Reviewed by Charity Lyman
I have long been a fan of Tamera Alexander so I was excited to have the opportunity to review her newest novel, A Beauty So Rare. This book is part of the Belmont Mansion series and I just have to say, after reading these, I would love to go visit the houses or mansions these are based on. If they are half as beautiful as Alexander paints them to be it would be a wonderful pleasure and something I would never forget. Anyways, back to the book!
This novel is set in 1868, a few short years after the Civil War has ended. The heroine, Eleanor, is a woman of strength and tall in stature. She also happens to be single in a time when men are few and far between. Eleanor has a lot on her plate right now: her family is losing their home and her father is struggling with his mind. Eleanor comes to the unfortunate realization that there’s nothing left to do but place her father in an asylum and move in with her aunt, owner of the famed Belmont Mansion. When she arrives, she meets Marcus Geoffrey, the man she mistakes for an under-gardener but who is actually an architect. Of course, there is even more intrigue with Marcus as we find out that he is really a member of an Austrian royal family and is in the United States on an undercover mission of sorts. Will the two of them follow their hearts and find true love? Or will they both follow the courses set before them and settle for the practical and common sense?
I thoroughly fell in love with Eleanor. She was strong, vivacious and not afraid to stand for what she believed in. When she started cooking for the widowed and the children it just made me love her more. Maybe because I wished I was more like her. Tamera Alexander wrote a character that was so fleshed out it made me both smile and shed some tears. Marcus was a good counter for Eleanor. Cautious and almost full of himself I didn’t care for him at first. Eleanor often referred to him as Adonis, so it was clear that he was handsome and knew it. He was used to the women fawning over him so Eleanor came as a surprise. But once I got to know his character better, I loved him too. His devotion to Caleb and the people at the asylum were great.
Alexander really makes you enter the world of high society where the ladies think of nothing more than the newest outfits and who will marry who. And yet, I also had the opportunity to read about the unfortunate and the homeless who went without food and shelter. There was one scene where a young girl cried over a bowl of spilled soup and the way Alexander penned this just made the tears come to my eyes. This was definitely a five star book. I wish I could give it more!!
Charity lives in Illinois and is the oldest of 6 children. The family also has 3 dogs and a cat. Reading is a hobby when not cooking, baking, sewing or enjoying music. She reads many different genres but Christian fiction is a favorite. Charity can be found often at her blog, Giveaway Lady.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Bethany House Publishers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.