Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander is an author that I trust to pull me into the past. Her stories are rich, thick, and filled with history. When I was given the chance to review A Beauty So Rare, the second in the Belmont Mansion series, I rushed to accept.
Set in 1868 Nashville, this story involves beautiful gardens, an insane asylum, Austrian royalty, and the admirable Adelicia Acklen. The heroine, Eleanor Braddock, is Adelicia's niece. I wanted to love Eleanor, but she did strike me as...plain--and I don't simply mean her appearance.
While I've always loved Alexander's writing style, A Beauty So Rare did not keep my attention as well as her other novels. The plot progressed too slowly. I longed for more action.
Of course, your reading experience might be completely different from mine. Alexander possesses extreme talent, and she handles historical detail with excellence. This particular novel simply wasn't my favorite.
I encourage you to read this one, especially if you are a fan of Nashville.

Backcover Blurb:
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.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*


  1. Thanks for sharing your review. I haven't read this title yet. I love Tamera Alexander, especially her early work, but the Belmont Mansion series has been hard for me to get into and stick with.

    That, said, I loved her To Whisper Her Name, though it also took me a while to really settle in to the style and enjoy the reading experience.

    Adelicia Acklen is such an intriguing character! I'm pretty sure I'd be scared of her in real life. :)

  2. Thanks, Natalie!
    Yeah, I definitely enjoyed To Whisper Her Name. Tamara Alexander's style is more formal (which fits her stories) so I usually have trouble getting comfortable with them. But they are still excellent books, to be sure!
    I'm excited to finish the book I'll be reviewing next--Love Comes Calling. The heroine is nothing short of hilarious.

    Thanks for stopping by!