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