Tuesday, May 5, 2015

An Arranged Marriage Against a Background of Post Civil War Throughbred Racing

Maggie Linden has trained a very special Thoroughbred, Bourbon Belle, but women are not seen as appropriate horse trainers. This is the time just after the Civil War. Landowners in the South are struggling to keep their property. Maggie's father is no exception. They are faced with foreclosure.

If Bourbon Belle wins the Peyton Stakes, they could pay off their debts. Maggie is sure she can do it, but her father isn't convinced. When her jockey, a small black boy, is forced to leave the area with his family because of racial incidents, even Maggie begins to have doubts.

Cullen McGrath has come to Tennessee from England. He's Irish and like the blacks, the Irish are not welcome in the post Civil War South. Cullen wants to buy property, but no one will sell to him. He is even forbidden to bid on property going up for auction. He reaches the Linden farm in his search and offers to buy the property, but Maggie's father has a better idea: marry my daughter.

This is the second book in the Belle Meade Plantation series. The setting around Belle Meade Plantation is beautifully described and the actions, particularly the racial tensions, are true to the period. If you're interested in Thoroughbred racing, the book has good historical detail about racing in the period. However, horses don't overpower the story. This is about Cullen and Maggie.

In the early chapters, Maggie is a spoiled brat. She's agreed to marry a man to save her farm, but she's ashamed of him and let's him know. She's more concerned about losing her social position than in learning to be a good wife. Cullen is a much stronger character, and I loved Maggie's father.

For a Christian romance, this book has a lot of sexually explicit content. If that bothers you, you may want to give it a miss. However, it is not as explicit as books in romance or mainstream categories
. I enjoyed the book, but can't recommend it wholeheartedly because of the sexual content.

I reviewed this book for BookLook Bloggers.