Book Review: A Beauty So Rare (Belmont Mansion #2) by Tamera Alexander

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.
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Age Group: Adult
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Kelli
A Beauty So Rare was one of those books that I simply couldn't put down.  I loved it from the first page to the last, and didn't want it to end.

Eleanor was immediately likable, and so easy for me to relate to.  I really felt for her in her struggle to become her own woman and not depend on a man to survive.  Eleanor is honest, hardworking and dependable.  She is considered an old maid at age 29, and has reconciled herself to the fact that she'll never marry.  However, Eleanor's great dream is to own a restaurant and she does everything in her power to make that dream a reality.

Marcus was an enigma from the start.  I liked him too, but Eleanor was my favorite.  I liked the air of mystery surrounding Marcus, and the tension between he and Eleanor was palpable.  I wanted them to fall in love so badly! 

Alexander's books are Christian fiction, however the Christian element is handled with a light hand.  By that I mean that they aren't in-your-face Christian and if someone were not a fan of faith-based reads, I don't think that would stop them from enjoying these novels.  I think of Alexander's novels as clean historical romance.  I love how she conveys emotion and feelings between characters without going into the physical side of a relationship.  She does it perfectly, without feeling too sweet, yet the feelings are so raw they are palpable.

I loved everything about A Beauty So Rare and immediately bought another one of Alexander's books upon finishing it!

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