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 could help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing forever.
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. 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 inaugural Peyton Stakes, the richest race ever 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.
Tamera Alexander is one of the authors who rekindled my interest in reading years ago. With every new book I read of hers, she does not disappoint. And I can honestly say, that this book did not disappoint.
To Win Her Favor is a historical romance/drama fiction that takes place after the civil war in Nashville, Tennessee. Maggie, a young woman and horse rider, has lost most of her family—mainly due to the war, and only has her father left, who is near death. They risk losing their estate, due to financial struggles, but her father comes up with an idea that could prevent that from happening, which is for Maggie to marry someone who she not only knows, but no one would expect her to marry: Cullen McGrath.
Throughout the story Maggie and Cullen face several challenges, personal, societal, and even financial, that in a way forces them to settle the differences they have between each other and become close. In the end, I like how Maggie comes to realize her own prejudices and learns to put herself in others’ shoes, so much so, that she even considers stepping away from the one thing that is important to her—racing her horse.
The one negative thing with this book was the detailed romance scenes between Maggie and Cullen. Had this book not been labeled as Christian fiction, I believe it wouldn’t be a problem, since they were not what I would consider graphic. But I know the scenes will be unsettling for some. For me, I think the story would still have been good without them. But despite that, I can say that Tamera’s writing gets better—more real, each time a read a story of hers. I felt like I was watching a movie and I like how she weaved “wisdom” or “life lessons” throughout.
I would recommend this book, especially to those who like historical American fiction that includes a little bit of romance.
3.5 out of 5 stars. Due to the detailed romance scenes and also because I felt the story became somewhat predictable in the end. I confidently knew how things were going to turn out. That may or may not be a bad thing for some.