Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander (Review)

Christmas at Carnton Tamera AlexanderA novella to launch a brand new three-book series . . .

In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son. About to be evicted, she sees an advertisement for the Ladies Aid Society Auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity. And friendship. But can she trust him? Is Jake Winston the man he appears to be? Having lost everything once, Aletta is determined to guard not only her own heart, but also her son’s.

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffers a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Ladies Aid Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.

Set against the backdrop of the real history of Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored . . . at Christmas.

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I’ve lived in Franklin, TN for several years. Twice every Sunday morning, I drive past the turnoff to the Carnton Plantation. I’ve visited once—last year when my brother and his family were in town. Walking through the home, hearing the stories as you travel from room to room, gives visitors an idea of the family and people who once resided there

Tamera Alexander takes it a step further and invites readers into the home, inviting them to join in the day-to-day life of the household. History is brought to life through her stories.

Christmas at Carnton is the perfect introduction to her new series as we meet the McGavock family.

When Aletta Prescott loses her job and is about to lose her help, she makes a trip to the Carnton home in hopes of securing temporary employment. On her way out, she encounters Jake Winston, a wounded Confederate soldier sent to help Mrs. McGavock and the Ladies Relief Society. The last place Jake wants to be is in the midst of a bunch of females, but one in particular just might change his mind.

Christmas at Carnton Tamera Alexander

 

This is a reminder of how God can take the worst of circumstances and not only turn them around, but give us more than we can imagine or know to ask for. Set during the Christmas season—a time that reminds us of what God gave up for us—this novella embraces the reader with heart and hope.

I’m looking forward to seeing where Alexander takes her readers next.

My Rating:

If you’d like to learn more about the history of Carnton, click here.

 

I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. 

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander (Review)

To Wager Her Heart Tamera Alexander

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With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams—provided that the truth doesn’t tear them apart first. 

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville’s society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancee—and what has broken her heart. 

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But family—and Nashville society—do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both. Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy’s roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor? 

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it. 

Set against the real history of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a stirring love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in history when both were tenuous and hard-won.

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Book Convention Survival Tips (with book giveaway)

Jesus calls His followers to be lights in the midst of darkness. If you’ve ever been to (or thought of going to an ABA book conference), the darkness is rampant.

During the first week of May, I got to hang with other readers at the RT Booklovers’ Convention in Atlanta, GA. This convention moves every year, and in 2018 it will be in Reno, NV. But despite the ever-changing city, the crowds flock to this convention for the parties and opportunities to meet with their favorite authors.

 

I’m by no means an expert at book conventions but this was my second RT (I went to Vegas for my first RT in 2016) and I thought I’d pass along some tips and hints to make the trip more enjoyable and worthwhile.

And if you hang with me until the end of the post, I’m doing a BIG giveaway for fans of Christian fiction (with multiple winners)!! Believe me, you’ll want to stick around and enter!!

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To Win her Favor by Tamera Alexander

To Win Her Favor cover

Maggie Linden loves her home, her father, and her horse but is about to lose them all. With her father’s failing health and the threat of losing their beloved home looming close on the horizon, Maggie’s only hope is for her thoroughbred, Bourbon Bell, to win some races. But when the horrors of the world strike, and her jockey and his family leave, Maggie has little hope.

When Cullen McGrath, an Irishman recently arrived from England, arrives in Nashville, he finds he’s as unwelcome as the recently freed slaves. No one will do business with him, give him a loan, or sell him their property. He visits Linden Downs and Maggie’s father makes him a generous offer—one he is hard pressed to refuse. Pay the back taxes on the property and marry his daughter and the land and everything on it is his.

This is my favorite book by Tamera Alexander yet. There are so many themes running throughout this book—a father’s love for his daughter, prejudice against people who are different, trusting a virtual stranger with your future and your dreams—and each and every one of them is handled well. Both Cullen and Maggie are likable characters despite their flaws (Maggie has been sheltered in her world and blind to the plight of others around, even to the point of prejudice only because of what she’s read and heard from other people. Cullen is bound and determined to leave his past behind, even if it means crushing his new wife’s talent and dreams). The supporting characters are given as much attention to character development as Cullen and Maggie which gives more depth to the story. And, as always, characters from Alexander’s other books make cameos—which I always enjoy.

I’ve been to Belle Meade once, when I first moved to Nashville. After reading To Win Her Favor, which brought the people and land to life, I’m ready for another visit.

Available everywhere May 12

****Zondervan Fiction provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Historic Nashville Romance

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Like many others who live in the area, I am a transplant to Nashville, TN. I have lived here sixteen years this summer but never attended elementary or secondary school here so, while I am familiar with many of the historic sites around the area, I don’t actually know a lot of the history. I feel like I learned a little more about my new home (and Belmont Mansion) when I read Tamera  Alexander’s second stand alone novel in her Belmont Mansion series, A Beauty So Rare.

 

Eleanor Braddock’s world is changing. Her father’s illness has caused her to make some hard decisions, including how best to care for him, and relying on her aunt, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, to support her. Eleanor has not disillusioned about her future, she knows she is not beautiful, and at thirty, will not find a husband. But Eleanor has a dream that she would like her aunt to help her with. That dream morphs into something much bigger than Eleanor, or her aunt for that matter, could ever imagine. Marcus Geoffrey is a man who wants to escape his past, and his heritage, a man who wants to make his own way. Marcus is a very handsome man who is used to women falling over themselves to be near him, but has never had a friendship with a woman. He is intrigued by Adelicia’s niece who is not taken in by his looks upon their first meeting.

 

Eleanor Braddock is most definitely someone the reader cheers for. You ache for her as she is dealing with her father, and love her for serving those less fortunate, you want her to find true happiness. Her dislike of pink and her forthrightness make her that much more loveable.

 

Alexander does a terrific job of weaving fiction with history in A Beauty So Rare (absolutely love the title of this book, by the way) and I was quickly engrossed in the story. Once I met Eleanor and Marcus I didn’t want to put the book down until I found out how their stories ended. And now that I’ve finished the book, I keep thinking about them, and want to go back and re-read parts of their story. That is always a sign of a good book for me. Stay tuned this month for more exclusive content from the author of A Beauty So Rare

 

 

****Bethany House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any way for either a negative or a positive review.