Author: Tamera Alexander
Series: Belle Meade Plantation #3
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
A brilliant work of historical fiction coupled with a meant to be romance sure to consume many readers.
In 1871 Nashville, Alexandra Jamison comes from a high society family that requires her to put her family’s best interest above her own. Two of her older brothers left the state and married to get away from their father, while her third brother perished in the war. In an effort to make her own life, she fell in love with a scholar that believed in racial equality only to lose him to a train accident at Dutchmen’s Curve just outside of Nashville. Now with her father intent on marrying her to a wealthy older gentleman, Alexandra makes the decision to leave her family to teach at the freedman’s college Fisk University, but the cost is far greater than she anticipated.
Sylas Rutledge is a young railroad owner from Colorado intent on expanding his rail system by bringing the railroad to General William Harding’s Belle Meade Plantation. But he is going to have to bid against several other railroaders to win. Being in Nashville brings an emotional torment to Sylas as his father was on his final run as an engineer when he perished in the train wreck of Dutchmen’s Curve and was blamed for the incident. Intent on clearing his father’s name, Sylas attempts to track down the truth while trying to win the railroad bid. But Nashville wealth has still not fully accepted racial equality and at what cost will Sylas be willing to make to ensure he wins the railroad bid?
I’m always a little weary when I start third book in a series; however, this is a perfect example of a standalone novel that has no need of a series. I felt immediately drawn into the story and the characters. The conflict that was introduced almost immediately between Alexandra and Sylas keep the story propelling forward quickly making me want to see what the outcome would be. Alexandra has her share of hardships and I can’t begin to imagine what she (and all those who actually encountered) the Dutchmen Curve wreck. And then to have her father turn his back on her for her beliefs, which I know was not uncommon of that time period.
I immensely enjoyed the setting of Belle Meade Plantation and getting to know some of history’s supporting characters such as Uncle Bob. I also enjoyed that the author referenced other major historical events as well. I enjoy getting to research what I read as I read it. My only complaint was that the actual Dutchmen Curve wreck occurred in a different time period, which was acknowledged by the author. However, I understand that the conflict created between the characters of this even made for a terrific plot.
Highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.