Against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent times in American history, the post-Civil War era, one woman struggles against prejudice, injustice and suffocating conventions of the 19th century to pursue her dream. Tamera Alexander’s To Win Her Favor (Zondervan/May 12, 2015/ISBN: 9780310291077/ $15.99), the second stand-alone novel in the Belle Meade Plantation series, is already receiving high praise. According to Library Journal, “Strong characters, a sense of the times and the themes of love, friendship and the importance of loyalty and determination make To Win Her Favor a triumph.”
Maggie Linden lost nearly everything in the Civil War — including most of her family. She’s about to lose her stables and land at Linden Downs and her thoroughbred racing hopes as well. A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie is determined that her mare, Bourbon Belle, will become a champion. Indeed, her only hope of saving Linden Downs is if the horse takes the top purse in the inaugural Peyton Stakes, the richest race ever run in America. To give his daughter a chance, Maggie’s wily father makes a barter. But his agreement includes one troublesome detail: Maggie must marry a man she’s never met — a man she never would have chosen for herself.
An Irishman 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 begin farming, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. With “No Irish Need Apply” signs greeting him at every turn, Cullen finds starting over proves much more difficult than he wagered. When Maggie Linden’s father makes him an offer he shouldn’t accept, he finds it impossible to refuse.
In this page-turning tale, Alexander includes revealing insights about the challenges females faced in the 19th century and the courage it took to overcome them. In marriage, women were to be passive, obedient and cooperative. But in horse racing, women weren’t even allowed to participate. White men owned the blood horses, and young slave boys were the ones who jockeyed the magnificent thoroughbreds. Women and girls weren’t allowed— at least, not without a fight.
To Win Her Favor captures a challenging and pivotal time in American history when social and racial tensions ran high in the years following the Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 granted freedom to slaves in the 10 states still in rebellion, but it didn’t outlaw slavery, nor did it grant citizenship to ex-slaves. But Freedmen weren’t the only ones who suffered enormous abuse and ridicule. Irish immigrants, like Cullen, were scorned by society and routinely ridiculed alongside Freedmen in both newspapers and daily life.
While revisiting this chapter in American history can be painful, Alexander, a Southerner herself, believes it’s important to learn what the era can teach us about ourselves and others. Her latest novel encompasses not only themes of forgiveness and extraordinary courage, but it also explores burgeoning love and the intimacies of marriage between a man and woman who didn’t choose to be together. And yet, because they hold the key to each other’s dreams, they struggle to make it work.
Alexander hopes ultimately readers will close the covers of To Win Her Favor motivated to search their own hearts in relation to prejudice and have the courage to take whatever steps are necessary toward healing the divide.
About the Author
Tamera Alexander is the USA Today bestselling author of numerous books, including A Lasting Impression, A Beauty So Rare, To Whisper Her Name and From a Distance. Her richly drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide, as well as multiple industry awards.
These awards include two Christy Awards for Excellence in Christian Fiction, two RITA awards for Best Inspirational Romance, three Gayle Wilson Awards of Excellence, two Bookseller’s Best Awards and being listed among Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction, among others.
After living in Colorado for 17 years, Alexander has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville where they enjoy life with their two adult children who live nearby and Jack, a precocious terrier.
To keep up with Tamera Alexander, visit www.tameraalexander.com, become a fan on Facebook (tamera.alexander) or follow her on Twitter (@tameraalexander) or Pinterest (tameraauthor).