To Whisper Her Name
Alexander’s latest romance is set on the Belle Meade stud farm near Nashville just after the end of the Civil War. Ridley Cooper comes to the plantation to learn horsemanship before heading out to the Rockies to start his own farm; he conceals the fact that, although a Southerner, he fought on the Union side against slavery. He meets Olivia Aberdeen who, embittered by her late husband’s cruel treatment and his betrayal of the Confederacy, has accepted a post as companion at Belle Meade despite her fear of horses.
Smooth, sparkling dialogue and likable characters make this novel a pleasant read, and Alexander provides plenty of plausible conflicts to draw the reader onward. Olivia’s and Ridley’s spiritual growth is sketched with a skillful hand, and their relationship proceeds agreeably from the initial physical attraction to a true partnership based on respect, commitment, and friendship.
The historical elements are convincing, my only objection being costume-based. The running gag about Olivia’s bustle is improbable, as the bustle was not in fashion as early as 1866, and it is difficult to reconcile the scenes where Olivia climbs out of a carriage window and, later, down a trellis with the crinoline and crotchless underwear of the era. These cavils do not detract from my overall enjoyment of the story.