After the tragic death or her fiancé in a train derailment, Alexandra Donelson decides the best way to carry on David's legacy is to teach at Fiske University-- the first freedman's university in the country. When she accepts a position at Fiske and refuses to marry the man her parents have chosen for her, Alexandra finds herself penniless and cut off from her family. Spending a few days with her friend Mary Harding at Belle Meade Plantation, Alexandra meets and impresses railroad owner Sylas Rutledge.
Originally from Colorado, Sy has come to Nashville to bid on a rail project at Belle Meade, but soon realizes that he lacks understanding in Southern business practices. Finding a kindred spirit in Alexandra, Sy asks her to tutor him in order to improve his chances. Needing the extra money, Alexandra agrees to help, despite Sy's connection to the train accident that killed her fiancé. When the politics of the post-Civil War South threaten to steal Sy's investors and Alexandra's job, will they have the courage to accept the past, face their fears, and trust God's provision?
Tamera Alexander brings her Belle Meade Plantation series to a beautiful conclusion in To Wager her Heart. Though General Harding of Belle Meade does play a role, the novel primarily focuses on the formation of Fiske University and their Jubilee Singers choir. The heartbreaking challenges the freedmen experience, and the courage they show in the face of adversity is equal parts fascinating and inspiring. Alexandra's journey to overcome her fears and Sy's to accept his stepfather's death were well-written, believable, and engaging. Sy's Western charm and altruistic nature made him a one of my favorite of Alexander's romantic leads thus far... especially in his interactions with General Harding (who happens to be one of my least favorite characters). Overall, this latest installment was a fitting conclusion to a wonderful series.
I received a free copy from the publisher. No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.