made my heart sing with this one!! I have learned a lot through reading about Alexandra and Sy's story. There is one quote that really stands out. It's when Mr. White is leaving Alexandra some advice that I really took to heart. He says" It's your decision to make but remember that there are dire consequences and Alexandra soon found out what they were!!! Oh my what a brave lady!! I admired her for following her heart and stepping in the right direction!! God Tamera may I say that you've really made my heart sing with this one!! I have learned a lot through reading about Alexandra and Sy's story. There is one quote that really stands out. It's when Mr. White is leaving Alexandra some advice that I really took to heart. He says" It's your decision to make but remember that there are dire consequences and Alexandra soon found out what they were!!! Oh my what a brave lady!! I admired her for following her heart and stepping in the right direction!! God was working on her then and even more so through out this beautiful story! When the Jubilee singers were singing their songs I imagined myself for being there and actually hearing them and it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck!!! I love a good concert don't you? Especially gospel? I even closed my eyes and swayed with the singers. I think I could hear God talking to me through them!!! I learned a few more things like I never knew about Fisk University. It's truly amazing where anyone can just say hey I"m going to make this a school no matter what it used to be and be determined to do it. President Spence has such a negative impact. In a way I guess I can understand but at least if it didn't work out they had the guts to try. It's the Lord's will.I enjoyed this story so much!! It's usually the last book in the series that is the best one. I also enjoyed the noted that Tamera had in the end of the story and how she mixed fact with fiction. I think this is the real reason I love historical fiction. I truly feel blessed when I'm allowed to read and review the author's stories! I love to help them promote their books. The Lord is good is He not?
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  • Joelle
    January 1, 1970
    Sweet, but dissatisfying. It’s not as meaty as her other books.
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