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Robert Whitlow’s A Time to Stand

A Time to Stand by [Whitlow, Robert]

Adisa Johnson, a young African-American attorney, is living her dream of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta. Then a split-second mistake changes the course of her career.

Left with no other options, Adisa returns to her hometown where a few days earlier a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen who is now lying comatose in the hospital.

Adisa is itching to jump into the fight as a special prosecutor, but feels pulled to do what she considers unthinkable—defend the officer.

As the court case unfolds, everyone in the small community must confront their own prejudices. Caught in the middle, Adisa also tries to chart her way along a path complicated by her budding relationship with a charismatic young preacher who leads the local movement demanding the police officer answer for his crime.

This highly relevant and gripping novel challenges us to ask what it means to forgive while seeking justice and to pursue reconciliation while loving others as ourselves.

Review

I love Robert Whitlow books. He writes fantastic legal fiction with a spiritual lense…that didn’t mean that I wasn’t hesitant to read this book once I read what it was about. Obviously US race relations are tense and let me tell you, I consider myself to be a Christian Evangelical, but half the time I can’t stand them. They drive me nuts when it comes to race relations. I have stopped reading an author who I liked because of what she would say about black Americans on her social media sites…thus I was worried. I didn’t want to start side-eyeing one of my favorite authors. I remember picking up this book and saying Whitlow you can either make me love your writing and make me hate it. Reader, I loved it.

What I liked:

Race relations. Whitlow could have chosen to really sugar coat this book and he didn’t. I thought he did a very accurate job of showing the suspicion on both sides of the racial line and of dealing with the fact that blacks and whites have a complex history. I love that he acknowledges it instead of shying away. You can’t deal with a problem if you pretend it’s not there.

Adisa. Adisa is a young black female attorney who works hard and loves the Lord. She is faced with quite a few challenges in this book. I did not envy her once. Nevertheless, she stays continually in prayer and trusts that God will work things out. She is a main character you can trust to make the right decisions and to handle delicate situation. When she faced difficult decisions, her thought process felt real.

Luke. I will admit he wasn’t my favorite person in the world, but Whitlow made him real. I managed to be both irritated at him and still want him to be cleared. So kudos Whitlow.

Law. I can never argue with Whitlow’s grasp of the legal field. As a lawyer, reading all that Adisa had to do made me tired. Poor girl.

Secondary characters. They are much needed to the telling of this story so that you can get different points of views. There is even a little romance (but this is a book that didn’t necessarily need it.).

How it wrapped up. I’m sure you would like to know. It worked.

Sidenote: Whitlow is either an aspiring chef or a foodie. He made me hungry on several occasions.

Spiritually, there is a great emphasis on the power of praying and how if you serve God, He will bless your descendants.

What I didn’t like:

I liked the entire book!

Romantic scale: 7

Overall, a wonderful book. I think Whitlow handled the topic beautifully. I was worried at first, but if anything he made me love his writing more. It was a book I couldn’t stop thinking about and read much faster than I intended.

**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Tamera Alexander’s To Wager her Heart

To Wager Her Heart (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel Book 3) by [Alexander, Tamera]

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success–General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks.
Seeking justice . . . 
Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville’s society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancé–and has shattered her world.
Struggling to restore honor . . . 
   
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But family–and Nashville society–do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.
Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy’s roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.
Review
Tamera Alexander is an auto-buy author for me because I love the way she combines history with romance. My thoughts:
What I liked:
Sylas. From the moment he steps on the page he quickly becomes one of the most interesting characters of the novel. I love how he kind of fits that Old Western mold and at the same time breaks it. Whenever he was on the page I knew something interesting was going to happen.
Alexandra. I will admit that while I liked her character, it took me a while to really like her. However, by the end of the book I found myself completely in her corner.
Historical research. Alexander has a lot of historical events and people in this book. The author clearly does her research. Every historical aspect felt fully researched and learned from the way that the school for black Americans was run to the way that the main characters interacted with ‘real’ historical figures.
Mystery. There’s a bit of a mystery here, but interestingly enough, Alexander resolves it in a way that I hadn’t quite expected. Nevertheless it worked, because it felt real.
Spiritually, the characters learn to trust God even when the situation looks and feels hard.
What I didn’t like
I did feel like Sy and Alexandra were separated more than I would have liked.  One of the best things about an Alexander romance is that she does the friendship romance so well. It was done well here, but the characters did spend a lot of time a part.
Also, it kind of felt like Alexander had a list of historical events that she wanted to hit and she hit them…but it felt like a bit much at times. Sy and Alexandra met this famous person, they were a part of this famous event, they saw this historical event happen. I realize a lot was happening historically at that time, but I felt like all the things they were a part of took away from the story a bit.
Romantic scale: 8
Overall, while not my favorite Alexander book, a very satisfying read.
**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**