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A Beauty So Rare (A Belmont Mansion Novel) Paperback – April 1, 2014


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Product Details

  • Series: A Belmont Mansion Novel (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764206230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764206238
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* After Eleanor Braddock’s brother is killed fighting for the South, and her father is institutionalized, she has no choice but to move into Belmont Mansion with her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America. Adelicia is obsessed with finding a proper husband for her too-tall spinster niece and insists that Eleanor conform to society expectations. But Eleanor, who volunteered on the battlefields of the Civil War, feels called to establish a home for war widows and their children. Marcus Geoffrey is in Nashville to enjoy a respite from his duties and dabble in some plant breeding, and Adelicia has given him permission to perform his experiments in her greenhouse. When Eleanor has a run-in with Marcus, she has no idea that he is an archduke from the House of Habsburg, second in line to the Austrian throne, and under orders to marry Baroness Maria Elizabeth Albrecht von Haas. As Marcus and Eleanor strive for freedom from others’ demands, they grow close despite overwhelming odds. Alexander’s (Within My Heart, 2010) exquisitely written historical tale is filled with unforgettable characters, a romance that seems hopeless, and a close-up look at the aftermath of a war that nearly destroyed the country. --Shelley Mosley

Review

"Better than sweet tea on a veranda. I want to live at Belmont!"
~ Francine Rivers, New York Times bestselling author of Redeeming Love about A Lasting Impression (a Belmont Mansion novel)


"Pure reading pleasure."
~ Liz Curtis Higgs, NYT Bestselling author of A Thorn in My Heart about To Whisper Her Name (a Belle Meade Plantation novel)


"To put it simply: This book is a full-on HIT!"
~ USA Today about A Lasting Impression, a Belmont Mansion novel


"Romance, secrets and Civil War battles line the pages of Alexander's second in her Belmont Mansion series. Fantastic!" 4 1/2 Starred Review
~  Romantic Times about A Beauty So Rare
 
"Bestseller Alexander will delight fans... 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."
Publishers Weekly about A Beauty So Rare


"Alexander's exquisitely written historical tale is filled with unforgettable characters, a romance that seems hopeless, and a close-up look at the aftermath of a war that nearly destroyed our country."
~ Shelly Mosley (Booklist)

Customer Reviews

The characters are well developed in the story.
Barbara
The characters of Marcus and Eleanor were a fun pair and loved reading about their growing friendship.
Amy C
I wanted to read quickly to finish this book, but I tried to savor it as it should be savored.
Susan Snodgrass

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Susan Snodgrass on March 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I own every single one of Tamera Alexander's books. She writes well and I've loved everyone. But this one....it's her absolute best! All 480 pages were just terrific.

Eleanor Braddock is nearly 30, plain and has nothing to offer in the marriage market. Her father is ill and she accepts her Aunt Adelicia Acklin's offer to come live with her at Belmont Mansion. Eleanor has no interest in the little teas and parties her aunt has planned for her, but feels she must consent since she is living off her aunt's charity. Her heart lies elsewhere, but she is doomed to disappointment. Her dream does not ever seem it will come true.

Marcus Geoffrey is hiding a secret, a very deep secret. He can't risk anyone knowing this secret,either. Marcus's passion is for nature and architecture and he is indeed talented in this area. Things just don't seem to cooperate for his dream, either.

Eleanor and Marcus begin work on a widow and children's home but they can't seem to agree on everything. They begin to develop feelings for one another but Eleanor knows her aunt will never approve of this. Besides, Marcus is not free. Or is he?

Tamera Alexander has a way of creating characters that seem so real they nearly jump off the pages. This book was so rich and full, like nothing I'd ever read. I cherished every sentence.

This book is Christian fiction and a romance. Some Christian fiction authors push the envelope way too far to remain a clean novel. Tamera Alexander never does that. She manages to create romance just with a conversation. I loved that this book was clean but still romantic.

Also, in the spiritual realm, the reader learns that what we want and long for and know is best for us is not always God's best for us.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Jo on March 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
Tamera Alexander has a marvelous way of weaving romantic tales with actual historical locations. I have become a fan of her novels, always expecting a great read, and A Beauty So Rare does not disappoint! This story is set in Nashville, at the Belmont Mansion in the aftermath of the Civil War. Adelicia Acklen is the mistress of Belmont and actually is a real person who was considered to be American Royalty throughout the South during the 19th Century.

The main character in this story is Eleanor Braddock. She is not a typical southern belle, and thinks of herself as plain and unappealing. Her life recently took a downward spiral, as so many lives did because of the war. Adelicia Acklen is Eleanor's aunt, by marriage. She invites Eleanor to live with her and expects her to be swept into her high society lifestyle. She also wants to settle her niece into a married life with an appropriate suitor. Eleanor is never comfortable with that, and is more concerned with those less fortunate. When she arrives at Belmont, Eleanor meets Marcus Geoffrey. He is employed by Adelicia and has a serious interest in botany. Marcus works on developing beautiful plants and flowers for the estate. He is also an architect and has dreams of building a grand and beautiful public building in Nashville. Thos dreams are dashed. Eleanor also has dreams, less grand, of opening a restaurant, which her aunt crushes. A lady of society would never consider cooking for others. It is simply not done! Both Eleanor and Marcus are also hiding secrets from their past. Marcus is not who he seems to be and is hiding his true identity. Eleanor does not want him to find out about her true circumstances in life. They both understand that they can't allow themselves to fall in love. Their hearts do not hold the same understanding.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Carley on March 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Eleanor has always known that she was plain. Now that her father's mental health is failing, she accepts the help of her aunt, who is considered American Royalty. Eleanor isn't used to that kind of life and has little use for it. What she really wants to do is open up her own restaurant, but she needs the approval of her aunt. Unfortunately, her aunt doesn't feel like that's a suitable vocation for a lady of her station, so Eleanor is on her own.

Marcus has left his home in Austria to come to America. He's never been close to his family and is enjoying this new sense of freedom that he's experiencing. He's intrigued by Eleanor, but his past and his true identity prevent him from declaring his feelings, sometimes even to himself. Eventually he comes around and has to decide whether or not to find a way to make his life what he wants it to be.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were easily liked and the settings descriptive. It was so good, I ended up finishing it in two days. The historical elements were woven into the story in a great way and I was pleased to find the notes at the end to separate the facts from fiction.

This is the second book in the Belmont Mansion series. The first book is A Lasting Impression. The characters from that book make small appearances in this book, making it okay to read this series out of order.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RCBR on May 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Life has not been kind to Eleanor Braddock but he doesn’t intend to let it get her down. In time maybe, just maybe, she and her father will be a family again. The late war (Civil War) has deprived the Braddocks of much. For Eleanor memories of the dead and dying of the field hospitals forever linger in her mind; for her father the loss of a dear son and wife has left a wound that seemingly even time cannot heal. Eleanor is distraught over her father’s deteriorating mental condition and the harsh words he flings at her cut deep. But with the help of an aunt she hopes he will soon be on the mend. And in the meantime Eleanor attempts to strike it out on her own. Along the way she meets up with an enigma by the name of Marcus Gottfried who has his own secrets he isn’t ready to part with.

At one time I would have read anything that was written by Tamera Alexander, but I don’t believe I would anymore. In the last year I have attempted to read different books by her but they not longer have the appeal they once did. Mainly due to uncomfortable content or lack of action. With A Beauty so Rare I felt there wasn’t enough action and perhaps just a little bit too much mystery (believe me, I can’t believe I just said that either – I usually love too much mystery). I really could not get into the whole cooking-botany-architecture thing of this book. A little bit too niche perhaps? Now people with an interest in that sort of thing will probably revel in their good luck after stumbling upon such a book. But not I. The characters themselves were mediocre; they weren’t very colorful but they had SOME backbone so that is indeed a plus. Meh, overall an okay read.
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More About the Author

I grew up reading anything and everything I could, so it was a natural step when my interest eventually turned to writing. To date, I've published ten award-winning and bestselling novels including my April 2014 release, A BEAUTY SO RARE, which debuted on the CBA bestseller list and stayed on the list for three months, thanks to you!

I write what some of my readers have termed historical "grit-lit," which is Southern historical fiction/romance set in post-Civil War Nashville. I also write Colorado Territory historicals set in the wilds and grandeur of the Rocky Mountains where I lived for over seventeen years. At the heart of each of my books is a female and male protagonist at crucial turning points in their lives. As each story has unfolded in my writing, I've taken the couple's journey with them and hope you'll enjoy taking each of these journeys too.

I live in Nashville, Tennessee, with my husband--not far from the antebellum mansions about which I write--and with Jack, our sweet little Silky Terrier. My husband and I have two grown children who live nearby as well, which makes life pretty wonderful.

My next release, TO WIN HER FAVOR, publishes in May 2015, and is the second standalone novel in the Belle Meade Plantation series set, of course, right here in Nashville, TN at the famous Belle Meade Plantation founded in 1807. My other Southern series is set at the opulent Belmont Mansion (now surrounded by Belmont University), which was built by Adelicia Acklen in 1853. Both of these mansions are house museums that welcome patrons so I encourage you to visit Belmont and Belle Meade if ever you're in Nashville.

For more about my books, please visit www.TameraAlexander.com or join me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TameraAlexander or on Twitter @TameraAlexander

(Photo credit: Mandy Whitley Photography)

--Tamera's Books by series--

Tamera's series novels are "standalones," meaning the stories may be loosely connected by continuing characters, but each novel is a complete story in itself.

FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES
Rekindled, Fountain Creek Chronicles, Book 1, Bethany House Publishers (ISBN 0-7642-0108-5)
Revealed, Fountain Creek Chronicles, Book 2, Bethany House Publishers (ISBN 0-7642-0109-3)
Remembered, Fountain Creek Chronicles, Book 3, Bethany House Publishers (ISBN 0-7642-0110-7)
Fountain Creek Chronicles Trilogy, Books 1- 3 in one volume, Bethany House Publishers (ISBN 978-0-7642-0736-5)

TIMBER RIDGE REFLECTIONS
From a Distance, Timber Ridge Reflections, Book 1, Bethany House Publishers (ISBN 978-0-7642-0389-3)
Beyond This Moment, Timber Ridge Reflections, Book 2, Bethany House Publishers (ISBN 978-0-7642-0390-9)
Within My Heart, Timber Ridge Reflections, Book 3, Bethany House Publishers (ISBN 0-7642-0391-6)

STANDALONE NOVEL
The Inheritance, Women of Faith Fiction, Thomas Nelson Publishers (ISBN 978-1-59554-632-6)

BELMONT MANSION NOVELS (1 of 3)
A Lasting Impression, the first stand-alone novel in the Belmont Mansion series, Bethany House Publishers (ISBN 978-0764206221)
A Beauty So Rare, the second stand-alone novel in the Belmont Mansion series, Bethany House Publishers (ISBN 978-0764206238)
Book Three (2016)

BELLE MEADE PLANTATION NOVELS (1 of 3)
To Whisper Her Name, the first stand-alone novel in the Belle Meade Plantation series, Zondervan Publishers/Harper Collins (ISBN 978-0310291060)
To Win Her Favor, the second stand-alone novel in the Belle Meade Plantation series, Zondervan Publishers/Harper Collins (April 2015)
Book Three (2016)

A Southern Novella Collection
Among the Fair Magnolias (four Southern love stories, Harper Collins Christian Publishing, releasing Summer 2015)


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