A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who could help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing forever.
An Irishman far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He’s come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and begin farming, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he’d wagered, especially when Maggie Linden’s father makes him an offer he shouldn’t accept yet cannot possibly refuse.
Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the inaugural Peyton Stakes, the richest race ever run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance–and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder–Maggie’s father, aging, yet wily as ever, makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail–Maggie must marry a man she’s never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.
To Win Her Favor takes place in the South right after the Civil War. We learn about Maggie Linden, who lives with her father on their plantation. They are close to losing the plantation, but Maggie thinks she can make everything okay by racing her horse, Bourbon Belle, at the annual Peyton Stakes at Nashville’s racetrack. Cullen McGrath has moved from Ireland, looking for a fresh start, and hoping to buy a place for himself. When he happens upon the Linden’ plantation, he meets Maggie’s father. They agree on Cullen buying the plantation, as long as he also agrees to marry Maggie and take care of her. It is not an ideal situation for either of them. The story then follows their relationship, as they try to hide things from their past from each other, and fight growing attraction they are feeling.
I love stories written in this era. I admired both characters, and understood why they kept their secrets from each other, but at the same time, I kept wanting to tell them to just be honest with each other and communicate! The story was well written and I really enjoyed it.