Monday, September 1, 2014

Beauty So Rare

A Beauty So Rare (Belmont Mansion, #2)
A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander
Visit the Author's website HERE
Publisher: Bethany House
Publishing Date: March 25, 2014
A Beauty So Rare (Belmont Mansion, #2)
Goodreads Summary:
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 via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Check out the ebook direct from the publisher

My Thoughts:
Sigh. This review is one that slipped under my radar. I read it over a month ago, jotted down some thoughts, and even though I enjoyed it, I apparently forgot to share that joy with the blogosphere. Please forgive me Bethany House, Netgalley, Tamera, and friends, if this review is a bit more scatter-brained then usual. 

'A Beauty So Rare' is slow, lengthy, but wonderful. Like a warm pot of soup simmering on the stove, this novel builds and warms, and builds and warms nestling it's way into your heart. The characters are given time to mature, become real and dear. And not just the main characters, but the secondary characters as well. The story itself is believable and realistic. The time frame and historic research done by the author shine through making it a star of the novel itself. 

Because of the length of the novel, Alexander is allowed to share interesting facts about botany and it quickly becomes a tie in piece to the theme of the novel: beauty. Eleanor is our leading lady and isn't considered outwardly beautiful. She struggles and resigns herself to never becoming married. But as her relationship with Marcus, aka our leading man, grows we learn, discover and unwind our way to the truth: beauty is so much more than skin deep. What an important message! 

The main relationship is adorable, touching, and mostly realistic. I don't think I can expound on my feelings there for sake of spoilers. Know that it ties in with my one dislike of the book: the ending which came quickly, crazily, and a bit too perfect.

A saga in the making, 'A Beauty So Rare' is book two of the Belmont Mansion series. I have not read book one and so can safely say 'Beauty' stands on it's own two legs. However, I NEED to go back and read book one in hopes that it is just as good as this second installment. I will also be pining, and hoping, and waiting, until book three releases! A bold 5 Stars from me. I would recommend it to those who love a historical romance with well developed characters and themes. And also wouldn't mind a bit of length :) 

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