Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a murdered carpetbagger, gratefully accepts an invitation from “Aunt” Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation and the dearest friend of Olivia’s late mother. Expecting to be the Harding’s housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned once again when she learns the real reason why Elizabeth’s husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Caring for an ill Aunt Elizabeth, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a southern-born son who—unbeknownst to her and everyone else—fought for the Union.
Determined to learn “the gift” that Belle Meade’s head horse trainer, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him while harboring secrets that threaten his life. As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for “betraying” the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again…
Set within the remarkable history of Nashville’s historic Belle Meade Plantation, comes a story about enslavement and freedom, arrogance and humility, and the power of love to heal even the deepest of wounds.
My Overall Feeling of the Book:
I was so excited to receive a review request for this book and I'm equally excited to share my review with you on the release date!
This book is of epic proportions. I was pulled into the world of Belle Meade and feel as if I've actually visited there.
I read that it took Tamera Alexander 2 years to research and write this book. When reading about the setting and the characters it is easy to believe. Each person, from the General to little Jolene, is given such detail and attention. I fell in love with them all.
Olivia Aberdeen: Olivia has lived a life of obedience even to the point of enduring an arranged marriage to a cruel man. Olivia is deathly afraid of horses but finds herself living on a thoroughbred farm. I enjoyed seeing Olivia transform into an assertive woman who stand up for herself and isn't afraid to take a little risk.
Ridley Cooper: Ridley is a Southern-born Yankee. He followed his convictions and fought for what he believed to be right even though his 2 brother were fighting on the other side. His determination to make it through the war and find his way to the Colorado Territory keeps him going. He is desperate to leave the South and everything in the past behind.
Uncle Bob Green: Uncle Bob is a former slave who Ridley meets in the the mountains of Tennessee during the war. Ridley and Uncle Bob form a strong bond as Uncle Bob teaches Ridley the art of training thoroughbreds. I adore Uncle Bob's character!
One of My Favorite Scenes:
There are so many amazing scenes to choose from. One of my very favorites is when Olivia and Ridley watch as Dauntless is born. It is a big turning point in Olivia overcoming her fear of horses.
A Brief Excerpt:
It was so easy for him to lose himself with her. To enjoy the moment, her laughter, her smile, and the way she sometimes look at him. And of course, he always enjoyed looking at her. He'd made it no secret that he was leaving for the Colorado Territory after the yearling sale, and she'd made it no secret that the Colorado Territory was the last place on earth she'd ever like to be.
This cover is absolutely breathtaking! The curtain frame the whole picture with the beautiful horse in the background. The dress is gorgeous and her hair is perfect! All that is missing is Ridley :)
I say that this book is epic and along with that is the fact that the book is fairly long. Almost 500 pages. It took me a little longer to read than the average book but it was WELL worth the time.
You can visit Belle Meade online at www.bellemeadeplantation.com . I got sucked in, so be careful! lol I would love to actually visit there sometime. I'll put it on my bucket list.
There are some pretty heavy issues in this book. Slavery, discrimination, abuse, murder, war, etc.
Now, for the giveaway!
To enter for a chance to win my review copy of this book:
*Mandatory- Please leave a comment telling me if you are comfortable around horses. Are you a natural born rider, a pony-ride at the fair rider or do you keep your distance? Tell me about you and horses :)
*Extra- Follow my blog and leave a comment telling me you do :)
The giveaway will run until October 29, 2012 at 11:59pm. The winner will be announced on October 30th.