This is the first Tamera Alexander book I have had the pleasure to read. I found her writing has a very easy style with just enough detail to establish a rich setting and create a lighthearted and yet moving tone. Since I am very interested in Civil War, and any fiction set in the period, I had to check this out. I am glad I did.
The war has been over a year when Ridley Cooper fulfills a promise to himself. He has wanted to return to Nashville, to the scene of an eventful moment in the war for him, to learn from a man who has a unique gift with horses. Cooper arrives on the Belle Meade thoroughbred farm the very day that Olivia Aberdeen flees her abusive and shame-filled past and finds refuge with the Mistress of the plantation. Veiled in a tight cocoon of propriety to shield herself from a world that has turned on her, Olivia displays a cool formality toward a slightly tousled and casual Mr. Cooper. But when a mishap places her at his mercy, he proves himself kind and helpful, and her starch begins to loosen ever so slightly. And she soon realizes she can use every friend she has.
The Master of Belle Meade, General Harding, presents a stalwart and imposing figure, and declares Olivia his ward to marry off at his discretion. And society has shunned her for the sins of her late husband. So Ridley Cooper's unconventional and easy going nature becomes just the balm to her beleaguered soul. And it doesn't hurt that he's easy on the eyes, once he cleans up. Turns out he is also very bright and ambitious, and as he advances in her heart, he also receives promotion on the farm.
Without giving away too much of the plot, this long novel explores the various societal changes brought about by the war, from racial stereotypes to gender roles, and even regional prejudices. It is apparently part of a series set in Nashville, and touches on the beginnings of the Ku Klux Klan, though that issue was never resolved in this book.
I enjoyed the minor characters such as the head hostler, the medicine woman Rachel, and young Jimmy. The supporting cast added depth and warmth to the story. And the romance was sweet and had a few memorable moments such as the lattice scene and the pony cart.
All in all, a nice story with a rich and fascinating historical background.
Olivia is a widow of the worst kind in the city of Nashville following the Civil War that divided a great nation. Her husband, Charles Aberdeen is a traitor to the South, and Olivia is forced to live with the repercussions of his actions when the townspeople murder him and leave her completely destitute in the world. Having nowhere else to go, she packs up and heads for Belle Meade Plantation. Her mother's best friend, Elizabeth Harding welcomes her with open arms, even though the General reluctantly extends his generosity to the shamed widow.
Ridley Cooper made a difficult choice when as a son of the South, he donned the blue uniform of the Federal Army. Shunned by his family for the impossible choice he had to make, he is left with nothing after the war sweeps away everybody he loves. Determined to learn the skills of Belle Meade's horse trainer, he seeks a measure of peace for himself and desperately wants a new life out west. But the dangerous secrets he harbors threaten his plans for the future, namely, a certain widow. Will Olivia be able to accept who he is and where he is going? Or will the shadows of the past blind them both to the future that may await them?
Facing a book this size was a little daunting. But the more I read, the more I was immensely grateful that the author took the time to bestow us with such a stunning story of betrayal, faith, hope, and ultimately, love. I have read many a story of the aftermath following the Civil War. But this novel was a treasure to read, breathtakingly accurate in its depiction of historical detail. I enjoyed every second I spent with this book. The characters will draw you to the story, and the plot keeps your mind in Alexander's re-telling of the past even when you don't have the book in your hands.
A copy of this book was provided for free from Zondervan Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
TO WHISPER HER NAME by Tamera Alexander is an exciting inspirational historical romance. Set to the backdrop of the historic Belle Meade mansion,a Thoroughbred stud farm in Nashville, Tennessee and post Civil War. Follow,a Southerner,who fought for the Union, Ridley Adam Cooper and widow Olivia Aberdeen on a journey of healing and love. Filled with inner turmoil, secrets,horses,horse trainer,thoroughbred horses, enslavement,humility,healing,forgiveness,betrayal,freedom, arrogance,Nashville history,faith,and the power of love. If you enjoy history,horses,Nashville in the 1860's,romance,you will definitely enjoy this title. Written with historical facts,engaging and unforgettable characters, to the backdrop of post-Civil War. A powerful,although, heart wrenching,and stirring story. A must for anyone who enjoys a lesson in humility,the power of love and healing. Another hit for Ms. Alexander. She always captures the heart and soul of her characters and leaves her readers spellbound. Received for an honest review from the publisher. Details can be found at the author's website,Zondervan, and My Book Addiction and More.
HEAT RATING: SWEET
REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews
I have enjoyed all of the author's previous titles, especially her Colorado historicals, but I have to say, this latest Southern antebellum novel in "To Whisper Her Name" evoked a love for southern fiction I didn't know I possessed.
The novel is rich and to be savored. I read the story slowly, not because it didn't thoroughly capture my attention, but only because it didn't feel right to blaze through for the sake of simply reading. I fell in love with the characters as they fell in love with each other. Something I think only an excellent author can accomplish over nearly five hundred pages.
There is a tapestry of love and grace and finesse through every single page that brings the characters and reader together, directly into the heart of the story. There was no doubt the place I sat while I reading this story: the veranda of the Belle Meade.
Olivia and Ridley are dynamic characters. The Belle Meade a place of rich extravagance. The voice of the novel a gripping delicacy. Description doesn't rule the novel, which is one thing I appreciated about it_I saw the characters interacting with their surroundings and it worked. Every single word of this novel simply_worked.
I'm impressed, grateful and eager for the next novel in this Belle Meade series. A well-crafted work of fiction!
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.