This book comes out tomorrow! Guys, this it so exciting!
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.
My Thoughts: 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.