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 powerful love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in American history when both were tenuous and hard-won.
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.
Seeking justice . . .
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 shattered her world.
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.
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. AMAZON 4 STARS
I liked that their romance was more a slowly developing friendship that went deeper. It didn't start out that way because Alexandra had some reasons to not want any part of him or railroads. But she begins to see him as he really is. He doesn't match up with her preconceived ideas.
Another person that I couldn't help really loving was Alexandra's room mate, Ella. She added so much to the story.
This book also is not afraid to mention God in it and people's reliance upon His help as situations keep coming up.
While this story might not be something everyone enjoys, to me it was a worthwhile read.
I want to mention that some of this story does have a basis in fact and I appreciate the author including that information at the end of the book. There are also other resources mentioned in her Author's Note. One of those is that you can also go to her website and get more information there as well.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley and this is my honest opinion of it.