Top critical review
Another great read from Tamera Alexander
Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2016
Post-Civil War in the South. What a hard time to live in particularly if you have Northern sympathies. Ridley, a man from South Carolina, fought for the North. He is not telling anyone while living in Nashville on one of the most prominent stud farms in the country, Bell Meade, and working for General Harding, a decorated Southern general. But he can't stop his ways of treating everyone equal and fairly, which gets him to trouble with some of the white workers, but earns him respect with nearly everyone else. Olivia is a young widow that is being exiled to Bell Meade due to her late husband's shameful greediness during the war. Her long time family friend and adopted Aunt has invited her to live on the horse farm, despite her fear of horses. Olivia helps smooth family relationships and keeps Aunt Elizabeth company as she is sick. Olivia and Ridley's paths cross and while they are not friends to begin with, they become friends and share a deep bond. A true tale of Southern romance and the rebuilding of a country after destruction and changing relationships and dynamics.
I was not as fond of the horse farm as I was other locations that Tamera Alexander has written about. However, I loved many of the characters. Uncle Bob, Racheal, Savannah, Jimmy, and Ridley were my favorites. I didn't really care for Olivia or the Hardings. I understand that time period had its prejudices and traditions, but some of it didn't seem real (or right through my 2016 eyes). My favorite scenes all involved the former slaves, especially church and the dance. I was actually surprised at the ending. I kind of figured out that Olivia and Ridley would end up together, but the way that they do was a shock!