Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin
Tamera Alexander’s Belle Meade Plantation series has ended with To Wager Her Heart, and what a wonderful ending it is.
Alexandra Jamison is the only daughter of a Nashville lawyer, a descendent of one of the city’s founders whose family counts itself part of the socially elite. Though she still grieves the loss of her fiance in a tragedy from the year before, her father pushes her to marry an older widower—something Alexandra refuses to do. She wants to teach like her former love.
If the carriage parked in front of her house on Sycamore Lane–the lushly treed thoroughfare home to some of Nashville’s finest residences–was any indication, her father’s plans for her were hardly ‘escape.’ More along the lines of ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire.’ …
Which her mother would quietly support, never giving voice to her own thoughts on the matter. If she even had thoughts of her own. …
And all this, Alexandra thought, as she climbed the steps to the front porch was what a sister was for. To share all the secrets, the heartaches and fears. … But how did she do that when her parents’ hopes and plans for her life differed so vastly from her own?
To her family’s opposition, Alexandra finds her escape through the fledgling freedman school, Fisk University.
In the meantime, Colorado railroad owner, Sylas Rutledge, tries to win a contract to expand his new railroad in Nashville, never realizing the bond he shares with the intriguing Alexandra. It’s the one thing that can drive them apart.
Ms. Alexander will always be one of my favorite authors. She doesn’t hesitate to tackle less-than-cheery family issues involving marriage and parental authority, yet all through the lens of romance.
Contrary to the way the official blurb makes it seem, I didn’t really see Sy as the roguish type. He was driven to succeed, yes, but with integrity. Intense, yes, but cool under pressure. Authoritative, yes, but kind and faithful. Alexandra had backbone, which allowed her to follow her heart. She also had the compassion and intelligence to go against convention.
There was one historical issue Ms. Alexander brought up in a way that made me think she was foreshadowing a future point in the plot. I was bit disappointed when nothing happened, yet it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story she did write.
Overall, To Wager Her Heart was my favorite of the Belle Meade Plantation novels.
When you read a novel, do you mind if the author takes a little liberty with historical events?
A special congratulations to my crit partner, Heidi Chiavaroli, on the release of her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring! Check it out, y’all. You’re going to love it!