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To Whisper Her Name

Title:  To Whisper Her Name:  A Belle Meade Plantation Novel
Author:  Tamera Alexander
Pages:  473
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Zondervan
                The setting for this novel is an absolutely breathtaking plantation just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.  The time is spring 1866, shortly after the Civil War.  However, as we know from history, the states were far from united at this point with bitterness and hatred abounding on both sides of the conflict.  Belle Meade is the name of the plantation and it surely is a “beautiful meadow” as aptly described by the author.
                Ridley Cooper is still dealing with guilt from the war.  He is from South Carolina, but fought for the Union.  His father disowned him and cursed him on his deathbed with Ridley there to witness it.  His two brothers fought for the Confederacy and both died in the war.  Ridley knows he wouldn’t have chosen a different side, but he is still haunted by the cost to him and his family.  He arrives at Belle Meade with a plan to quickly learn the horse training business, and then head out to the Colorado Territory to improve land he has bought.  He only plans to stay for a couple of months, and then move on.  To get a job here he must keep his military service for the Union a secret as the owner of Belle Meade was a general for the Confederacy and is very much against anything “northern”.  Ridley soon learns there is a lot more to horses than he thought.  He also begins to understand his wooing of his skittish horse is a lot like wooing a certain skittish woman, Mrs. Olivia Aberdeen.  He must earn her trust, but how can he do so when he is hiding part of his identity?
                Olivia Aberdeen is a young widow, who married a truly deceitful and abusive man.  He cheated southerners who were trying to rebuild their homes and as a result met a very public and violent end.  Most of the townspeople think Olivia knew what her husband was doing so they revile her as well.  She has no money, no home and no plans to support herself after her brother-in-law kicks her out of her home.  She writes to her mother’s best friend, trying to obtain the position of housekeeper.  She is accepted and leaves for Belle Meade.  Olivia has always been deathly afraid of horses as she had an accident when she was young involving a horse, so she is very nervous arriving at a horse farm.  She would be happy to never marry again, but knows that she is too young and will be married off as soon as her period of mourning is over.  She meets Ridley and finds him attractive, but keeps her distance.
                The story drags and not a lot happens.  I’ve read all of this author’s other books and found them to be really good and entertaining, but this one I struggled with.  The detailed descriptions of the scenery and horses are wonderful, but I thought the romance dragged on too slowly.  I also really enjoyed the character of Uncle Bob…what a wise man!  I’ll be looking for her next book and plan to read it.  Hopefully, it will be on par with her previous books.
                My rating is 3 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

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