A Beauty So Rare
By Tamara Alexander
Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
Book Description:
Pink is not what Eleanor Braddock ordered, but maybe it would soften the tempered steel of a woman who came through a war–and still had one to fight.
Eleanor Braddock–plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty–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.
My Review:
This lovely book is 480 pages long and meant to savor every page. I felt myself immersed in Eleanor’s life post-Civil War in the south. She faces issues of her father’s dementia, the pressure to marry, and her own desire to do something outside the realms of her station.
I was able to relate to her predicament on many levels. She was afraid to love; afraid to care after losing so many she cared for. Her aunt shows us that she cares, but in a controlled manner. Everything must be done by the book, there are many rules just befitting her station.
The pain that Ms. Alexander pours through the pages of how she had to allow others to care for her father, yet she loves him so much was so deeply moving. This book is not a “romance novel”, but a tale of how when someone feels unworthy of love and care because at every turn, it has let you done, keep looking. It can be there, and not always in a romantic way.
This book was given to me for review from Bethany House publishers. The review is my own words and I was not paid for it in any way.

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