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A Beauty So Rare (Belmont Mansion Series #2)
     

A Beauty So Rare (Belmont Mansion Series #2)

4.7 39
by Tamera Alexander
 

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Pink is not what Eleanor Braddock ordered, but maybe it would soften the tempered steel of a woman who came through a war—and still had one to fight.

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

Overview

Pink is not what Eleanor Braddock ordered, but maybe it would soften the tempered steel of a woman who came through a war—and still had one to fight.

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.

From USA Today bestselling author Tamera Alexander comes a moving historical novel about a bold young woman drawn to a group of people forgotten by Nashville society—and to the one man with whom she has no business falling in love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/03/2014
Bestseller Alexander will delight fans of gently inspirational historical romance with the second Belmont Mansion novel (after A Lasting Impression). In post–Civil War Nashville, Eleanor Braddock regretfully takes her father to an asylum because of his memory loss and outbursts, and moves in with her aunt Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, owner of Belmont, a real historical figure. Eleanor’s plan to open a restaurant is vetoed by Adelicia, so Eleanor uses her cooking skills to feed the city’s many struggling widows and children. Eleanor often runs into Marcus Geoffrey, whom she at first mistakes for an undergardener, but his activities suggest that there’s much more to his life. They become friends, but both have secrets that threaten to undermine their relationship. Alexander’s lengthy tale is full of bends and curves, as Eleanor and Marcus face down their struggles, deal with romantic entanglements, and begin to achieve their greatest dreams. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Library Journal
04/15/2014
After a stint volunteering at a Confederate field hospital during the Civil War, Eleanor Braddock spearheads a project to build housing for orphaned children as well as adults left homeless after the war. Her wealthy aunt agrees to be the benefactress, but architect Marcus Geoffrey has a secret. Next in line for the Austrian throne, he had hoped to make his home in the United States and work to repair the decimated South. Unfortunately, his father, the current emperor, has requested that he return to take his proper place. Marcus and Eleanor are brought together to design and build the orphanage—a dream they both share. A mutual attraction develops, but Eleanor's aunt has other plans for her niece, and someone is about to reveal Marcus's true identity. VERDICT Two-time Christy Award winner Alexander continues her historical series (after A Lasting Impression) with this sweeping Southern romance that is engaging and full of hope. Recommended for fans of Robin Lee Hatcher and Francine Rivers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780764206238
Publisher:
Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/01/2014
Series:
Belmont Mansion Series , #2
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
429,511
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)

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Meet the Author

Two-time Christy Award winner (and six-time Christy finalist) Tamera Alexander is the author of nine novels, all of which have been bestsellers. She and her husband make their home in Nashville, Tennessee, where their two adult children live nearby. Learn more at www.tameraalexander.com.

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A Beauty So Rare 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous 12 months ago
rscTN More than 1 year ago
good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its been weeks since the first death, but the memory is so vivid, it could have been yesterday. <p> It started as a normal day a school, we played, talked, did work, and then, came lunch. I was eating a sandwhich an listening to a kid in my class name Michael Everheart, and my best friend, Suzume, or Zu as she liked to be called, locked deep into a debate about whether there was actually blood coming from Zu's cut, or if it was something else. "Hah! I bet it's fa-," Michael got halfway through his sentence before his eyes rolled back in his head and h slumped forward onto his food. We all looke at eachother with th same thought," he fainted." But it was not so. <p>There was quite a commotion afterwards. The noon aides (the old women who walk around during lunch and recess to make sure we behave) ran over and set Michael on the ground. One of them cecked his wrist for a pulse and the other called 911. It wasn't until a kid nudged Michaels hand with his shoe that we realized he was dead. <p> Small feet rushed towards the classrroms in a small stampede leaving me at the lunch tables. I collapsed unconciouss but it only lasted for a moment because my head hit the ground with a loud crack and a sharp pain that woke me up. I opened my eye and saw that Zu as standing above me now and screaming my name -Sierra-. <p>I caught a glimpse of an ambulance with its flashing lights, before everything went black.<p> I hope you like it!!! This is either my first or second FanFic. Please comment!!!! <br> ~Jade
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loriweller1 More than 1 year ago
A Beauty So Rare  is an incredible book. It is a typical Tamara Alexander read that keeps you entertained from start to finish. Eleanor lost her mother and brother during the Civil War, and her father is suffering from dementia. Eleanor places her father in an asylum for treatment. There is plenty of romance, trials encountered, and obstacles in place. Despite it being a long book, it seems to go so quickly. I can't wait to continue reading Tamara's books.I received this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Captivating! Tamera Alexander is a masterful author of historical fiction and romance. &quot;A Beauty So Rare&quot; is no exception! From the hospital tents toward the end of the Civil War and their gruesome particulars to the extravagant wealth represented at Belmont Mansion, detailing is well orchestrated. The Belmont Mansion's conservatory reveals architecture and statuary that rival landmarks in Rome, not to mention the grandeur of the roses and other floral plants that it houses. The ravages of poverty are depicted as brilliantly as the spectacular beauty and artistry possessed by the wealthiest woman in America. Characters are developed with strong attributes, well exemplified in their varied positions, whether it be impoverished or those of prestige and prominence. Romance is palpable between the unlikeliest of characters, and arranged suitors are not necessarily prone to love. I fell in love with the descriptive elements in &quot;A Beauty So Rare.&quot; I highly recommend another of Tamera Alexander's beautifully written novels! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Bethany House through the Book Fun For Readers Only program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Heather06 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved A Beauty so Rare.  I think that it teaches us that we don't have to be beautiful on the outside to be a beautiful person.  Most of us only see our faults and we can't see beyond that.   All Eleanor Braddock ever wanted to do was to take care of people.  She grew up on a Southern plantation and taught herself to cook which is something that she absolutely loves to do.  She served as a nurse in the Civil War and suffered with each soldier that died.  When she has to move to live with her aunt in Nashville, she has a dream to open a restaurant in order to keep herself and her father with a roof over their head, however, her aunt is wealthy and of course no relative of hers would ever be seen working.  Eleanor continues with her dream and in the end she makes her dream come true along with Marcus Gottfried's dream.   I love Tamara Alexander and can't wait to read more of her books.  I received a free copy of this book for my honest review from Bookfun.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
In Tamara Alexander&rsquo;s latest novel we meet Eleanor Braddock who is dealing with some major life decisions. Having lost her mother to sickness and her brother in the Civil War, she is now dealing with her father&rsquo;s dementia. Not a lot was known about the disease in those days, so with the help from her very wealthy Aunt Adelicia Acklen Cheatham she is able to send her father to an asylum with the hopes of him getting better. Eleanor, who is 29 and considered an old maid, had previously helped the doctors and nurses during the Civil War and saw many men die of their wounds, leaving their wives and children in dire circumstances. Determined not to be a burden to her Aunt and her household, Eleanor comes to Nashville, Tennessee with a desire to open a caf&eacute;. She just has to convince her Aunt to let her do this. Working in her Aunt&rsquo;s conservatory, is Marcus Gottfried, who is keeping his identity of being Archduke of Austria a secret. He is trying to pursue his dual passions of botany and architecture. As they begin to interact with each other on more of a daily basis a friendship begins. One of the things I really enjoyed was the banter between Eleanor and Marcus. When Eleanor&rsquo;s dreams are not realized and Marcus is about to lose all he has worked for in America, they both realize that maybe their plans and purposes have changed for the better good. Not only that, but a forbidden love has developed between them. I really enjoyed this tale, and at almost 500 pages it was one to be slowly devoured. I also enjoyed learning about the true life historical characters like Adelicia Acklen Cheatham who owned Belmont Mansion located in Tennessee and a bit of the House of Hapsburg of Austria. I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.
Sprinkle23 More than 1 year ago
Eleanor Braddock's arrival at Belmont Mansion relieves some financial difficulties, but presents a new set of complications. Her wealthy and demanding aunt, Adelicia Acklen, provides her with a place to stay as well as proper care for her ailing father.  However, Eleanor longs for more than an arranged marriage to a rich suitor of her aunt's choosing.  She finds purpose and passion in serving the widows and orphans of the Civil War, but her endeavor brings her closer to Marcus Gottfried, an architect, botanist and man of secrets.  Eleanor and Marcus have very different ideas about how to house the widows and orphans, yet even as they disagree, romance seems to unexpectedly arise. Read more in A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander. A Beauty So Rare is the newest installment in Tamera Alexander's Belmont Mansion series. Though it's the second book of the series, it works fine as a stand-alone novel.  I hadn't read the first one and didn't feel like I was missing anything. In traditional Tamera Alexander style, the book is long with plenty of twists, but the story never drags or becomes boring.  I liked the character of Adelicia Acklen, but kept wishing someone would flat-out refuse to acquiesce to her. There was plenty character development for most of the characters and the romance was sweet.  I recommend to fans of historical Christian fiction. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission&rsquo;s 16 CFR, Part 255: &quot;Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.&quot;
PatGMoore More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by Tamera Alexander. It started a little slow but the pace quickly picked up and the characters aren't perfect. Eleanor is unusually tall for the day, she believes she is rather plain and almost past marrying age. When she has to put her father in an institution and moves in with her aunt, whom is wealthy and in a lot of the leagues for women in Nashville. Eleanor meets Marcus and believes he's an under gardener for her aunt's estate. Eleanor wants to rent a building and start a caf&eacute;. When she goes to her aunt for advice and help she is turned down. She finds herself helping widows and children to have at least one meal a day. There are so many of them and the line keeps getting longer for those who lost loved ones in the Civil War. This book shows the poverty of the widows and children left behind. New friendships abound, engagements by arrangements keep Eleanor and Marcus from being more than friends. Follow the characters in this book as they strive to not only improve their lives but those of others. You have those that truly live by faith, the women that can be so catty, others that give of whatever they have. I can see why Tamera Alexander is a well-loved author. I had heard so many nice things about her writing that I was glad to have received this book from the publisher (Bethany House) and Book Club Network. I received this book to read, review and to leave an honest opinion. All opinions are my own and any errors are mine. I do recommend this to any of Tamera Alexander's fans and those that are wondering if her books are really good.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Tamera Alexander in her new book, &ldquo;A Beauty So Rare&rdquo; Book Two in the Belmont Mansion series published by Bethany House  introduces us to Eleanor Braddock. From the Back Cover:  Pink is not what Eleanor Braddock ordered, but maybe it would soften the tempered steel of a woman who came through a war&ndash;and still had one to fight. Eleanor Braddock&ndash;plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty&ndash;knows she will never marry. But with a dying soldier&rsquo;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&ndash;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&ndash;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&rsquo; and children&rsquo;s home run contrary to Eleanor&rsquo;s wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground&ndash;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. From the USA Today bestselling author Tamera Alexander comes a moving historical novel about a bold young woman drawn to a group of people forgotten by Nashville society&ndash;and to the one man with whom she has no business falling in love. Post Civil War Nashville and The Reconstruction really potent ingredients in a historical novel.  This was a terrible time in The South and Ms. Alexander has brought much of the emotion to these pages.  Eleanor wants to build a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War and there are lots of them as we lost many men during the battles.  Marcus is the architect that is helping her.  Together they explore the talents of the other and begin romance. Ms. Alexander explores the theme of beauty and what others see it is and what we see it is.  She also explores what makes a person special, is it titles or our uniqueness?  Tamera Alexander has written a well done novel that I recommend highly. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission&rsquo;s 16 CFR, Part 255: &ldquo;Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.&rdquo;
MountainsJJ More than 1 year ago
Book #2 in Tamera Alexander's Belmont Mansion Series is well written, exquisitely described and thoroughly enjoyable. I love Tamera's stories. Her beautiful writing draws me in as a reader and entices my heart and my mind. This book was no exception. The beauty of the book comes out in the theme of gardening, recovering from the Civil War and the inner beauty of people that captures our hearts and binds us to them. Alexander's story of Eleanor and Marcus story is powerful ... and beautiful. The historical backdrop takes the reader back to Post-Civil War Nashville. The theme portrays the struggle both inward and out of the role beauty plays in our lives. The contrast between the stunning and magnificent Belmont Mansion and the high society around it versus the inner streets of Nashville littered with poverty and despair is quite exquisite. Alexander also introduces the often skipped over theme of mental illness and how it was handled back in those days. A fascinating and riveting read.   There were a lot of complimentary characters in A Beauty So Rare. It enhanced the story and widened the spiritual arc of the characters. However I did find it a little distracting from the main plot. Personally I prefer stories with a more focused main plot. The story lines with the other characters were interesting and did not detract from the main story - only a little distracting from the romance thread. Yet, I would definitely agree that the extra characters and story lines added immense depth to the time period of the story. Again, Tamera Alexander has done a marvelously, beautiful work of historical fiction bringing vividly to life Nashville in 1868. The Belmont Mansion, first introduced to readers in A Lasting Impression was again written with such precise imagery.  This is not my most favorite book of Tamera's but I did enjoy it and wholeheartedly recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction, with a healthy dose of romance and a moving spiritual plot. Thanks to Bethany House and Baker Publishing for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
MrsTina42MR More than 1 year ago
A Beauty So Rare, A Belmont Mansion Novel Book 2 ***** by Tamera Alexander Eleanor Braddock, is in her late 20's and still unmarried. Eleanor has resigned herself that she will never find love, marry and have children of her own, as she is too tall and far too plain, what man would want her? The war is now over and Eleanor finds they are in dire financial difficulties and must sell her family home. Her father's health has taken a disturbing turn and he must be put in a facility where he will be cared for. With her heart breaking over leaving her father, Eleanor makes her way to her Aunt Adelicia Acklen Cheatham's home, the Belmont Mansion, in Nashville, Tennessee. Belmont looks much the same as she remembers from her last visit years ago and is hopeful that she will not have to stay with her aunt for long. She plans to find employment, a small place of her own and bring her father home again if he is able. However, her aunt has other plans which do not include Eleanor working&mdash;an affluent woman working of all things&mdash;but a proper marriage to a man of their station. Austrian Archduke Gerhard Marcus Gottfried von Habsburg is in Nashville to pursue a dream he has long had instead of the life that is mapped out for him in Austria, including an arranged marriage. Known in Nashville as Mr. Marcus Geoffrey, a &ldquo;common man&rdquo;, he is working with plants in the conservatory at Belmont Mansion developing a rose per Adelicia's very detailed specifications. As an amateur botanist he enjoys working with plants but his true dream is in architecture and he longs to build a building like none other in Nashville. However, his architecture plans do not go as hoped. Unlikely circumstances bring Eleanor and Marcus together repeatedly and they find they share many common interests. When a long time dream of Eleanor's is not meant to be, God places on her heart to open a widows and childrens home. Together Eleanor and Marcus work diligently to finish renovating the home by the agreed date. As they spend more time together they find a budding attraction far beyond friendship. But anything other than friendship is out of the question. There are secrets that both Eleanor and Marcus keep hidden, but secrets are about to be revealed. What will the consequences be once they are made known? Will it forever change their budding romance? Will Marcus really leave Nashville and return to Austria? What does God have in store for them? While the story started a little slow, it does pick up and captures your attention. I found myself rooting for Eleanor and Marcus and all they had gone through in their lives as well as the widows and orphans. Society certainly frowned on unconventional behavior in women of that time. But our heroine meets these challenges head on and learns a great deal about herself. As does our hero once he arrives in America and finds his own way to becoming the man he was meant to be. I loved the way Eleanor, even with so much opposition against her, championed for the underprivileged widows and orphans; a sad fact of war. Tamera Alexander does a great job grafting in bits of historical facts within the characters lives much as Marcus did with his plants. Humor between the two main characters is delightful to watch and their growing faith. There is much to this beautifully written story. Tamera gives some background of the history of the Belmont Manson and Habsburg in Austria at the end of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed A Beauty So Rare. ~~I received a copy of this book from the Book Club Network for my review~~
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
 I enjoyed this book a lot.  I liked how Eleanor was helping the war widows even though her aunt didn't't like the idea too well.  I liked how Marcus was working on the perfect flowers and trying to improve the potatoes.  I felt it seemed a little long in some places but it worked out in the end.  I look forward to reading many more books by Tamera Alexander.  I received this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest opinion.
SweetPea_3 More than 1 year ago
I loved the first book this series, A Lasting Impression, and this story is just as captivating. Despite their length, these books do not disappoint from the first chapter to the last. They are full of strong characters, intrigue and history.  Set at the historic Belmont Mansion, this story combines real historical characters with fictional ones and does so seamlessly. The cover is gorgeous and the story inside truly lives up to its cover.  So much happens in this story, and it kept my attention all the way along. Eleanor's passion is cooking but something so very domestic is frowned upon for someone of her station. It's simply not done. Her dream is to open a restaurant but when her very rich aunt hears of it she simply won't allow it. As for Marcus, I recently read another book that tried the whole prince in disguise thing and really couldn't pull it off, but it definitely works here.  This is a beautiful story I absolutely love. It's funny and interesting - definitely one of the very best books of the year to date. You won't be disappointed. This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Karen02KD More than 1 year ago
Having lost her brother during the Civil War, Eleanor Braddock finds herself having to care for her ailing father alone. With cash quickly running out, she finds a place that will care for him with his rapidly deteriorating mental condition. The only place left for her to turn is to her ultra-wealthy aunt, Adelicia Acklen. Unfortunately, Adelicia does not approve of Eleanor&rsquo;s only plan to support herself &ndash; opening a restaurant. Instead, Adelicia decides that she most honor a promise to Eleanor&rsquo;s father to make sure she is cared for. How better than to see that Eleanor marries well. Unfortunately, the only choice is someone Eleanor could never love nor is he someone who would ever see her as more than a business asset. Eleanor begins to find meaning in her helping feed and clothe the many widows and orphans who have found themselves in Nashville. Unfortunately, without some assistance, this will come to an end. Marcus Gottfried, an heir to the Austrian throne, has come to America incognito. Marcus is interested in botany, architecture, and amazingly, Eleanor. Marcus knows he must return to his heritage and his arranged marriage. How will Marcus and Eleanor reconcile their family obligations and stay true to each other and their higher calling? This is the second novel about Adelicia Acklen, a real character, and her beautiful Belmont Mansion. The reader does not need to have read the first to enjoy this one. This story brought out the plight of the widows and orphans who flocked to some of the southern cities in search of the remains of their loved ones and also those who were left widowed after immigrating to the United States. It was a delightful read with even some interesting information about breeding plants thrown in. I received this book from the Book Club Network for my honest opinion.
weatherlover1 More than 1 year ago
Loved it! This is book two in the series. I have not read the first book but the books are not overly tied together and can easily be read as a stand alone. I enjoyed this book a great deal. What I liked: Eleanor has a lot on her plate. Her father has memory issues and she has made the hard choice to put him in an asylum. Not only is she dealing with the grief of her decision she is also dealing with the fact she has very little money to take care of her father as well. I just loved her character and how in-depth this book was. Marcus was also very likable. He has his own issues to work through and he keeps most of them from Eleanor which makes for an interesting story. Aunt Adelicia was more of a side character but she added great dynamic to the plot. What I did not like: There is little to complain about in this book. There where a few times the book seemed to drag on but nothing major.      Overall this was a great book. It&rsquo;s a true novel as it was very long and filled with lots of detail. As I stated above there was a few times I thought it was dragging on but overall the story was enjoyable. The plot was great. I loved how Marcus was actually a prince and how Eleanor at first wanted to open a restaurant so she could afford to have her dad taken care of. When that dream fell through she followed Gods lead and found a way to take care of lots of people.      I hope to go back and read the first book in the series at some point. I am looking forward to seeing what the next book will be about.  I highly recommend it!
LisetteRue More than 1 year ago
Tamera Alexander writes a lovely Christian historical fiction story of the upper crust and those down on their luck, cautious love and adamant denial of, euphoria and heartache. Alexander&rsquo;s &ldquo;A Beauty So Rare&rdquo; is a tale of status, expectation, battle (though not necessarily in the context of war) and taking the time to hear God. It&rsquo;s a tale of hope amidst darkness. This was the first book I&rsquo;ve read by Alexander, and I enjoyed its charm and how much I connected with it, though I did feel like it was one hundred pages too long. However, that didn&rsquo;t stop me from reading all the pages and discovering that I like the main characters for the way the author portrayed them. I appreciated that Eleanor wasn&rsquo;t an unexciting Southern Belle and was instead made to be a woman of intelligence and deep conviction, sensible though it is, with a generous heart and who looks more average than model-beautiful. Her commitment to her father, despite his &ldquo;ailment,&rdquo; is very worthy as well. Like many other readers, I appreciate that from a reader&rsquo;s viewpoint and a real life eagle-eye view. I even liked Marcus and comparing the person he&rsquo;s become to the person he probably was in Austria. After all, improving one&rsquo;s character is no small thing! And Adelicia is also interesting. She&rsquo;s more than willing to give money and goods to the less fortunate, but has trouble giving physically &ndash; helping like Eleanor does by cooking &ndash; due to status. How does her thinking in 1868 compare to thinking in 2014? -- Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are expressly my own.
Shay14 More than 1 year ago
absolutely love Tamera Alexander's writing. She has a way of pulling you into the story and leaving you wanting more. This sweet story is no exception. The story itself has a lot of components that are woven together seamlessly. It focuses on time period specific issue: women's rights, treatment of immigrants, mental illness, and the recovery of a nation after war. It's often hard to appreciate the beauty in life after something as ugly as war, and Tamera doesn't diminish that fact, in the least. That is something I can really appreciate, especially in light of my circumstances. The characters, oh the characters! I absolutely fell in love with Eleanor. She is kind, sweet, witty, and strong. She is, indeed, a beauty so rare. Her development, while important, is not as highly played up as Marcus' development. I believe that was done because Eleanor is already the person God wants her to be, she just has to learn to embrace and trust. Marcus, on the other hand, while handsome and witty, had a lot to learn. His development from prideful to humble was an experience I think everyone goes through at one time or another. We all question our place in the world and do our best to find out where we belong. One important note: I REALLY did not like Adelicia Cheatham. I understand what she was trying to do for her niece and I admire her strength and ambition, but I just didn't like her! The message was fantastic. I absolutely enjoyed seeing Eleanor and Marcus' journeys, which were both separate, but similar. While there thoughts are different in regards to God, their realizations were very similar. God doesn't protect us from all the hurts in life. Sometimes, He allows pain and suffering, even war, to come. What we have to grasp is that everything happens for a reason. We may never know the answer to the &quot;why's&quot; in life, but we have to learn to trust God and his righteousness. The Bible says in Isaiah 55:9, &quot;For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.&quot; - NKJV (thank you Tamera for including this verse in your reading guide, it fits perfectly!).
JAEJE More than 1 year ago
This is the second novel in the Belmont Mansion series. Tamera Alexander is an accomplished writer who brings this Civil War story to life. Based on the true life of the riches woman in America (at that time). Belmont College is located on the mansion's property. Loved this book!
WishEnd More than 1 year ago
This was such a beautiful story! The historical setting was perfect and well-researched. The writing immersed me in Eleanor and Marcus' world. There is heartache, but then there is also inspiration, humor, and love interwoven into the story.  I loved the characters! The dialogue between Eleanor and Marcus was really great. That would probably be my favorite aspect of the story. The first time that Eleanor and Marcus talk to each other it immediately reminded me of Darcy and Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. They both have some preconceived notions of who the other is and their conversation is witty, snarky, and made me laugh! That same sarcasm and attraction evident between Marcus and Eleanor from the beginning eventually mellows, but they continue to challenge each other and become such good friends. This is a story of faith, hardship, family, hope, friendship, love, and finding who you are and not who you've been told you are. It's also about taking risks and learning that some things just aren't as important as you thought they were, and that others are much more. I highly recommend A Beauty So Rare to Christian Romance and Historical Romance readers!! Content: Clean Source: From the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way.
AwakenedAnew More than 1 year ago
Memorable characters and a great story line are what keep us turning the pages of a new book long after we should be asleep at night. Tamera Alexander, has delivered both in her new historical novel, A Beauty so Rare. Tamera doesn&rsquo;t shy away from having her characters face difficult situations. From the moment the book begins with Eleanor in a field hospital during the Civil War, listening to the last regrets of a dying soldier, I was hooked.  This hard to put down novel challenges us to trust God in times of uncertainty, to see the people that may be hurting around us, and to embrace the courage to live out lives of purpose. I highly recommend this book!
parmilespages More than 1 year ago
&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve walked by this tree countless times, and never once have I stopped to think about what was beneath.&rdquo;  This quote from A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander describes Eleanor Braddock.  She is a plain and ordinary woman but under the surface she has an abundance of character. Along with Eleanor, there are many likable characters in this book, for instance young Caleb with his mature wisdom and generous heart.  Then on the opposite side of the spectrum there was Mayor Adler and Miss Hightower who were not very endearing and added drama to the narrative.  Ms. Alexander does such a nice job of describing scenes and causing the reader to become emotionally involved in the story.  For example, in one of the scenes where Eleanor was interacting with her father the scene was so tender I had tears in my eyes and when she was interacting with Marcus in another scene my pulse quickened along with Eleanor&rsquo;s. The author also uses metaphors to enhance understanding and give the novel depth.  As she did in the scene when Marcus and Eleanor are exploring the tunnel;  &ldquo; &lsquo;A fascinating thing about plants.&rdquo; he said, &lsquo;and nature in general, is what can be accomplished given time, and persistence&hellip;   and I am reminded, yet again, of how strong nature really is.&rsquo;&rdquo;  Although Marcus&rsquo;s statement describes the plant life they are observing, I thought it also described the personalities of Eleanor, Marcus, Naomi, and Caleb.  My only criticism of the book is toward the latter part of the novel when Eleanor responds to Marcus&rsquo;s question.  I thought her initial response was inconsistent with the portrayal of her character throughout the preceding section of the story.   I really enjoyed this delightful book and would definitely recommend it for anyone who fancies historical fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
A Beauty So Rare, or a woman that feels she is ugly and out of options as far as marriage goes. How sad, and on top of all her brilliant lawyer father, is suffering from dementia. She is now forced to sell her family home, and place her father in a mental hospital, and this is breaking her heart. She was raised with the proverbial silver spoon, and comes from affluent society, and cultured up bringing. Her Aunt by marriage to a deceased Uncle, is coming to her rescue for a short time, and helping with her father. So we enter and now live in Belmont Mansion in Nashville, Tennessee, and here is splendor that we walk and enjoy with Eleanor Braddock. Through her I could almost smell the beauty of the flowers in the conservatory. The War Between the States has just ended and people are trying hard to get back to some normalcy of life. We travel the streets here in Nashville, seeing the differences in the people with much and the people with nothing. We also meet Archduke Marcus Gottfried, or Marcus Geoffrey as he is know by all here in the States. He is described as one very handsome, easy on the eyes, fellow. He has a gift in building and designing and working as an architect and on a side note, his passion seems to be botany, which brings him to be working at Belmont. Of course these two, Eleanor and Marcus are thrown together at various times, and you will love the compassion shown by both to various people, and unknown to one another some of the same people. Come and join them as they bicker and travel through the tunnel under the Conservatory, and although the book is rather long, you will hate for it to end. Not wanting to leave it, for real life, and wanting to know what is going to happen. Enjoy, I did!! I received this book through the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have long been a fan of Tamera Alexander and her stories. A Beauty So Rare held every element and reminder why I&rsquo;m always so happy to read and recommend her books. The setting of this novel drew me in from the very start, the characters and their various pursuits committed my heart to them almost immediately, and the last page left me smiling. What more could a reader ask for? We begin our journey with the determined heroine, Eleanor Braddock, at the very end of the Civil War in Tennessee. If you think her last battle is over, though, you&rsquo;re about to be proven wrong. This young woman is not your average leading lady. It&rsquo;s not her outward beauty and family&rsquo;s notorious heritage that invites your admiration and respect, but her inner strength, her humble heart, and her passion for the people whose lives unexpectedly cross with hers. I couldn&rsquo;t help but love the people who surround Eleanor in this story either. The struggling widows and the orphans. Her ill father, whose dementia was sadly familiar as I have watched my own grandpa battle this mind-deteriorating disease. And especially Marcus, the Archduke from Austria, who has come to Nashville hiding his own secrets to pursue a dream his family does not approve of. Fascinating fragments of history abound throughout, including the breathtaking Belmont Mansion, which still stands today. At times, the fiction blended so vividly into the facts that I felt like I was reading a true diary account of a bold young woman who challenged her community and the man who challenged her. The obstacles that thwart our fictional friends leave thought-provoking lessons for all of us. Amidst dangerous expectations, insecurities, misunderstandings, and surprising secrets, what I enjoyed most was the endearing friendship between Eleanor and Marcus. So often in my favorite books, sparks of tension and disagreement introduce the relationship. I liked the different approach the author took with these two. Their initial battle of wits sparks a rather adorable friendship instead. Every rose has its thorn, though, and their relationship is certainly tested as the story develops. I believe this is Tamera&rsquo;s lengthiest book to date. I will say that at moments I felt the story could have been condensed, but the added layers and depth did help paint a more realistic tale. Readers are given time to be acquainted with the thickening plot and before you know it, you&rsquo;ll feel a part of the blossoming landscape surrounding Eleanor and Marcus and their budding friendship-against-the-odds. A Beauty So Rare is a story readers will remember and undoubtedly return to read more than once. This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the Bethany House publishers for my copy.