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. But he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra’s fiancé and shattered her world.
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?
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.
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The unlikeliest of allies, Sylas and Alexandra both find themselves ousted from society. While Sylas wishes to restore the dignity of his family name, Alexandra seeks to assert a life free of the expectations of hers. Their partnership is tenuous at first, but the mutual attraction and respect flourish in to a relationship that takes them and readers on a journey of growth and resiliency. Though this is primarily a historical romance novel, there are themes and conversations-particularly around race and social justice-that are relevant for today’s societal climate. The rich contextualization of the post-Civil War south paired with the indelible characterization that is a signature of Tamera Alexander’s novels guarantees that To Wager Her Heart is a nuanced read for faithful fans and new readers.
**Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**