Book Review: To Whisper Her Name

Book Review: To Whisper Her Name

About the Book:

Set against the backdrop of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation, one of the most influential thoroughbred stud farms in America’s history, To Whisper Her Name is a story about leaving the old and beginning the new, and about the choices we make that echo for eternity.  It’s about enslavement and freedom, arrogance and humility, and the power of love to heal even the deepest wounds.

Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts and invitation from “Aunt” Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation.  Expecting to be the Harding’s head housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned when she learns the real reason Elizabeth’s husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming.  Not finding the safe haven she expects, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a Southern man who seems anything but a Southern gentleman.

Branded as a traitor by some, Ridley Cooper, a Southern son who chose to fight for the Union, is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him.  Determined to learn “the gift” that Belle Meade’s head horse trainer and former slave, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley harbors secrets that threaten both their lives.

About the Author:

Tamera Alexander (Brentwood, TN) is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose have earned her devoted readers worldwide – and multiple industry awards, such as the Christy Award, the RITA award, and the prestigious Library Journal Award.  USA Today called her last book, A Lasting Impression (November 2011), “a full-on HIT.”  Learn more at www.TameraAlexander.com.

My Thoughts:

While I thoroughly enjoyed Tamera’s western novels, set in the Colorado territory, I was hesitant to pick up a book about the South.  I’m simply not a fan of books that lean into a period of war.  Most often I find such books to be less than objective.  Yet, in To Whisper Her Name I found a beautiful balance of dealing with both history and personal choices with respect, where the war was an essential element of the story, but it did not “steal the stage” from the overall storyline.

The characterizations were superb.  Alexander really let you see underneath Olivia’s actions to the battle going on in her heart.  Ridley, my favorite character, also presented a rich and full picture of a man fighting an internal battle.  I loved how the author displayed Ridley’s longing for respect from a father figure and the role that humility plays in becoming a man who garners that type of respect.

Further, I loved the horses.  It’s no secret that horses were one of my earliest passions and that I studied all about thoroughbreds before I moved on to Arabians.  The horses were another aspect of this book that impressed.  Beautifully crafted into this novel, the situations of the horses reflected the personalities and challenges of the main characters.  Seabird was wounded and afraid like Olivia.  Jack Malone stood tall, proud and more than a little arrogant, not unlike Ridley.  In a subtle masterpiece of storytelling the horses and characters were woven together to give depth to the overall tale.

I’d recommend To Whisper Her Name.  It was an excellent novel.

Thanks to Stephanie at PRbythebook for sending me a free copy of this novel for review in exchange for my honest opinion.