Monday, November 19, 2012

"To Whisper Her Name" Review

Only a year after the end of the Civil War, Olivia Aberdeen finds herself alone and destitute after her husband is shot for being a traitor to the South. Not willing to leave her beloved Nashville, Olivia fortunately takes up residence with her “Aunt” Elizabeth, wife to the wealthy owner of Belle Meade Plantation, Confederate General William Giles Harding. Belle Meade is famous for its thoroughbreds, and the General is widely known for his horsemanship and his loyalty to the South.

Ridley Cooper, a young man from South Carolina who chose to fight for the Union, has spent the last several years in a Confederate prison camp. Upon his release at the end of the war, Ridley seeks a former slave whom he encountered right before he was captured. All Ridley knows is that the man’s name is Robert Green and that he does incredible work with the horses at Belle Mead Plantation. Ridley hopes to learn all he can from Bob Green so that one day he can venture to the West to pursue his dream of owning thoroughbreds of his own.
But all is not as it seems upon Olivia and Ridley’s arrival at Belle Mead. Olivia finds that the position she was promised has already been taken and that the General has other plans for how she will spend her time. In addition, Olivia is terrified of horses, and yet she finds herself working alongside Ridley Cooper in the heart of the plantation – the stables. And even though Ridley has been granted the opportunity to work with the thoroughbreds, the General doesn’t know Ridley’s secret – that he fought for the Union.

As Olivia and Ridley spend more and more time together, they feel a connection that they never expected. Each has their own fears and secrets, and only time will tell if these will come to light.

Set at Nashville’s historic Belle Meade Plantation, To Whisper Her Name is a story of the post-Civil War South that will take you on a journey of betrayal, love, and redemption.

When I started reading this book, I was very interested in a story taking place at Belle Meade Plantation. I lived in Tennessee for nine years, and I had heard of it as an interesting historical place, though I have never visited it. I also enjoyed the previous book by Tamera Alexander, A Lasting Impression, which took place in Nashville at the Belmont Mansion. Admittedly, I am not usually a fan of Civil War stories, but since this one actually takes places after the war, I thought I would give it a try.
One thing that I definitely have to say about this book is that I felt totally absorbed in it as I was reading. The writing really helps you to get to know the characters, and the descriptions made me feel as if I was really there at the plantation throughout the entire book. One reason for this might be that, at 480 pages, the book is quite long for a fiction novel. I can’t say that I ever got bored with the story necessarily, but it sometimes did feel long and stretched out. This novel is not a quick read but one that takes its time and leads you on a journey that is thorough but enjoyable.
I really like the relationships between the characters in this novel, even when they were not so good. This made for a more realistic story that focused on actual struggles that would have taken place at this time. The part of the story dealing with the former slaves was fascinating in and of itself and adding more post-war issues on top of that reinforced just how difficult this time in history actually was.

I also liked the relationship between Olivia and Ridley and how well-developed it was. They really spent time together and slowly got to know each other instead of falling in love at first sight. Their relationship had depth which made the characters come alive even more. I really enjoyed how Ridley was able to help Olivia come out of her shell a bit and how it seemed as if Olivia kind of gave Ridley greater confidence in his abilities and in his future. As with many Christian novels that I have read lately, I wish that there had been more said about Christ as the way to have a relationship with God, but the characters did at least take some steps of spiritual growth over the course of the novel.
To Whisper Her Name is a captivating novel that, though lengthy, is a worthwhile read, especially if you enjoy novels that are rich in historical details and realistic struggles.

I will give To Whisper Her Name … 4 BookWorms.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for your thoughts and the review. Hope you have a wonderful holiday week! :O)


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