Alexandra Jamison lives in Nashville Tennessee with her parents. An independent woman, her parents try to force her to marry an unappealing older man. One year earlier, her fiancé, David, was killed in a horrific train crash. David had inspired her in the love of education and education for all people. Alexandra makes a decision to teach at Fisk University, which is a school started to teach newly freed African American students. Her parents are not amused and she is kicked out of the house. Alexandra faces a brave new world on her own merits.
Sylas Rutledge is a self-made man who has come to Nashville from Colorado to not only try to make a business deal to build a new railroad to Belle Meade Plantation for General William Harding, but to also solve the mystery of the train crash one year previous. His stepfather was the engineer on the line. Along the way he meets Alexandra and is smitten. She agrees to teach him etiquette that is needed to do business in the South. Will romance bloom between these two? Will Alexandra be able to make a living as a teacher at Fisk? What really caused the train accident?
To Wager her Heart was a wonderful Christian romance. There is great chemistry between Alexandra and Sylas. I really loved the unique setting. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a historical fiction novel set during Reconstruction in Tennessee. I also have not read too many historical fiction or Christian novels that really delve into diversity and what it means like in To Wager Her Heart. It was a very intriguing story on many levels. I also greatly enjoyed the mystery of the train accident. This novel is the third volume in a series, but I read it as a standalone novel and greatly enjoyed it.
I also really enjoyed learning about the Jubilee singers as Alexandra travels around with them on tour. They were a group of amazing African American singers that toured America to raise funds for Fisk University. The most heart rending for me was one young man who kept searching for his mother that he had separated from when he was a boy and still a slave.
I also love that Tamera Alexander has a lot of background information on her website - http://tameraalexander.com. She also has great book club bonus features including that she will skype with your book club - which would be very fun!
“Every choice comes at a cost, and yours is no exception.”
“How different a man he was from what she’d first imagined at her first impression.”
“Life wasn’t all neat and tidy. Along with joy and happiness, there were bitter disappointments and heart-rending loose ends.”
Overall, To Wager Her Heart was a beautiful novel. I loved the setting, the characters, the unique story, and the romance. I loved how author Tamera Alexander brought Christianity into the story and also how she talked about diversity. I will definitely be checking out more of her books – I see she has a new Christmas book – A Carnton Christmas. I also really wanted to visit the Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville now. I think I have a new favorite author to add to my list!
Book Source: I received a copy of this book to review as part of the TLC Book Tours.