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.
Read on for my review of To Win Her Favor and information about a great giveaway happening in connection with this book’s release.
The second book in the Belle Meade Plantation novels takes us to neighboring property, Linden Downs. Times are hard and, like many families in the post-war south, Maggie Linden and her father are in danger of losing the family farm. Maggie has a plan to save the property, but time isn’t on her side. Furthermore, her father is ailing and he wants to leave her with some kind of security. I can only presume it’s why he includes her in his offer to someone he’s only just met. Despite decreasing fortunes, Maggie lives a life of privilege: she doesn’t know what it’s like to go hungry, and she’s never visited the slave cabins her ancestor built. In contrast, Cullen has come from nothing and, even with money in his pocket, faces discrimination at every turn. He probably has more in common with the freedmen of Nashville than with Maggie and her friends.
To Win Her Favor is a lovely mix of drama and romance, set during a time of change and confusion. The Civil War was over, the slaves were all free, and many southerners found their lives being challenged in ways they’d never thought. Some adapted well to the changes, but some didn’t and the novel includes atrocities committed by the newly formed Klu Klux Klan. To this group, the Irish were only different from slaves in terms of color. Against this backdrop, two people must make a marriage work in order to save a farm which provides jobs for the freedmen and their families. Sparks fly between Maggie and Cullen, and they aren’t always of the romantic kind!
While this is the second book in the series, it isn’t necessary to have read To Whisper Her Name first (although you may want to anyway). Those who have read it, however, might recognize some familiar names. Bob Green, the famous head horse trainer of Belle Meade assists Maggie with her horse, and General Harding, the real owner of the plantation at the time, also reappears.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and Zondervan for my complimentary review copy of To Win Her Favor, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Do you plan to read To Win Her Favor? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Zondervan (a division of Harper Collins)
Publication Date: 12 May 2015
Page Count: 384