Reviewed by Charity Lyman
To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander is now on my Top 5 list for this year. I would have a hard time picking another book to put above this one. Alexander is one of my favorite authors but I think this time she outdid herself with a marriage of convenience plot. This novel is book two in the Belle Meade Plantation series and would be best read in order. You could probably get up to speed if you haven’t read book one but Alexander’s books all follow a theme or plot line that might make it hard to just jump right in.
For the characters in this story, life centers around one of the biggest plantations of the 19th century in Nashville, Tennessee. The owners, Mr. Linden and his daughter, Maggie, are losing the farm and desperate to get the help they need to save it. When an Irish buyer comes around, Mr. Linden does what seems crude and thoughtless to his daughter and proposes a swap of sorts. Mr. Cullen McGrath may purchase the land with the stipulation that he must marry Maggie. Thus starts McGrath’s uphill battle of trying to win Maggie’s favor and make it a real marriage, not just one of convenience.
My absolute favorite character out of any Tamera Alexander book would have to be the hero in this story, Cullen McGrath. Irish born, he is just my type of knight. No, he doesn’t arrive in shining armor but he is protective, hard working and extremely patient. Maggie is a stubborn petite young lady who is innocent and always sure that she knows what is best. At times I felt a little reluctant to like her but I knew where her heart was. There are some scenes in this book that portray a husband/wife relationship and I am sure some will disagree with their inclusion, but I think the author does a good job of saying things without actually saying them. These scenes add so much to the story and are written well from a Christian perspective.
One of the things that really clicked for me in this book was the history. I never realized how much the Irish were looked down upon, almost to the point of being like dogs, but Tamera clearly shows how it was back then. Not only were they not given jobs but they were run out of towns, not allowed to own land, etc. I guess it is something I hadn’t seen before so my eyes were opened as I read. I loved the horse racing of former days and it plays a big part in this novel. Definitely a 5 star rating from this reviewer!!
Charity lives in Illinois and is the oldest of 6 children. The family also has 3 dogs and a cat. Reading is a hobby when not cooking, baking, sewing or enjoying music. She reads many different genres but Christian fiction is a favorite. Charity can be found often at her blog, Giveaway Lady.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Zondervan. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.