Book Review: A Lasting Impression (Belmont Mansion #1) by Tamera Alexander

After an unwanted past, Claire strives to create something that will last as an artist among Nashville's elite society in the 1860s.

Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee her home, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe, who shows her kindness by not turning her in to authorities. But when he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged him. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville society, Claire believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her past remains hidden.

The Federal Army destroyed Sutton's home, confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves.

Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Adelicia Acklen,
A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they really are.

Release Date: October 15, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Kelli

Tamera Alexander is quickly becoming a new favorite author for me.  I love her books: they are historical Christian fiction with clean, sweet love stories.  I can easily lose myself in one of her stories, and each one I read seems to be better than the last. 

A Lasting Impression is the first Belmont Mansion novel.  The Belmont Mansion series features Adelicia Acklen, one of the wealthiest women in the United States in the 1860s.   Tamera Alexander visited Belmont Mansion and knew that she was going to write about the home and its inhabitants.  Alexander was able to use some of Adelicia Acklen's correspondence to get a feel for what kind of woman she was, as she was developing her character.  Fiction novels based on real people and places are always so interesting to me.  I love the feeling that I'm learning about history as I read. 

As in her other novels, Alexander's writing style has such a great flow to it in A Lasting Impression.  I was drawn in from the very first page, and for such a long book, there really were no slow parts.  I like the way Alexander moves the story through time so effortlessly.  Oftentimes, skipping weeks feels like a jump ahead, and it makes the story feel choppy.  Not so with this novel.  The plot moved seamlessly forward at a pace that made it hard for me to put the book down.

Claire made a journey to faith in A Lasting Impression, and that part of the story was especially poignant.  Alexander wrote it beautifully, and one conversation in particular between Claire and Adelicia really stayed with me. 

Claire is an artist, and the emphasis on art made the story feel even richer.  I loved following Claire's creative process, even though she struggled at times.  Her struggles made her work more authentic for me.  And Adelicia's art collection was staggeringly beautiful---and that's just reading about it, not even seeing it!

The character development was very well-done, with a lot of growth in the characters throughout the course of the novel.  I loved that.  Alexander's imagery, as well, was outstanding. 

I really loved A Lasting Impression.  I can't get enough of Tamera Alexander's books!  If you are a fan of historical, Christian, or clean romance, I would highly recommend this series!

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