Friday, May 1, 2015
To Win Her Favor- Tamera Alexander
Description: A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who can help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing for good.
An Irish-born son far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He’s come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and start a farm, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he’d wagered, especially when Maggie Linden’s father makes him an offer he shouldn’t accept yet cannot possibly refuse.
Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the annual Drayton Stakes at Nashville’s racetrack––the richest race run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance, and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder, Maggie’s father––aging, yet wily as ever––makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail––Maggie must marry a man she’s never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.
Cullen and Maggie need each other in order to achieve their dreams. But their stubborn, wounded hearts––and the escalating violence from a "secret society" responsible for lynchings and midnight raids––may prove too much for even two determined souls.
My Thoughts: To Win Her Favor is amazing. I have been a fan of Tamera's for a while now, but I have to say that this is probably my favorite of hers. (Did I mention that I am pretty sure this book ties back to Within My Heart?)
Tamera obviously likes to deal with tough situations and characters who have suffered much. To Win Her Favor is one of the most difficult so far, dealing with the racism of the South towards both African Americans and Irish immigrants. If you have a weak stomach for violence, I would not necessarily suggest this book, as it deals with lynchings and other heinous acts. What built up this book for me, though, was the characters' courage and faith through these situations.
While an unfortunate truth of the past, it was refreshing to read about a heroine who (in the beginning) believed most of the racism she had been brought up in. It gave me a good sense of just how much she had grown through the book and made the hero all the more likeable since he was able to put up with her prejudices.
As other reviewers have pointed out, there is a good bit of reference to the enjoyment of marital intimacy, and a few scenes that end with the strong implication of sex (though there are no actual sex scenes). For this reason, I would not suggest the novel for younger readers or those who take issue with sort of content. Since I read an ARC, I am not sure if this has been toned down in the final copy.
I received this book through Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.