Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Beauty So Rare

A Beauty So Rare is an adult Christian historical fiction by Tamera Alexander, and the second in the Belmont Mansion novels.

As is usually the case with Christian historical fiction trilogies or series – this book has a stand-alone story featuring its own characters, but there are overlap characters and tidbits of info from the first book that are more greatly appreciated when read in the correct order.

So, I still recommend reading A Lasting Impression first – which you can read my review of here.

This review will give nothing away of A Lasting Impression, however. So, you’re safe from spoilers!!

Eleanor Braddock – nearly thirty years old – had to come up with a plan.

Her father, once a prominent, intelligent, admired attorney, is ailing. Their money has been nearly completely depleted. Her mother has long since passed and her beloved brother died in the War Between the States.

Plain, tall and practical Eleanor has long accepted that she will never marry. She’s come up with a plan to save herself and her father’s livelihood – but it all depends on one thing.

Arriving at her aunt Adelicia’s sprawling, mesmerizing Belmont Mansion Eleanor knows she would be lost without her aunt’s generosity. Living with Adelicia, however, means living with the richest and possibly most demanding woman in America – let alone, Nashville.

Which will make her request all that much harder to pursue…

Marcus has been living life as a “normal” man in Nashville for a while now – following his passion for architecture and horticulture. He longs to combine the two by finally being able to build a structure of his own design – rather than the less expensive renovations that people are wanting in this time of economic struggle.

No one in Nashville knows the truth – that Marcus is actually Archduke Marcus Gottfried – royalty in Austria. He’s happily left behind that life – but only for a short time, as he knows loyalty and responsibility will call him to return to Austria by next summer.

Yet, when he meets Eleanor he finds in her an opportunity to pursue his dream.

And, for the first time, a building friendship that he savors. Never could he have imagined the feelings he is finding for a woman so unlike all of those he used to pursue during his shameful days in Austria.

Yet now, he can hardly see the plainness in her features that he first noticed…

I don’t want to give away more than that.

Tamera Alexander has long been one of my favorite Christina historical fiction authors – and she has kept that spot of regard after reading A Beauty So Rare.

Mmm, this was a good one!!!

First off, I loved that our heroine is plain and our hero very handsome. Happens so rarely in literature, movies, etc. Refreshing!

The difficulties facing Eleanor make her human and sympathetic. As those difficulties are delved into more and more – oh golly are they heartbreaking. Painfully so, in such a genuine, raw manner that offers no happily-ever-after answer.

As usual, Alexander pens refreshingly real characters with flaws, hopes, and a standing belief in God – that still needs strengthening, as is true of all of us.

A Beauty So Rare has dialogue that is smart, meaningful, lifelike and fun. Eleanor is quite humorous at times, and definitely an awesome, likable character. No simpering female here – she is opinionated, reasonable and kindhearted.

We get a plot that evolves and grows – mirroring the tender romance in A Beauty So Rare. There is definitely much more going on in the novel than JUST romance, which is always important to me, but the romance is done very, very well.

A Beauty So Rare is a highly satisfying, beautiful novel!

I’m looking forward to more from Tamera Alexander… hopefully soon!

*I received a copy of A Beauty So Rare from the Bethany House Book Reviewers program. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

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