"To Win Her Favor" by Tamera Alexander is a novel in the "Belle Meade Plantation" series. This was my first book by this author, and it was a wonderful first impression! The characters were likeable, and the plot felt like it could be a TV series because it kept going on and on, but not in an oh-my-goodness-when-will-this-ever-end type way. I didn't get tired of the characters; they were continually growing and maturing, and learning to relate to others better. This quality made me want to stick around through their adventures together.
Maggie Linden is a southern girl who loves riding horses and lives alone with her father. She wants her horse to become a championship racer, but her family's plantation is quickly going under due to taxes. When an Irish man moves to town and is scorned by society, Maggie's father takes him under his wing, and offers the farm to the Irish man, Cullen McGrath, if Cullen will marry Maggie. Maggie is prejudiced against the Irish in the south, and at first does not like him. Eventually, through her father's declining health, taxes on the farm, and other various issues, Maggie learns to respect and love Cullen, and let prejudices towards servants and those of different heritages fall by the wayside. I really enjoyed watching Maggie grow in these areas.
Cullen McGrath has immigrated to America to escape a stain on his past that was not his fault. He faces hatred from the Tennessee community into which he has settled, and is still recovering from the grief of his wife and three-year-old daughter's passing on the ship to America. When Mr. Linden offers Cullen the administrative opportunity of a lifetime, to start over in America, Cullen agrees, even though it means marrying a woman who has no respect or interest in him. Can he win his second wife's love and respect?
I really, really enjoyed this book! As mentioned earlier, I loved the characters, and they drew me into the story and plot which just kept going and going. That isn't a compliant though! I wanted to stay with Maggie and Cullen as long as I could. I also loved the messages about acceptance and forgiveness, and the historical details of the horse racing that Maggie loved. This was a well-researched, well-written novel that I would recommend to older audiences. I will be looking for more from this author!
Thank you so much to Zondervan and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own, and I really liked it.
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