Olivia Aberdeen finds herself widowed and destitute; her husband murdered. She's been extended an invitation to come live with "Aunt" Elizabeth Harding, her mother's best friend and the mistress of the renowned Belle Meade Plantation. Olivia wonders what role she's expected to take once she arrives. Although she expects to be the housekeeper, she instead finds herself caring for "Aunt" Elizabeth. While on the plantation she runs into a southern born son, Ridley Adam, who secretly fought in the Union. Why does Olivia feel so attracted to Ridley Adam and will he ever really notice her?
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The setting for this novel is an absolutely breathtaking plantation just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. The time is spring 1866, shortly after the Civil War. However, as we know from history, the states were far from united at this point with bitterness and hatred abounding on both sides of the conflict. Belle Meade is the name of the plantation and it surely is a “beautiful meadow” as aptly described by the author. Ridley Cooper is still dealing with guilt from the war. He is from South Carolina, but fought for the Union. His father disowned him and cursed him on his deathbed with Ridley there to witness it. His two brothers fought for the Confederacy and both died in the war. Ridley knows he wouldn’t have chosen a different side, but he is still haunted by the cost to him and his family. He arrives at Belle Meade with a plan to quickly learn the horse training business, and then head out to the Colorado Territory to improve land he has bought. He only plans to stay for a couple of months, and then move on. To get a job here he must keep his military service for the Union a secret as the owner of Belle Meade was a general for the Confederacy and is very much against anything “northern”. Ridley soon learns there is a lot more to horses than he thought. He also begins to understand his wooing of his skittish horse is a lot like wooing a certain skittish woman, Mrs. Olivia Aberdeen. He must earn her trust, but how can he do so when he is hiding part of his identity? Olivia Aberdeen is a young widow, who married a truly deceitful and abusive man. He cheated southerners who were trying to rebuild their homes and as a result met a very public and violent end. Most of the townspeople think Olivia knew what her husband was doing so they revile her as well. She has no money, no home and no plans to support herself after her brother-in-law kicks her out of her home. She writes to her mother’s best friend, trying to obtain the position of housekeeper. She is accepted and leaves for Belle Meade. Olivia has always been deathly afraid of horses as she had an accident when she was young involving a horse, so she is very nervous arriving at a horse farm. She would be happy to never marry again, but knows that she is too young and will be married off as soon as her period of mourning is over. She meets Ridley and finds him attractive, but keeps her distance. The story drags and not a lot happens. I’ve read all of this author’s other books and found them to be really good and entertaining, but this one I struggled with. The detailed descriptions of the scenery and horses are wonderful, but I thought the romance dragged on too slowly. I also really enjoyed the character of Uncle Bob…what a wise man! I’ll be looking for her next book and plan to read it. Hopefully, it will be on par with her previous books.
Widow to an abusive husband and traitor to the South, Olivia Aberdeen has no option but to trespass on the hospitality of the Hardings of Belle Meade until she is married off again to secure financial gain for her guardians. Ridley Cooper, a South Carolina man, fought for the Union and is on his way out to homestead in Colorado, but before he goes he wants to learn how to handle horses like the horse whisperer Robert Green - head hostler of Belle Meade plantation - does. The two end up working together, he as foreman and she in charge of ordering goods for the entire farming operation, but no one but Bob Green knows of Ridley's allegiances, least of all Olivia, who hopes to remarry a well-respected Southern man when the time comes.
I love long books - and this one is nearly 500 pages - as there is so much time to develop characters, plot, setting, etcetera. Perhaps the story moves more slowly, but it feels so much richer. There is time to establish the characters' personalities and struggles, time to grow gradually so that it's realistic, not just BAM they have an epitome and change. There is time to win the reader over, even if the characters are not likeable in the beginning.
Honestly, I am frustrated with Ridley's arrogance and impatience when he first begins training with Uncle Bob. The chip on his shoulder turns me off, and his impatience hits close to home. However, while he never loses his boldness, the arrogant edge is smoothed off, and impatience no longer cripples him. I might still question his tact, but we're none of us perfect, not even at the end of a romance novel. Olivia has nearly the opposite problem - free thinking, hopes, dreams, preferences - it has all been beaten out of her so many times that she struggles to step outside absolute propriety or even voice an opinion slightly contrary to that of others. Like the horses she so fears, she shies away people again and again until they have finally earned her trust. As she is given more responsibilities and opportunities to fight her fears, she blossoms into a confident young woman who is able to make her own choices.
Compared to other books, not a lot of excitement or danger happens, but it does not need so much either. The point of the plot is not a dangerous mission or thrilling adventure; it is journey toward healing and growing into a child of Christ - more into the person they are beneath the hurts and shame. The descriptions of Belle Meade firmly establish the setting, as it is clear the author has been there and done her research. This is my favorite of Alexander's books.
About a year and a half ago, through an offer to participate in a blog tour, I was introduced to Tamera Alexander's writing, and I'm so, so glad I was!
To Whisper Her Name is another awesome southern historical novel. Once again, Tamera does a fantastic job of mixing historical events, locations, and characters with fiction and crafting a beautiful story that grips you from the very first page and holds you to the very end. I could almost see, hear, and feel the people, the horses, and the grounds of Belle Meade Plantation as Olivia and Ridley dealt with their pasts and dared to dream of the future. The characters, from Confederate General William Giles Harding, to Uncle Bob, Jedediah, and the other freed slaves at Belle Meade, came alive on the pages and ga ve a very authentic feel to the story. The research Tamera has done is evident and helps to transport you to the setting rich in actual history.
If you've had the pleasure of reading Tamera's first Belmont Mansion novel -- A Lasting Impression -- you will recognize the mention of Adelicia Acklen. These two books are set in the same time period, just miles apart from each other near Nashville, Tennessee.
If you enjoy great post-Civil-war era fiction, or if you're a fan of well-written Christian fiction in general, check out To Whisper Her Name. It's a little longer than many novels on the market now, but it is worth every page.
This book was not only well written but it was such a great story too. I felt like I was able to get to know each character without being rushed through the story. This will definitely be one that I read again :)
This was a wonderful, deep story full of secrets, fears and romance. The author did a great job with the back stories of the characters and the reasons why each held secrets from the other. The book held my interest from the start and didn't let go. Set in post civil war at Belle Meade Plantation, in Nashville, Tennessee, this is a historical novel. I enjoyed reading the author's note at the end of the book that described the real history behind her story.
You cannot go wrong reading any book written by Tamara Alexander. This book is no exception. For me the setting was the best part. I gave this book 5/5 stars. If you like Christian historical fiction books this is the perfect story for you! Books written by this author are so full of description and details that you put the story down feeling like you might actually know the people in the book. The story follows multiple characters and each one is likable if not lovable. I would recommend this book and actually any book by this author. I guarantee you will enjoy this book!
I would like to thank the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
First five stars read of the year for this reader, and it's by one of the best authors in Christian Fiction, no less.
Tamera's novels have distinguished themselves because of their richness in historical details, relatable characters and plots that keep readers on the edge of their seats - and her latest novel does not disappoint.
Each word in To Whisper Her Name is carefully penned and transport readers to Belle Meade Plantation where Ridley Cooper ( ahem.. ladies you are not ready for this one. 'Handsome gentleman' is an understatement) and characters such as Olivia, Uncle Bob, Betsy and the other servants will captivate Alexander's readership's attention with their unique personalities invigorated quite thoroughly by the author, making this a satisfying and engaging read.
While I enjoyed getting to know these characters, I'll honestly confess that I didn't care much for the character of the man who owned the estate. The General Hardings portrayed in this novel is not a very likable man, in my opinion. Proud, selfish, stubborn, arrogant. While reading, I kept hoping that he had soft side hidden, but even when I closed the last page of the book I still felt frustrations toward him.
However, this book in all fairness deserves a five stars, in my opinion. Tamera has a gracious and scrumptious way of unravelling a story that is just a pure delight to savour.
A romance that will melt your heart, a good number of characters - especially the servants- that will make you laugh and will melt your heart even more (never mind General Hardings) To Whisper Her Name has it all and is graced in the end with a lovely ending.
Historical Romance fans, I would encourage you to make space in your TBR pile for this one! Well done Tamera! - once again.
To Whisper Her Name is a beautiful blend of historical fact, real life people and fictional characters that gives us a glimpse into the South at a turbulent time, when freed slaves were unsure of their place in society and when people could be killed simply for trying to teach former slaves to read. Tamera Alexander’s exquisite research into the Belle Meade plantation in Nashville, and the people who lived and worked there, adds a wealth of dimension to the story. We are introduced to the Harding family by way of Olivia Aberdeen, a young widow, who comes to live there as a companion to Mrs. Harding. Through the character of Ridley Cooper, who procures a job in the famous Belle Meade stables, we see the working class side of society. His deep respect for the head horse handler, African American Bob Green, is unusual for a man from the South. But Ridley is hiding a terrible secret—that he actually fought for the North. Olivia and Ridley’s wonderful love story winds through the pages like a lovely melody. Ms. Alexander brings history to life with her rich portrayal of life in the South. Four hundred and seventy pages of her writing was not enough! One of the best books I’ve read to date!
Just when I thought I couldn’t like Tamera Alexander and her books anymore (check out reviews here and here), she releases To Whisper Her Name, which just might have become my favorite.
I’m sure you’re tired of me talking about anything related to the Civil War, but I just can’t help myself, that era of history is fascinating, so its natural I read so many fiction novels in that time period.
Anyway, this story deals with Elizabeth and Ridley (how can you not like that name??) and takes place on Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, TN a couple of years after the war. I’ve actually visited Belle Meade on one of my trips to Nashville, so it was pretty awesome to be able to visualize some of the places in the book. Plus its about horses and I heart horses.
It’s a great story of faith, love, forgiveness and life written in classic (and fantastic) Alexander style. It’s not every book that will have me laughing out loud while reading. Definitely a keeper and one I highly recommend.
I have always wanted to read one of Tamera Alexander’s books, and believe that her latest novel To Whisper Her Name, was a good place to start. Alexander’s richly drawn characters and storyline really makes you feel included in the story, allowing you to experience the emotions and circumstances the characters are going through. Although the book has 473 pages and sixty chapters, which might put a few people off, Alexander’s really descriptive detail makes the book flow really nicely, allowing everything to feel like it was supposed to be included, that without it the story would be incomplete. Widow Olivia Aberdeen is shunned by proper society when her husband dies a traitor to the south and is left destitute when her brother-in-law takes everything away from her. With nowhere else to go, Olivia gratefully accepts an invitation from “Aunt” Elizabeth Harding, the mistress of Belle Meade Plantation, expecting to be given the role of head housekeeper. However upon her arrival, Olivia learns the real reason Elizabeth’s husband, Confederate William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Ridley Cooper, a southern son who is branded a traitor by some as he chose to fight for the Union, arrives at Belle Meade hoping to learn ‘the gift’ that Belle Meade’s head horse trainer, Bob Green, possesses. However in doing so he endangers all those around him, including himself, for he gradually loses his heart to Olivia Aberdeen. What I love about this story is that it was based around the American Civil War in the 1860s, however it did take a while for me to realise it. I believe that it proves to be a great basis for Christian principles because no matter what race or denomination people are, Christ still loves them, for he made them. This is exactly what the verse at the beginning of the novel points out- There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28. This leads onto my fondness of Ridley Cooper because he clearly, but cautiously, stands up for what he believes in, willing to risk his reputation, as well as those who know his secret. This therefore earns him a lot of respect for he, although not Christian, is a man of integrity. It is therefore no surprise that Olivia falls for him. But what I like about this relationship, although it is intimate, it doesn’t take the spot light away from the post-Civil War repercussions. Overall, To Whisper Her Name is a novel that is able to be enjoyed by those interested in history and romance fiction. Tamera has done a wonderful job crafting this story to be one that is truly enjoyable. *PLEASE NOTE- I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.*
Wow! That is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about this book. "To Whisper Her Name" has been such a contradiction for me. It felt at times that it would never end, and yet, I found a part of me didn't want it to. Filled with the true South, it reminded me of Gone with the Wind and the Daughters of Twin Oaks series, but with it's own legs to stand on. Filled with characters that steal your heart, are complete scalawags, anger you, and one that leaves you not knowing how you feel about him. Completely shocking twists that I never saw coming and blew my mind! Tamera's writing style is intelligent, but sometimes overly so. I love the way she strings words together, but at times it got a little wordy. This book is filled with fabulous and exciting moments, but it had lulls in between them. My opinion is that this book was a little long for my liking. But it is an amazing story that I wholeheartedly recommend, and do not regret spending so much time reading! "To Whisper Her Name" must be read, savored, and contemplated! Capturing the elegance, pain, devastation, and beauty of the South, that came with the changes after the war, Tamera paints the picture wonderfully!
My songs for this book are, "Softly and Tenderly" by Deborah Liv Johnson, "Wild Horses" by Natasha Bedingfield, "Battle Hymn Of The Republic" by Shedaisy
Olivia’s late husband was a trader to the south and she is left to face society as an outcast because of it. Thankfully her late mothers good friend takes her in when she has no where to go. She soon meets Ridley who at first she can’t stand but the more she gets to know him the more she starts to care. Ridley comes to Belle Meade Plantation because he wants to learn how to work with horses and the man to learn from is Bob Green. He only plans to stay a few weeks but soon finds himself there longer and the longer he stays the more his heart starts to fall for Olivia. He has a secret though that could ruin everything he is trying to do. Can Olivia over come her her late husbands shadow and can Ridley find his way and will love blossom?
This is the first book I have read by this author and I enjoyed it. This is a longer novel and covers a lot of ground.
What I liked: This is a very well written book and it was easy to feel like I was right there at the plantation. The characters where likable and well written and developed. I also loved the cover picture, beautiful dress!
What I did not like: This book was very long and at times I felt the book could have moved faster. The book took a long time to develop but yet the ending was kind of fast and left me going that’s it? I don’t understand why a little more time could have been given to the ending. I also felt the climax of the book was kind of weak.
Over all I enjoyed this book but it was a little long and drawn out at times and the ending was so abrupt I felt a little disappointed. The writing was great and I love the detail and depth of the book. I hope to read more books from this author in the future.
A sweeping saga that packs an emotional punch and makes you think. What a winning combination! Loved the rich history that Alexander so carefully details -- and not just with facts but with feeling as well. I felt each character's struggle, my emotions ranging from horror to euphoria time and time again.
Both hero and heroine are sympathetic characters with complicated lives in a complicated time. The author brings a richness and depth to the story with intricate layers that buried me beneath the pages. A substantial 473 pages, To Whisper Her Name still wasn't long enough for me!
What a masterly crafted story! Tamera Alexander outdid herself on this one! Even though I had expected the story line to have a bit more action, it no way detracts from the beautifully well-researched three-dimensional characterization of the two main characters while keeping it historically accurate in the post Civil War era. Ridley Cooper was a Union soldier who made the courgeous decison to side against the Confederacy during the Civil war. He is a man who stood by his beliefs while at the same time still showing respect to everyone around him, including the intimidating General Harding. He is caught off guard for his feelings for Olivia Aberdeen; a desititue widow whose husband has been shot as a traitor to the Confederacy. Burdened with sorrow and with the betrayal of her late husband, Olivia arrives at the Belle Meade Plantation with the intent of becoming the Hardings' new head housekeeper. She soon finds out though that the general did not have the same idea in mind for her presence there. She soon finds herself falling for the handsome new foreman while at the same time determined never to be betrayed again by a man. Tamera has crafted a wonderful story which takes place in a beautiful plantation of Belle Meade which is still located today in Nashville, Tennessee. I noticed that story also coincides with her A Lasting Impression story which was released last year. I believe that the two series of Belle Meade Plantation and Belmont Mansion will be intergrated since they are written in the same time period.
This is the first Tamera Alexander book I have had the pleasure to read. I found her writing has a very easy style with just enough detail to establish a rich setting and create a lighthearted and yet moving tone. Since I am very interested in Civil War, and any fiction set in the period, I had to check this out. I am glad I did.
The war has been over a year when Ridley Cooper fulfills a promise to himself. He has wanted to return to Nashville, to the scene of an eventful moment in the war for him, to learn from a man who has a unique gift with horses. Cooper arrives on the Belle Meade thoroughbred farm the very day that Olivia Aberdeen flees her abusive and shame-filled past and finds refuge with the Mistress of the plantation. Veiled in a tight cocoon of propriety to shield herself from a world that has turned on her, Olivia displays a cool formality toward a slightly tousled and casual Mr. Cooper. But when a mishap places her at his mercy, he proves himself kind and helpful, and her starch begins to loosen ever so slightly. And she soon realizes she can use every friend she has.
The Master of Belle Meade, General Harding, presents a stalwart and imposing figure, and declares Olivia his ward to marry off at his discretion. And society has shunned her for the sins of her late husband. So Ridley Cooper's unconventional and easy going nature becomes just the balm to her beleaguered soul. And it doesn't hurt that he's easy on the eyes, once he cleans up. Turns out he is also very bright and ambitious, and as he advances in her heart, he also receives promotion on the farm.
Without giving away too much of the plot, this long novel explores the various societal changes brought about by the war, from racial stereotypes to gender roles, and even regional prejudices. It is apparently part of a series set in Nashville, and touches on the beginnings of the Ku Klux Klan, though that issue was never resolved in this book.
I enjoyed the minor characters such as the head hostler, the medicine woman Rachel, and young Jimmy. The supporting cast added depth and warmth to the story. And the romance was sweet and had a few memorable moments such as the lattice scene and the pony cart. All in all, a nice story with a rich and fascinating historical background.
Olivia is a widow of the worst kind in the city of Nashville following the Civil War that divided a great nation. Her husband, Charles Aberdeen is a traitor to the South, and Olivia is forced to live with the repercussions of his actions when the townspeople murder him and leave her completely destitute in the world. Having nowhere else to go, she packs up and heads for Belle Meade Plantation. Her mother's best friend, Elizabeth Harding welcomes her with open arms, even though the General reluctantly extends his generosity to the shamed widow.
Ridley Cooper made a difficult choice when as a son of the South, he donned the blue uniform of the Federal Army. Shunned by his family for the impossible choice he had to make, he is left with nothing after the war sweeps away everybody he loves. Determined to learn the skills of Belle Meade's horse trainer, he seeks a measure of peace for himself and desperately wants a new life out west. But the dangerous secrets he harbors threaten his plans for the future, namely, a certain widow. Will Olivia be able to accept who he is and where he is going? Or will the shadows of the past blind them both to the future that may await them?
Facing a book this size was a little daunting. But the more I read, the more I was immensely grateful that the author took the time to bestow us with such a stunning story of betrayal, faith, hope, and ultimately, love. I have read many a story of the aftermath following the Civil War. But this novel was a treasure to read, breathtakingly accurate in its depiction of historical detail. I enjoyed every second I spent with this book. The characters will draw you to the story, and the plot keeps your mind in Alexander's re-telling of the past even when you don't have the book in your hands.
A copy of this book was provided for free from Zondervan Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
TO WHISPER HER NAME by Tamera Alexander is an exciting inspirational historical romance. Set to the backdrop of the historic Belle Meade mansion,a Thoroughbred stud farm in Nashville, Tennessee and post Civil War. Follow,a Southerner,who fought for the Union, Ridley Adam Cooper and widow Olivia Aberdeen on a journey of healing and love. Filled with inner turmoil, secrets,horses,horse trainer,thoroughbred horses, enslavement,humility,healing,forgiveness,betrayal,freedom, arrogance,Nashville history,faith,and the power of love. If you enjoy history,horses,Nashville in the 1860's,romance,you will definitely enjoy this title. Written with historical facts,engaging and unforgettable characters, to the backdrop of post-Civil War. A powerful,although, heart wrenching,and stirring story. A must for anyone who enjoys a lesson in humility,the power of love and healing. Another hit for Ms. Alexander. She always captures the heart and soul of her characters and leaves her readers spellbound. Received for an honest review from the publisher. Details can be found at the author's website,Zondervan, and My Book Addiction and More. RATING: 5 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews
I have enjoyed all of the author’s previous titles, especially her Colorado historicals, but I have to say, this latest Southern antebellum novel in “To Whisper Her Name” evoked a love for southern fiction I didn’t know I possessed.
The novel is rich and to be savored. I read the story slowly, not because it didn’t thoroughly capture my attention, but only because it didn’t feel right to blaze through for the sake of simply reading. I fell in love with the characters as they fell in love with each other. Something I think only an excellent author can accomplish over nearly five hundred pages.
There is a tapestry of love and grace and finesse through every single page that brings the characters and reader together, directly into the heart of the story. There was no doubt the place I sat while I reading this story: the veranda of the Belle Meade.
Olivia and Ridley are dynamic characters. The Belle Meade a place of rich extravagance. The voice of the novel a gripping delicacy. Description doesn’t rule the novel, which is one thing I appreciated about it…I saw the characters interacting with their surroundings and it worked. Every single word of this novel simply…worked.
I’m impressed, grateful and eager for the next novel in this Belle Meade series. A well-crafted work of fiction!
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.