Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: A Beauty So Rare

A Beauty So Rare
by Tamera Alexander

Why did you choose this book? It is historical fiction with a touch of Civil War
When did you read this book? May 2014
Who should read this book? readers of 1800s historical fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Here is a synopsis of A Beauty So Rare from TLC Book TOURS

Plain, practical Eleanor Braddock knows she will never marry, but with a dying soldier’s last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America–and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path–building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows’ and children’s home run contrary to Eleanor’s wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground–and a love neither of them expects. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

My Review

As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, give me a good Civil War era novel and I’m not going to pass up the chance to read it! This one has it’s opening during the war, but immediately progresses to the Reconstruction era.

Eleanor is a tall, strong woman who considers herself an ugly duckling. Along with the shortage of men returning from the war, her ‘plain’ appearance and her advanced age of 30 lead her to believe she will never marry and it is time to pursue life as a single woman. Unfortunately her once strong and capable father has developed dementia and with their finances depleted, she has found it necessary to sell the family home and give her father into the care of the local ‘insane asylum’. She avails herself of the hospitality of her wealthy ‘American royalty’ Aunt Adelicia until she can get the details in place to open a restaurant that she hopes will earn her enough money to provide for herself and her father’s medical care. But once she reveals her plan to her aunt, she is immediately made to understand this is an unsuitable plan for a woman of her class. While staying with her aunt, she meets the ‘under gardener’, Marcus Godfrey, who has some secret plans of his own.  

I have to say, when I first picked up this book, I was a little apprehensive. The book is well over 450 pages, and I had my doubts about it. However, it flowed very quickly and was hard to put down. The descriptions of the conservatory and the plant research Marcus was doing were fascinating, as were the references to some of the historical characters of the time, i.e. Luther Burbank and Gregor Mendel. And while Eleanor is fictional, Adelicia Acklen was a real person, as was her estate, Belmont. The mansion and grounds have been restored and are open to the public in Nashville. Fans of Civil War era fiction will want to pick this one up!

About Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded or nominated for numerous 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 Tennessee, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children.

Below is a book trailer that will give you a taste of the book!

My Rating:  ★★★1/2   3-1/2 Stars

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I received a copy of the book in return for an honest review, which you can read above.

Tamera’s TLC Book Tours Stops

Monday, April 28th:  The Overweight Bookshelf
Wednesday, April 30th:  Gidget’s Bookworms
Thursday, May 1st:  Broken Teepee
Monday, May 5th:  Luxury Reading
Wednesday, May 7th:  Reviews from the Heart
Thursday, May 8th:  A Chick Who Reads
Monday, May 12th:  Lavish Bookshelf
Wednesday, May 14th:  Mom in Love with Fiction
Thursday, May 15th:  WV Stitcher
Monday, May 19th:  Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, May 20th:  Time 2 Read
Wednesday, May 21st:  Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Thursday, May 22nd:  From L.A. to LA
Tuesday, May 27th:  2 Kids and Tired
Tuesday, May 27th:  Jorie Loves a Story
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