Stories of strangers getting married for convenience are among my favorites. They always have so many obstacles to overcome as they learn to trust, learn to love. To Win Her Favor is one of these and author Tamera Alexander excels at showing readers the depths of her characters’ emotions as they work to accept and embrace their situation.
Set in Nashville just after the civil war, this is the story of Margaret Linden, aka Maggie. She and her father are about to lose the family farm and everything on it, including Maggie’s beloved thoroughbred racehorse, Bourbon Belle. Enter Cullen McGrath, an Irish immigrant who lost his family to typhoid. Grieving, he longs to make a fresh start. But no one will sell land to the Irish. Maggie’s father sees beyond Cullen’s country of birth, however, and comes up with a plan to solve both problems. Desperate to save her home and her horse and to comfort her aging father, Maggie agrees to this “business arrangement.”
As a story, as an historical novel delving into the painful issues of the day, this novel was brilliant. I just kept reading. I was uncomfortable with the acceptance of horse racing, though. Alexander made it clear that gambling is an addiction that causes much pain, but validated the sport itself –to an extent. But the money “earned” through winning the race comes from the gamblers, so I was uncomfortable seeing the sport glorified. I do realize, however, that it was a part of Nashville’s history. Alexander gives readers an honest glimpse into the reality of that developing society. She gave me a lot to think about.
Fans of historical fiction will love this book. I received my copy from Zondervan in exchange for this honest review. I’m looking forward to baking Aunt Issy’s Lemon Cookies!