Ridley Cooper fought in the Civil War, but he fought for the North even though he was from South Carolina. While on a scouting mission he came across Robert Green, a black man hiding some horses for General Harding. After leaving Robert Green, Ridley is captured and sent to Andersonville Prison, a place known for its cruelty and harsh conditions. But when the war is over, Ridley seeks out Robert Green at Belle Meade Plantation (known at Belle Meade as Uncle Bob) in order to learn from him and then move on to Colorado.
Olivia Aberdeen is a recently widowed woman who is going to live with her “aunt” at Belle Meade Plantation after she was humiliated by her husband in his betrayal of the South. Scorned and embarrassed, Olivia is also a proud woman who insists she knew noting of her husband’s dealings.
When Olivia reaches Belle Meade, General Harding asks her to be a companion to his wife, Elizabeth, as her health continues to fail. While it is not what she expected to be doing, Olivia is happy to oblige and makes it her goal to strengthen Aunt Elizabeth. As time goes on, Olivia finds herself secretly teaching at a Freedman’s school and finds such pleasure in doing so and in seeing the happy smiles on her students’ faces.
Ridley works hard to learn from Uncle Bob, but finds he is lacking in the patience needed to work with high-spirited horses. He continues to work on the ranch but finds it harder and harder to hide his past from the General. In the meantime, he finds himself falling in love with Olivia…but he knows that she will never leave the South and he must.
Olivia and Ridley have both dealt with many issues, but have both found themselves at Belle Meade in an effort to find a way to move on with their lives. Olivia hopes to just find a way to get through each day and possibly gain some of her reputation back, while Ridley is seeking to learn about horse training from Robert Green. Even though the plantation is very large, Olivia and Ridley continuously cross paths. Ridley shows Olivia how to work through her fears and Olivia helps Ridley to realize that he’s not in such a hurry to leave the South for Colorado.
I have always loved Tamera Alexander’s novels. She has a way of weaving a tale so that you think you know what will happen, but with every turn of the page you learn something new. In To Whisper Her Name, the characters continue to change and evolve and we can easily see the change in their hearts and their beliefs. What I like most about it is that the change of heart (for each of them) doesn’t happen from one chapter to the next. It happens slowly, as the book unfolds, which makes it more believable to me.
Another aspect that makes this book all the more interesting is that the setting and characters are based on real people. This is the kind of historical fiction I love and I hope we will see more coming from Belle Mead Plantatio in the near future!
Also by Tamera Alexander: A Lasting Impression
Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Zondervan. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.