To Wager Her heart by Tamara Alexander


I have enjoyed every book I’ve read by Tamara Alexander so I always look forward to her latest offering. If asked which is my favorite, I would probably say, “the one I just read”. That would be an absolutely true statement about “To Wager Her Heart”, the final Belle Meade Plantation novel.

As a fellow Tennessean, I love that this author has chosen to write about Nashville’s history. Although I am from west Tennessee, I have visited Nashville several times and find its history quite interesting. It is so gratifying to find myself in the middle of a engrossing novel only to realize how much true history is woven so seamlessly into its plot. I do love learning this way.

With strong primary characters who were easy to admire, an intriguing plot, a bit of mystery, a touch of romance, and a huge dose of Nashville history, this book keep me reading until the wee hours. I particularly liked reading about the history of Fisk University and its Jubilee Singers. A compelling message of faith is deftly incorporated throughout the story without being overbearing. It was encouraging to read about how prayers were answered even during the most seemingly hopeless situations.

I could go on but I fear I might reveal too much. Needless to say, I highly recommend “To Wager Her Heart” for all who love historical fiction. In my opinion, this is a must read.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Amazon Vine. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams—provided the truth doesn’t tear them apart first.

Seeking justice . . .

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville’s society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancé—and has broken her heart.

Struggling to restore honor . . . 

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But family—and Nashville society—do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.

Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy’s roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.

Set against the real history of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a stirring love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in American history when both were tenuous and hard-won.


Mandy Whitley Photography

Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers in the historical fiction genre. She and her husband live in Nashville, Tennessee, not far from the Southern mansions that serve as the backdrop for six of her award-winning novels. For more about Tamera’s books, visit




Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall


Third and final book in Cindy Woodsmall’s The Amish of Summer Grove series, “Gathering the Threads” left me satisfied yet wanting more. I would be quite happy to continue reading about Ariana, Quill, Skylar, and all the other fine characters from this series but all good things must end so I look forward to whatever new series this author has planned for her readers.

As the title suggests, in this powerful conclusion all the threads come together to present the completed story, including all the secrets and even a few surprises. I liked the way Ariana questioned her parents while remaining respectful of them. Quill continued to be a favorite as he has been from the very first book of the series. Needless to say, I have hoped he and Ariana would eventually find themselves to be more than friends. I also loved watching each of them mature in their faith despite (or because of) the difficulties they faced. It was also gratifying to see the effect certain revelations had on the community. In my opinion, “Gathering the Threads” turned out just right.

I hope you will pick up a copy for yourself soon but if you haven’t read the previous novels of this series, I would suggest reading them first. I loved this series and highly recommend it.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author, Cindy Woodsmall and Waterbrook/Multnomah. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.

Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.


Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the Foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family.



The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck


I have long been a fan of Rachel Hauck’s books so I was eager to read “The Writing Desk”. At first I had difficulty getting into the story  but I’m still not certain why it started out so slowly for me. Nevertheless, I knew something good was waiting for me so I persisted and soon found myself totally immersed in the stories of both Tenley and Birdie.

Tenley is probably one of the most unique characters I’ve encountered. Her insistence on practically living in a man’s robe, not to mention failing to shower or comb her hair was just a bit over-the-top. Yet Jonas Sullivan and his family’s total acceptance of Tenley as she was eventually made a difference in her attitude. Tenley’s story was connected to Birdie’s by the writing desk used by both women and by the end of their story, readers will learn how closely the connection really was.

The book is populated with several strong characters who each add a special touch to the total story. The plot does not always move in the expected direction but takes a few twists and turns that might surprise the reader. I particularly liked how Tenley’s relationship with her estranged mother developed and was happy to see forgiveness play out on the pages of the story.

All-in-all, I thoroughly enjoyed “The Writing Desk” and would recommend it for adult readers. It is a clean story but it does mention lifestyle elements that some might find offensive. Be sure to read other reviews if you suspect you might be one who might take offense.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Amazon Vine. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a new captivating novel of secrets, romance, and two women bound together across time by a shared dream.

Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.


Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author.

She is a Christy Award Winner and a double RITA finalist. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Club.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, and a former sorority girl, Rachel and her husband live in central Florida. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Visit her at or




The Captivating Lady Charlotte by Carolyn Miller


A Regency romance with a touch of suspense, “The Captivating Lady Charlotte” has everything I look for in a novel. This particular book contains an unexpected twist that made it even more enjoyable for me. Quite often the young lady has her future husband chosen by her parents despite her attraction to another man. Charlotte’s story does not play out quite as I supposed it would but that’s all I have to say about that. You must read this most excellent novel to find out for yourself.

I really did love this book. Although Charlotte was a bit immature and flighty at the beginning, she eventually began to grow in both maturity and spiritual understanding so I liked her character much better by the end. William was an excellent hero – quiet and somewhat brooding but with a heart for the Lord. It was also such fun to see how he handled others, especially Charlotte’s mother, so tactfully yet forcefully. It was also nice to see Nicholas and Lavinia taking a prominent role in the story.

Well written with a strong plot and realistic characters, this novel beautifully illustrates the real meaning of true love. A touching story that explores deep emotions, it is one that will take its place on my keeper shelf.

The second book in Carolyn Miller’s debut series, “The Captivating Lady Charlotte” reinforces my determination to read every book this author releases. I eagerly anticipate the release of her next novel, “The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey”.


I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Kregel Publications. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


Her heart is her own–but her hand in marriage is another matter

Lady Charlotte Featherington is destined for great things on the marriage market. After all, as the beautiful daughter of a marquess, she should have her pick of the eligible nobility when she debuts. She, however, has love at the top of her list of marriageable attributes. And her romantic heart falls hard for one particularly dashing, attentive suitor. Sadly for Charlotte, her noble father intends her betrothed to be someone far more dull.

William Hartwell may be a duke, but he knows he was Charlotte’s father’s pick, not the young lady’s own choice. And the captivating Lady Charlotte does not strike him as a woman who will be wooed by his wealth or title. While she has captured his heart, he has no idea how to win hers in return–and the betrayal and scandal his first wife put him through makes it difficult for him to believe that love can ever be trusted. His only hope is that Charlotte’s sense of responsibility will win out over her romantic notions.

Can a widowed duke and a romantically inclined lady negotiate a future and discover love beyond duty? Will they be able to find healing and hope from the legacy of grace? Poignant and charming, this is another beautifully written, clean, and wholesome Regency romance from Carolyn Miller.


Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.Find out more about Carolyn at


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