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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander


To Whisper Her Name: A Belle Meade Plantation Novel by Tamera Alexander
Published by: Zondervan
ISBN: 978-0310291060
Published: October 23, 2012
Paperback, 352 pages

This 1860’s post Civil War historical novel has as its setting Belle Meade, an authentic Southern Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee, the most influential thoroughbred stud farm in American history. 

This is the story of a young, destitute widow, Olivia Aberdeen and Lieutenant Ridley Cooper, both with plenty of emotional baggage. Ridley has come to Belle Meade to learn the secrets of dealing with horses from “Uncle Bob” a former slave and head hostler there. He plans to make enough money training horses to buy land in the Colorado Territory and leave the South forever. However, he has a secret that must be kept at all cost. Olivia has accepted an invitation from the lady of Belle Meade to be the housekeeper at this prestigious estate. Olivia hopes to find peace and some security following the end of her abusive marriage to a renowned fraudster. How the lives of Olivia and Ridley overlap and converge on the Plantation is the main story, but there are plenty of sub-texts as well. 

I liked the character development of Olivia and Ridley as well as the author’s descriptions of their growing mutual attraction. Ridley and Olivia are well suited. There are funny moments in their relationship as Ridley tries to break through her ‘prim and proper’ decorum. I laughed at Olivia climbing out her bedroom window and down the trellis with her voluminous skirt tucked up into her waist. 

The descriptions of the South make the story authentic as does the language of some of the characters... "Is you aimin’ that talk my way, sir?" "Lawd, sir, you look ‘bout fancy enough to have yourself put on paper money".

I was immediately attracted to the ‘horsey’ part of the story, having been partial to them since first meeting and getting to know my brother’s Appaloosa filly, Farah. Horse lovers will thrill to the growing relationship (one step ahead, two steps back) between Ridley and Seabird, a skittish mare that he is determined to befriend. There is a delightful, moving description of the birth of Seabird’s foal.

To Whisper Her Name is an intriguing novel exploring themes such as slavery, freedom, pride, humility, justice, equality, and the power of love. And imagine - a beautiful love story without sex and violence! This is an excellent novel that I highly recommend.

This book is rated C = clean read.

Check out the the book trailer which is awesome.


The publisher, Zondervan and the author have also another six video vignettes that they filmed on location at the Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville. The brief vignettes (1-2 minutes each) give a glimpse of the history of the plantation and the story in To Whisper Her Name. They do not contain spoilers and are worth viewing. You can see them at the Belle Meade Plantation Novels page of the author's website. 

About the author:
TAMERA ALEXANDER (Nashville, Tenn.) is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose have earned her devoted readers worldwide—and multiple industry awards, such as the Christy Award, the RITA award, and the prestigious Library Journal Award. USA Today called her last book, A Lasting Impression (November 2011), "a full-on HIT." Learn more at www.TameraAlexander.com.

Reviewed by Sandra

Disclosure: Thanks to Stephanie Ridge from PR By the Book for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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