Eleanor Braddock–plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty–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.
Tamera Alexander is the USA Today bestselling author of numerous books, including A Lasting Impression, A Beauty So Rare, To Whisper Her Name, and From a Distance. Her richly drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide, as well as multiple industry awards.
These awards include two Christy Awards for Excellence in Christian fiction (and seven finalists), two RITA awards for Best Inspirational Romance, three Gayle Wilson Awards of Excellence, two Bookseller’s Best Awards, and being listed among Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction, among others.
After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville where they enjoy life with their two adult children who live nearby, and Jack, a precious—and precocious—silky terrier.
A short-list nominee for both the Inspy and Christy Awards, A Beauty So Rare is an historical romance novel fans of the genre are sure to love. Part of Tamera Alexander’s Belmont Mansion series, it can be read as a standalone novel. Well-developed characters and attention to historical detail make this book a recommended read.
Eleanor Braddock is not your typical Southern Belle. Taller than most women and some men, she has never been called beautiful and only occasionally handsome. But her intelligence and determination set her apart from others in post-Civil War Nashville. Marcus Jeffery knows what he wants and this Austrian-born man knows he can achieve his goals in America. But family duty may prevent his dreams from becoming reality.
A vibrant and bustling Nashville comes to life in A Beauty So Rare. The New South is slowly emerging, and its citizens are set on rebuilding it and their own lives. Alexander has created strong characters in Eleanor and Marcus. Both are restrained by convention and family duty and obligations, but are determined to make their own way. Secondary characters are well-developed as well and add to the novels appeal. The historical details of this novel give it a richness sure to draw in fans of the genre. The romance develops slowly but satisfactorily with a definite happy ending.
All in all, I liked A Beauty So Rare and would recommend it.
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(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)