Book Review: To Win Her Favor

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Tamera Alexander has long held a place on my list of favorite authors. It was one of her novels that made me a true fan of inspirational fiction. Whenever she releases a new book, I’m excited to meet another set of her engaging characters. To Win Her Favor was no exception.

This is the second of the Belle Meade Plantation novels, but I wouldn’t call it a sequel. It could easily be read without any knowledge of the first book, To Whisper Her Name. Some of the characters from To Whisper Her Name do get mentioned in To Win Her Favor, though, so if you’ve read the first Belle Meade book, it gives the second that much more depth.

The story follows Maggie Linden and Cullen McGrath, two individuals from opposite worlds but with similar spirits. Both are struggling to make their dreams a reality, without success. Then they’re thrown together in an arrangement that could either save or ruin them. Neither is thrilled by the circumstances, or the outlook of their future, but can they find a way to work things out?

(There are very slight spoilers below, but most of them are revealed on the back cover anyhow 😉 Proceed.)

Cullen and Maggie are both strong, fiery characters, with their fair share of merits and flaws. Personally, I sympathized a bit more with Cullen. It took me a little longer to connect with Maggie, but after getting to know her, I was cheering her on, too. There’s a lot of tension between the two of them, and it was fun to read a story where love takes time and effort rather than happening at first sight.

{I will pause to mention, since most of the plot unfolds between married characters, the romance is less reserved than it typically is for inspirational books. It wasn’t enough to deter me from reading To Win Her Favor, and I would still recommend it to more mature readers. Since I’ve seen other reviewers who were shocked by this element, though, I wanted to give a fair alert. This has been a public service announcement.}

To Win Her Favor

The contrast between Cullen and Maggie’s backgrounds brings greater depth to the story, beyond just romance. I was especially interested in how the novel explores some of the social issues of its time period. Although we’re far past 1869, the themes of prejudice and judgement are not so far removed from the struggles we face today.

The story is completed by a varied and vibrant cast of secondary characters. Their mixture of personality and purpose creates the feel of a Southern community. (At least, my imaginings of one. I have yet to travel that far south.)

Setting plays a great part in this story, from the post-Civil War time period, to the rich backdrop of Tennessee and the hints back to Ireland. Tamera is so skilled at painting a scene with words like brushstrokes. From her vivid descriptions, I could see the spanning plains and wide porches. As the book progressed, I was drawn further in to the setting, until opening each chapter felt like coming home.

At times, the story can be a little slow-paced, but I was never bored while reading. This was the sort of book I’d like to read on a porch while sipping sweet tea. It avoids being dull without becoming too intense. Since I read a lot of fast-paced, adrenaline-laced books these days, I enjoyed having a more relaxing read, and one that still captured my heart.

If you’re searching for a sweet, ultimately heart-warming story to read this summer, pick up a copy of To Win Her Favor. I’m confident it will win your favor, as it did mine!

I received this book from the publisher for free, in exchange for my honest review. 

What are you reading this summer? Leave the titles or names of your favorite authors  in the comments! 🙂

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