Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Inspiration Behind A Beauty So Rare + Review

I love learning about the inspiration behind books, especially when they are books that I completely fell in love with. I must admit, that is definitely the case with this book (more to come in my review below)!

Anyway, I really like how Tamera Alexander used real people and places as well a fictional people in her books. The combination made for a fantastic setting. Now to visit Belmont!

A Beauty So Rare (Belmont Mansion, #2)A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Beauty So Rare Goodreads Summary
From the USA Today bestselling author of To Whisper Her Name and A Lasting Impression 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.

Eleanor Braddock, a spinster--plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty--has long since dismissed any hope of marriage. But when a dying soldier whispers his final words, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. But this compassionate deed takes a harsh turn, and Eleanor finds herself dependent upon the richest woman in America and the most despised woman in Nashville--her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, mistress of Belmont Mansion. A clandestine act of kindness leads Eleanor to an unlikely path for her life--building a home for destitute widows and children from the Civil War. And while Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve.

Gerhard Marcus Gottfried, Archduke of the House of Habsburg and fourth in line to the Austrian throne, arrives in Nashville in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Collaborating with botanist Luther Burbank, Marcus seeks to combine his own passion for nature with his expertise in architecture. But his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widow's and children's home run contrary to the wishes of practical, frugal Eleanor, who sees his ideas as costly nonsense.

Yet as the construction project continues, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground--and a love neither of them expected. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor to marry, and even if he were, someone who knows Marcus's secrets is about to reveal them all.

My Review
A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander is a wonderful book that quickly earned a spot on my favorites shelf! I can't say enough to recommend this book, but here are some of the reasons why I loved it so much.

The main characters! From the beginning we see that Eleanor is such a kind, compassionate, intelligent, and witty character. She was so relatable, from her view of her looks to her love of her family and cooking. It was so sad to see what she and her father went through. Her faith in God, her struggles, and her determination and compassion towards helping others were truly amazing. There were times when this book broke my heart, but more than anything it inspired me and I aspire to be like Eleanor.

Then there was Marcus! At first referred to as Adonis (anyone care to guess why?), but throughout the book we see his true character and what a remarkable man he truly is through his love of architecture, flowers, grafting the perfect potato, and his desire to live the life he would choose for himself instead of the life set out for him by his father and uncle.

Eleanor and Marcus, along with the widows and children in this story were very inspiring, and I found so many places in this book that spoke to me. They went through very inspiring character journeys, while learning to trust in God. In order to not spoil the book I will say no more on that, you really MUST read it!

The setting - Nashville Tennessee, after the civil war, Belmont Mansion, the reconstruction, the conservatory. There were also characters that were real people as well as those that were fictional, which made this book even more interesting.

I loved the relationship between Eleanor and Marcus because it was a true friendship, and there were many times where their banter would make me laugh, cry, and I will admit that there were multiple times when I couldn't stop smiling!

This is a truly phenomenal book, and I wish I could go back and reread it right now. I will definitely be picking up the first book in the series (A Lasting Impression) soon, as well as more books by Tamera Alexander.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This review is solely my honest opinion and was not affected by this in any way.

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