About the book:
A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who could help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing forever.
An Irishman far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He's come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and begin farming, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he'd wagered, especially when Maggie Linden's father makes him an offer he shouldn't accept yet cannot possibly refuse.
Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the inaugural Peyton Stakes, the richest race ever run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance---and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder---Maggie's father, aging, yet wily as ever, makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail---Maggie must marry a man she's never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.
I had a harder time getting into this one, but ultimately it was one I enjoyed.
Maggie wants nothing more than to race her horse and save her family farm. Cullen want to reclaim his life and hopes to do so in Nashville. The two come together in a way neither ever imagined when Maggie's father agrees to sell Linden Downs, only on the condition that he marry Maggie. Each is desperate to fulfill their dreams and agree to the proposition.
Post-Civil War Nashville is full of people trying to recover from the devastation of war. I love the horse racing aspect and the strength of Maggie to stand up for her right to have a female jockey race her horse. I loved that Cullen stood up for the same thing, and stood up to those who tried to shut him out and destroy his livelihood.
I appreciated the examination of racism and its consequences: the formation of the Ku Klux Klan and their accepted atrocities toward blacks and the treatment of the Irish who came to America to escape the potato famine. I know these things still happen today and it just breaks my heart at the level of intolerance that has plagued this country for so long. But, the exploration here was terrific.
Part of the Belle Meade Plantation series, but the story stands alone just fine.
Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Tamera Alexander here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.
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