January 15, 2013

Ridley Cooper

Take everything you know about the Southern Gentleman, distill it down to its purest form of gallant integrity and infuse it with a single drop of roguish determination and you will begin to understand the sort of hero Ridley Cooper is. Due to an email difficulty there were about ten days where I was unsure if I would be able to feature Ridley and those were some of the most tension filled of 2012. I so much wanted to be able to share Ridley with you all. Thankfully when his author Tamera Alexander and I were able to get in contact she accepted right away. I seriously did the happy dance. Ridley is going to win you over with zero help from me, so let's get to it.

About Ridley Cooper's novel To Whisper Her Name (released October 23, 2012):

Olivia Abderdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts an invitation from "Aunt" Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation. Expecting to be the Harding's head housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned when she learns the real reason Elizabeth's husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Not finding the safe haven she expects, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a Southern man who seems anything but a Southern gentleman.

Branded a traitor by some, Ridley Cooper, a Southern son who chose to fight for the Union, is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him. Determined to learn "the gift" that Belle Meade's head horse trainer and former slave, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley harbors secrets that threaten both their lives.

As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for "betraying" the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again.

Set at Nashville's historic Belle Meade Plantation, the most influential thoroughbred stud farm in America's history, To Whisper Her Name weaves the struggles of real people of the post-war South with the journeys of a man and a woman scarred by betrayal.


From To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander:

          The flush of Mrs. Aberdeen's cheeks told him she was upset. But for the life of him, Ridley didn't know why. He wasn't about to take the advertisement back though. Not without her telling him the truth, which he sensed simmered just below that prim and proper exterior.
          "You're mistaken, Mr. Cooper." Her voice teetered on the edge of calm. "I am grateful to you, sir. But for reasons I'd rather not discuss, I simply cannot apply for this position."
          She gave him a polite smile that made him want to climb over the fence. "Why can't we at least discuss your reasons?"
          "Because I told you just now that I'd prefer not to. It's my prerogative, as a lady, to--"
          "Is it because I spoke with Uncle Bob about the position first? Is that what has you all riled up?"
          "I'm not riled up, Mr. Cooper."
          "Surely it's not the comment about teaching boys to climb through a window."
          Her jaw clenched tight. "As I said, I'd prefer not to discuss my reasons, Mr. Cooper."
          "Fine, Mrs. Aberdeen. But would you be kind enough to at least tell me what I said that upset you?"
          "I'm not upset." Her mouth formed a tight curve.
          "Please." He held up a hand. "Don't smile at me like that. It doesn't have the desired effect, I assure you."
          Her politeness flattened. "And just what, may I ask, do you think is the effect I desire?"
          Finally, something he knew the answer to. Only, she wasn't going to like it. "Your desire, Olivia Aberdeen, is that everything appear the way it should be, ma'am, instead of how it actually is."
          Her mouth slipped open. "You have no right to--"
          "For instance," he continued before she could protest, knowing she wouldn't like being interrupted. Maybe if he got this woman angry enough, she'd let down that blasted guard of hers and he'd get a glimpse of who she really was. "When you're asked a question, you respond in the way you think a 'lady' should, instead of honestly speaking your mind, which I believe you're quite capable of doing, by the way. And," he added, when she opened her mouth again, "you refuse to accept my assistance when climbing through a window, yet you'll willingly climb through that same window yourself, as long as you think no one is watching."
          Her eyes flashed, and he saw the sharp tip of truth hit its mark. He also knew if looks were fire, he'd be burned to a crisp right now.
          "As I was saying, Mr. Cooper--"
          "I'm not done yet, Olivia."
          Her eyes widened.
          "I don't know why you didn't get the position of head housekeeper here, but from what I've seen in you, ma'am, you're smart and you've got spunk, which counts for a lot these days. And if I were over there right now..." He glanced at the fence separating them, hoping she'd hear the 'olive branch' in his tone. "I'd help you close that polite little mouth of yours." He smiled when she clamped her pretty mouth shut. "That is, if I wasn't afraid of losing a finger."
          The hurt that slipped into her eyes told him the peace offering had floated right past her, and he felt bad now for trying to egg her on.
          She moistened her lips. "I'm pleased you find my predicament so amusing."
          "No, ma'am." Ridley looked at her straight on. "I never said that. All I said was--"
          "Let me be clear on a few things, Mr. Cooper."
          Ridley felt his own eyes widen and closed his mouth with pleasure.
          "You have no right to speak to me in so casual a manner, sir." Her voice, barely higher than a whisper, was tight with anger. "Our lack of acquaintanceship does not afford you the liberty to tell me what you think I should or should not do. To even suggest that you think you know what is best for me is beyond the definition of absurdity. And arrogance." Her chest rose and fell in quick succession. "I am more than capable of determining the course of my life, and I do not require your assistance in that regard." She lifted her chin. "Nor do I desire it."
          Proud of her in ways he couldn't begin to describe and intrigued by her all the more, Ridley took a step back from the fence to give her room. He had some idea about the kind of man her late husband had been from what Green had told him, and he'd pretty much drawn his own sketch from there. So even though it was only him and Olivia Aberdeen standing here, he couldn't shake the feeling she was fighting with someone else.

ZONDERVAN
To Whisper Her Name
Copyright 2012 by Tamera Alexander

Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.



Gallant Score:
There's just so many reasons he deserves all these. I'm going to balance informing you with spoiling the reader experience, but Ridley always does the right thing. Unfortunately sometimes the right thing isn't an obvious choice and I have never, ever read a hero who was put between a rock and a hard place as often as Ridley. His manners with Olivia were always impeccable, even when he was "breaking the rules" of convention for her own good. The secrets he harbors are both born of pain but also to protect others. Late in the novel there is a moment Ridley's integrity shines like runway lights where his honesty will cost him dearly. Because of the man he is, with nothing to be gained and much to lose, his honor demands he tell the truth. Historical hero or not, the world needs more men like Ridley Cooper.


Wounded Score:
There's this wonderful moment where Ridley is attempting to help Olivia overcome her self-consciousness and playfully asks her "If I show you my scar, will you show me yours?" She actually had no idea at that point he'd been shot during the war, or any of the horrible things he experienced afterward. That's one orange head and the other is the reason he comes to Belle Meade after the war. It's more than what the summary above tells you, and is heart-breaking on its own. Every time he talks about home or his seashell, my heart hurt right there with him.


Softie Score:
There's a way some men have about them when they're around young people that screams "I will be a great father one day" and Ridley has it in spades. The fact the young man that becomes Ridley's shadow the way kids will was a former slave didn't bother Ridley in the least, though it certainly bothered others. He also has so many moments of tenderness and compassion with not only Olivia, but a very special horse named Seabird. When I think about it I want to hit my knees again and ask God to fill the world with more men like Ridley Cooper.


Stupid Strike:
Not a chance. He's not that kind of hero. He does do some things that aren't exactly well-thought out sometimes, but they aren't poor choices in themselves. The closest he gets to a stupid strike is in the excerpt above when he's calling Olivia on the carpet and that wasn't enough for a strike.


Swoon Score:
That wasn't a mistake. And I've got a hunch most of you are already here too and you haven't even read the book yet! Let me be clear in that Ridley gets these on personality and actions alone. I don't mind telling you however when he decides to "throw the switch" and pursue Olivia, he gets a long overdue shave and well... there's a whole lot of handsome under there.

About Ridley Cooper's author Tamera Alexander:

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, including the Christy Award, the RITA Award, and the Carol Award. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband have returned to their native South and live in Nashville, Tennessee, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children, and a ten pound silky terrier named Jack.


The FHF exclusive directly from the author:

During the final draft, we ended up cutting a paragraph of Ridley's internal thoughts that had to do with the men he'd killed in the war. After all was said and done, as they say, we decided that Ridley had enough to deal with without introducing "possible links" to men he'd killed in the war in relation to the people in his current life. Here's the paragraph of him reflecting back on a dinner where he'd sat by a woman whose son (a Confederate soldier) had been killed in a battle where Ridley had fought:

But even more sobering was remembering the woman seated beside him at dinner, and imagining how he could have been the one to have fired the shot that killed her son. He'd heard people say before that Heaven would hold the answers to all the questions they had here. But Ridley prayed that if he had fired that fatal shot, God would never let him know.

The giveaways:

1 copy of To Whisper Her Name, just tell me somewhere in your comment specifically why you want to read this book and that you would like to be in the book drawing.

For readers who have already read To Whisper Her Name, please throw your praise in and give me a name of a character (and it can be a horse!) that wasn't used anywhere in the excerpt or the feature. That will get you in the drawing for a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble giftcard--winner's choice. Once that character is used, you need to select another one.

Best wishes to all and we'll randomly draw winners on January 31st.

And while you'll want to go watch all of these videos on Tamera's official website, here's my favorite.


Now let's play!

69 comments:

Dawn Crandall said...

You know, I somehow missed the post from January 1st--I don't know how, but I do believe it had something to do with my waking up this morning and feeling that something was missing... and that it had to do with this blog! Literally, the first thing I did when I woke up was look it up on my phone! How funny that you just posted a new hero this morning! Subconsciously, I must have known it had to be about time! I soooooo want to read this book because I love ALL of Tamera Alexander's books! Put me in the book drawing, please!

Melissa Jagears said...

I'd love to read the book, I've heard good things about this everywhere on the internet. Please put me in for the book.

But for not being stupid, I see 10 orange heads!

Abbi Hart said...

I can't wait to read this book! I have loved all of the books of this author's that I have read! Please enter me!
gatorade635(at)gmail(dot)com

Patty said...

I want to read this book because all of Tamara's books are great! I love historical fiction, especially ones with so much basis in real life events.

I actually bought a copy of this book over the weekend and hope to get to it soon. If I win I'm sure I can find someone to pass it on to. Maybe the church library!

Patty

Marissa said...

I'd love to be entered to win this book because I've seen it on practically everyone's "Best of 2012" list! Please enter me! :)

marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

StillyBee said...

I'd love to read this book because this world needs more honorable gentlemen. Even just to read & pretend lol.

J.W. Doering said...

I loved this book! Kudos to Tamera Alexander once again for an amazing story! I actually didn't realize that Belle Meade was a thoroughbred farm when I bought the book. I love everything about horses, so I was doubly excited when some of the four-legged characters made their appearance. Tamera captured the spirit and pride of Jack Malone perfectly. Can't wait for the next novel!

karenk said...

I love Tamera Alexander's novels...thanks for the chance to read her latest one.

karenk
kmkua at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Oh how I've been wanting to win this book, with no luck yet. But even more so now after reading this Nancy! I just have to find out things turn out between Ridley and Olivia. He is a very interesting character. And, I love Plantation stories, also. If I don't win I will have to try to find it at a Library. I must read this book about this Hero. By the way Nancy. We are near neighbors. I live in Pasadena, next door to Houston. Neat!
Please enter my name for this book drawing. Hope it will be my lucky day! Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com

Sarah said...

I heard this was a great book. I would loved to be entered in to win. Thank You.
superstarsarah94(at)gmail(dot)com

Glenda said...

I would love to win and read Tamera Alexander's book To Whisper Her Name. Tamera Alexander's books are new to me but she is friends with some of my favorite authors which I take as a great recommendation. I must also admit I am curious about Olivia, and the very special horse named Seabird.

Thank you for the chance in the giveaway.

gka444(at)gmail (dot) com

Elizabeth Dent said...

I would so love to win this book To Whisper Het Name by Tamera Alexander. It sounds do good . I would like to know more about Olivia & Ridley . Sounds like she is making it hard on him . Thanks for the contest .

Elizabeth Dent said...

Her Name . Sorry on my phone

Pam K. said...

I really enjoyed reading To Whisper Her Name. I think it's hard to read the book without falling at least a bit in love with Ridley! I also liked the way Olivia matured throughout the book. Rachel was one of the many characters I liked in this book.
Please don't enter me in the book drawing but I'd love a chance at the Amazon gift card. Thanks.

pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

Anonymous said...

It seems every book has a dark character and Grady Matthews is it in this story. I see him as a brute. I loved this book and is a keeper in my library.

Judy Cook
jcnc333@yahoo.com

Whitney said...

Well, I'm number 15 in line at the library to get this book. Yep, might actually get to check it out by the end of year. LOL. You know this is my genre. I don't even want to read the feature because I hate to know much about a book before I read it. LOL. That is, more than the premise. I definitely want to be in for the book. :D

Whitney

Samantha Kuiper said...

Oh I really have been wanting to read this book! The review now makes me want to read it even more. :)

samanthaakuiper(at)gmail(dot)com

`Candle said...

To Whisper Her Name is a novel well worth reading. Actually, I've read several of Tamera's books and they are all well worth it. However, this one is special, especially because it ties in a character from my all time favorite book at the end, McKenna Ashford, from "The Inheritance". McKenna has a key part in both Ridley and Olivia's HEA. Kudos to Tamera for her creativity. So I suggest to all to read "To Whisper Her Name" and then "The Inheritance"...they are both for your keeper shelves. Please put me in the drawing for the gift card. Thanks.

Nancy Kimball said...

I wondered where you'd been! =) Yep, 1st and 15th, just like payday, haha. You're in the book drawing and I need you to tell me about The Tutor's Daughter. Someone has nominated its hero. I left you a note on your blog too because you are so ahead of me on the new releases!

Nancy Kimball said...

Hey Melissa! Great to see you and you're in for the book. There has actually been a few times I wanted to give more than 5 orange heads and couldn't but with Ridley I remembered that... its my system and I can do whatever I want, LOL. You're in for the book.

Nancy Kimball said...

Hey Abbi, you got it. We'll put you in the book drawing.

Nancy Kimball said...

That's the spirit Patty, share the love. We'll put you in the book drawing.

Nancy Kimball said...

Me too Marissa, then someone nominated it through the button here and I read the premise and then the novel and here we are. You're in the book drawing.

Nancy Kimball said...

True that, StillyBee and welcome to FHF. =) We've got you in the book drawing.

Nancy Kimball said...

J.W. I grew up with horses and still have one adopted American mustang so I could totally see the dynamics there.

We've got you in the gift card drawing with JACK MALONE.

Nancy Kimball said...

karenk, good to see you back! We've got you in the book drawing.

Nancy Kimball said...

Ridley will keep you turning pages. He's just so... so... FHF-worthy. Pad-get down-dena!!! Too cool! We'll get you in the book drawing.

Nancy Kimball said...

Is as and you are Sarah! We've got you in the book drawing.

Nancy Kimball said...

Glenda, welcome to FHF! This my first novel of Tamera's but the first of many. Her book is as good as her hero for sure. We've got you in the book drawing.

Nancy Kimball said...

Elizabeth, welcome to FHF and you're right, though Olivia isn't playing hard to get to be coy or mean. She's got as much baggage as he does and this is a fantastic historical romance. We've got you in the book drawing.

Nancy Kimball said...

Hey Pam! I don't know how you read the book and don't fall completely in love with Ridley. I agree, Olivia's character arc (ignore fancy writing term, lol) was very well done and the whole novel engaging start to finish. Ridley was a tremendous hero but he did not carry the novel. The story did and that's not always the case.

You are in the giftcard drawing with RACHEL. (Who I adored!)

Nancy Kimball said...

Judy, welcome to FHF and I agree. There were times it felt like the General was also a bad guy in a sense. I really enjoyed his character. Grady got on my nerves big time.

You are in the giftcard drawing with GRADY MATTHEWS.

Nancy Kimball said...

Historical and horses, this is TOTALLY YOU Whitney. We've got you in the drawing for the book.

Nancy Kimball said...

Glad to hear it, Samantha. We've got you in the drawing for the book.

Nancy Kimball said...

Thanks for the nod and I will have to check out The Inheritance. I didn't remember McKenna but searched it in my Kindle (one of the reasons I LOVE e-readers) and you are on the money. Thanks for your praise of Tamera's work. I am now fully in her tribe for sure.

You are in the giftcard drawing with MCKENNA ASHFORD.

Hannah Peasha said...

I'd love it if you'd put me in the drawing. I've heard a lot of good things about To Whisper her Name and have been dying to read it! :)
hannahpeasha@gmail.com

Lisa Godfrees said...

Oooh. Sounds like a good book. I love the conflict between Union and the South. I'd like to see how that plays out in the book. Put me in for the drawing!

April Gardner said...

Not at all surprised that one of Tamera's heroes scored got such a high score at FHF. Every one of her heroes has kept me awake long into the night alternately clutching my gown in expectation and heaving long sighs of satisfaction. However, Ridley and I have yet to meet. But I would love to! Please enter me in the drawing!! aprilmarieg@gmail.com

Ganise said...

Yes! Bless you. I've just found out today that my public library has the book (which I am oh-so looking forward to read) but I wouldn't mind having it on my bookshelf too.

Thank you, Cindi! :-)

Nancy Kimball said...

Hi Hannah and welcome to FHF. We'll get you in the book drawing.

Nancy Kimball said...

It really was. You got it my friend!

Nancy Kimball said...

You got it Ganise, we'll get you in the book drawing.

Ganise said...

LOL! I just realized that I wrote Cindi.. I meant Nancy of course, sorry. :-)

Thanks

Kat said...

I have read several of Tamera's books and especially loved A Lasting Impression. Can't wait to read another one of hers set at a plantation in the South with a dreamy southern gentleman! Thanks!
katsaddress AT gmail. DOT com

Tamera Alexander said...

So appreciate all the comments, friends. Thanks so much for the kind words…and for READING! ; ) And thanks to Nancy for featuring RIDLEY!

Anonymous said...

my sister in Anaheim CA loaned me a couple of your books and I loved them!

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of Tamera Alexander's writing and have not yet had the chance to read her latest novel. Thanks for the lovely blog post, and please enter me into your drawing for the novel. danandlyndaedwards(at)msn(dot)com

Sabrina said...

I would love to read this book because Nashville was one of the places my family visited often when I was younger. The landmarks and places there hold some great memories. would love to win. :-)

Daka said...

Historical fiction has to be my all time favorite - Am looking forward to reading To Whisper Her Name - it's on my "Have to Read" list...please enter me in the drawing...Thank you so much Tamera for your beautifully written stories!

Mrs Tina said...

I love stories about this time in history. I was born in Virginia and love the south and books about the south.

To Whisper Her Name sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it. The movie trailer is great.

Please enter me into the contest.

Blessings, Tina
tfrice@comcast.net

Kd Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kd Brown said...

Tamera Alexander is a wonderful writer and I love her books, so I would love to read To Whisper Her Name and A Lasting Impression! Please include me in the drawing. Thanks.

flchen1 said...

I've loved Tamera's other stories, and don't have this one on my TBR yet--thanks for the chance to add it!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Kate said...

I'd love to read this book; one, because the cover design is lovely; two, because I love Tamera's books; and three because this time period is such a romantic one!

Kate said...

Oops, and please enter me in the drawing!

eliza elliott said...

I would like to be in the drawing and I would love to read the book because there is nothing like escaping to the old days in the south!!

Angela Holland said...

I would love to be entered into this drawing please. I would like to read this book as I love historical fiction books and I have not read any of Tamara's book yet, but they look very good and I love the covers. Thank you
griperang at embarqmail dot com

Betz said...

Seabird is a wonderful name for a horse. Makes me want to see her. I already have the book on my Kindle, but would love to be entered for the Amazon gift card.
I really appreciated the way you had Mary resolve some of her frustration at being the second daughter. I'm sure she would have turned out just great! :)
Thanks for all the wonderful books!
bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

Wendy Newcomb said...

I would like to be entered for a chance to win this book because I really enjoy reading about this era.

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

Linda said...

I just finished reading "To Whisper Her Name." Usually fiction books don't affect me in the way that this book did, but the characters truly came to life. I entered into the post Civil War South for a time. I loved meeting Uncle Bob...who truly was a man of integrity & wisdom. I also developed a strong dislike to Colonel Burcham & found myself saying to Tamera, "Please, oh please do not marry Olivia off to the likes of him."(Thanks for listening, Tamera)As I read the last page & closed the book late one night, I was saddened. Saddened to leave Belle Meade Plantation & my new friends whose lives had become so dear to me. Please enter me into the drawing. lldietz(at)gmail(dot)com

Jlynn said...

why do I want to read it? why not??? EVERYTHING I've by Tamera Alexander is awesome! I would like to be entered for the chance to win. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book and read it! I love how Tamera Alexander writes and brings you back into that era and the only disappointment when reading her books is when you are finished... She writes in a way that makes you want the book to never end! :)

Anonymous said...

I cannot get it to work for me but I posted that comment... Lisa Medeiros (deiselbuffs@yahoo.ca) thanks and have a great day! Please enter me in the contest! Thanks

Nancy Kimball said...

WOW you guys all doubled my drawing names on the last day. Love it and thank you so much Tamera for your incredible research and bringing together such an amazing hero and a great book.

WE HAVE WINNERS!!!

Courtesy of Random.org the winner of the novel (print or ebook) is Kat.

The winner of the $10 Amazon or B&N giftcard is Judy Cook.

I'll be emailing you guys in about thirty seconds and everyone else thank you so much for your outpouring of support for FHF and Tamera.
We've got a new hero taking center stage in about four hours... see you soon and one more time...

Lt. Ridley Adam Cooper will rock your socks. Shuffle him to the top of the TBR or beg, borrow or steal (from a friend, hehe) a copy of To Whisper Her Name. Nancy out.

Marlene Hein said...

I am interested in reading your book, because I am the excerpt just "wet my appetite" for the rest of the story. :))

Anonymous said...

I hope I can still enter.
It isn't quite midnight here yet.
Our family is a BIG fan of Tamra Alexander and this is one book we don't have of hers.
There are a lot of us in this family who reads a lot and we would love to win it. It would get good use and we have many we can share with and recommend.
My email is worleybird10@live.com I'm H.D. Worley and we are setting up a blog

Kym McNabney said...

Read and loved! I have loved all her books I've read thus far.

Kathy Snavely said...

What woman wouldn't adore Ridley Cooper? Hoping we hear more from Colorado Territory; don't want to let these characters go!!

Nancy Kimball said...

Hi Kathy and welcome to FHF. To answer your question, I don't know, LOL. We LOVED Ridley. =)