A Beauty So Rare | Tamera Alexander

This book is amazing. Boom. Done.

Oh, so you were looking for little more with this review? That’s fair, so how about: This book is really, really, reallllllly amazing, so read it! Like now!

Alright…alright…I’ll try and share my love for this novel in a only a few words…

My first thought after finishing A Beauty So Rare was that I didn’t give it permission to end. I was not prepared nor willing for this story to end. But it did anyways.

So rude.

But y’all. I cried. I sighed. And then cried again.

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.

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.

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–and to the one man with whom she has no business falling in love.


I love stories where you connect so deeply with characters, you feel like they’re friends. Not only is that the case with both Eleanor and Marcus, but Tamera also creates incredible secondary characters as well. I wanted to be friends with the good ones and slap the other ones. A couple of side snaps of “oh no you didn’t” would have worked too. (Clearly I would have fit right in post Civil War Nashville).

Another thing I loved about this book? The discussion of beauty. What makes a person truly beautiful and how do we live that out? This book (as well as her other ones) also have a way of making the character’s faith natural. There’s some books I encounter that make me cringe because it’s so blatant or over the top a.k.a. NOT REAL LIFE. So while faith is in the book, it’s beautifully done. You see the character’s development, you see why it’s important to them and how it impacts their life.

It also reminded me that Tamera Alexander’s books are absolutely worth waiting for. I’ve read every single one and want to read every single one again. If you haven’t encountered her books, my dear sweet friend you need to fix that right quick!

So readers, have you read any of Tamera’s books? What’s one of your favorite time periods to read?

Where to buy: Amazon | | Christian Books

(Thank you Bethany House for the copy in exchange for my honest review)

A Lasting Impression | Tamera Alexander

Thanks to this wonderful creation called the Public Library, I’ve had the chance to read several more books. I’ve made myself cut down on the amount of books I actually buy (you think it would be easy!), so the gem of a library has allowed me to read a lot more books that looked interesting, but ones I never got around to. Why I didn’t get a library card earlier, one will never know.

Anyway, A Lasting Impression was the first I’ve read of Tamera Alexander and I loved it for several reasons.

A) It takes place in Nashville. I love Nashville.
B) It takes places post-Civil War. I love the historical era of the Civil War.
C) It deals a lot with art. I love art.
D) It’s a historical fiction novel. And you guessed it, I love love love historical fiction.

Alexander is a great story teller and I finished this book in a day. An excellent read and I’m excited to read more of her novels! Her next book, To Whisper Her Name (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel), is set to release this fall and will even overlap with some of the Belmont stories. I think this one will be fantastic as well!

I’ll leave you with some images from the actual Belle Meade Plantation. I was able to visit on my last trip to Nashville and hear and see all the history of that place. Enjoy!

Edit: 8/16/12 – Check out the retweet from the author!