To Win Her Favor: A Belle Meade Plantation Novel
With To Win Her Favor, Tamera Alexander introduces us to new characters in the familiar setting of Belle Meade, easily allowing the novel to be read as a stand-alone. The main protagonists are Cullen McGrath and Maggie Linden, strangers forced to work together to save Maggie’s homestead of Linden Downs in Tennessee in 1869. Maggie no longer has an easy life at the time Irishman Cullen McGrath befriends her ailing father. Although Cullen, an Irish immigrant, is considered an outsider, Mr. Linden can see Cullen’s potential and solicits an intriguing contract with him: “Marry my daughter and you can have Linden Downs.”
Maggie has no wish to marry anyone, let alone a lazy Irishman, but she sees the wisdom in her father’s wishes if she wants to save her home. With slavery and racist attitudes still a painful product of the South’s way of life, Linden Downs barely has a fighting chance to survive once the crooked leaders of the town set their sights on the property. Cullen already has a target on his back as an immigrant, and his new wife has ideas of horse racing that Cullen cannot sanction for very personal reasons.
The story revolves around the blooming relationship between the newly married couple and their slow-to-ignite romance due to their mistrust of each other, but romance readers will appreciate the building tension. The novel highlights the struggles for Cullen and Maggie in overcoming the town’s prejudices as suspense and intrigue accentuate the story.
Cullen stands out as an easy hero to like, though Maggie’s sensitivity borders on selfishness as she focuses on entering her horse in Nashville’s race. The quiet undertones of a Christian message of seeking redemption while keeping the faith and surrendering to God’s will should easily satisfy Tamera Alexander’s growing fan base.