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Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Beauty So Rare...Review

About the book:
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.

Eleanor Braddock arrives at her aunt's home in Nashville, nearly destitute after the Civil War and being forced to institutionalize her father because of mental illness. Belmont Mansion is opulent and her aunt's life is far different than her own.  Eleanor is practical and plain. After working as a nurse during the war, she desires to support herself by opening a restaurant.

Marcus Gottfried, archduke of Austria, desires a life other than the royal court and royal responsibilities. With his love and knowledge of architecture and botany he also desires a life that is his own.  Thrown together as they work to build a home for widows, they each discover what is important in life.

I love strong heroines who don't need a man to be happy or successful, but who can find love on its own merit.  I adored Eleanor and her kindness and her goodness. These characters were well rounded and developed and I loved their interactions.

The historical aspect of this novel was fascinating.  I knew there were many widows and fatherless children after the war, but to read about it was quite different.  I appreciated the exploration of the humanitarian efforts expended on their behalf.

Sequel to A Lasting Impression, the book stands alone just fine. At 471 pages, this is quite the historical novel.  But don't let the length deter you.  This was also a book that I was reluctant to put down and anxious to pick back up again.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Tamera Alexander here.  You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 5/14

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

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