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Customer Reviews for Bethany House A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2

Bethany House A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2

She's plain, practical. No stunning Southern beauty. And she never wears pink...

Eleanor Braddock, a spinster at 30, 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 an orphanage, a place that will house widows and orphans from the Civil War. And while Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve.

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Customer Reviews for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Review 1 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Southern History with romance, adventure, intrigue

Date:July 21, 2014
Customer Avatar
memakf
Location:Ephrata,PA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is a story set in the late 1800’s in the south following the Civil War. The author weaves an excellent story that makes you feel like you are a part of that tumultuous time when the south was struggling to recover and families were trying to heal. The setting is a beautiful southern mansion that is an actual place you can go see today. There is plenty of romance, but I liked that the story was very full and capturing besides the romantic part of it. The two main characters are very different in personality and even if you don’t always agree with them, you end up cheering them both on. They each have obstacles to overcome as the story progresses and are woven into a tapestry of two lives blending together. Although this is book #2 in the Belmont Mansion group, it stands alone in the characters and story – the setting is the common thread.
I received this book from Bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review
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Review 2 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Queen of the Night blooms

Date:July 9, 2014
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
In Tamara Alexander’s latest novel we meet Eleanor Braddock who is dealing with some major life decisions. Having lost her mother to sickness and her brother in the Civil War, she is now dealing with her father’s dementia. Not a lot was known about the disease in those days, so with the help from her very wealthy Aunt Adelicia Acklen Cheatham she is able to send her father to an asylum with the hopes of him getting better. Eleanor, who is 29 and considered an old maid, had previously helped the doctors and nurses during the Civil War and saw many men die of their wounds, leaving their wives and children in dire circumstances. Determined not to be a burden to her Aunt and her household, Eleanor comes to Nashville, Tennessee with a desire to open a café. She just has to convince her Aunt to let her do this. Working in her Aunt’s conservatory, is Marcus Gottfried, who is keeping his identity of being Archduke of Austria a secret. He is trying to pursue his dual passions of botany and architecture. As they begin to interact with each other on more of a daily basis a friendship begins. One of the things I really enjoyed was the banter between Eleanor and Marcus. When Eleanor’s dreams are not realized and Marcus is about to lose all he has worked for in America, they both realize that maybe their plans and purposes have changed for the better good. Not only that, but a forbidden love has developed between them. I really enjoyed this tale, and at almost 500 pages it was one to be slowly devoured. I also enjoyed learning about the true life historical characters like Adelicia Acklen Cheatham who owned Belmont Mansion located in Tennessee and a bit of the House of Hapsburg of Austria. I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.
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Review 3 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great Historical Novel

Date:June 28, 2014
Customer Avatar
Anonymous
Location:GA
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is a 5-star plus book. I had never read this author's books before, but I loved this one.
The story is set in Nashville after the Civil War. The main characters are Eleanor Braddock, Aunt Adelicia Acklen, Archduke Marcus Gottifried from Austria, along with some good supporting characters. The characters are well developed in the story.
Eleanor's father is ailing and is being placed into a home where he can be taken care of and looked after around the clock. As a result Eleanor comes to the Belmont Mansion. Her aunt is the richest woman in America.
Eleanor wants to do something with her life and plans to never marry. Besides she is not a beautiful woman and has now reached the age where she does not have much opportunity. No man will ever look at her or fall in love with her or will they?
Marcus has come to Nashville seeking a life he can never have because he must return to Austria and assume his rightful duties. Will he and when? Why? Questions answered if you read the book. He loves to work with plants, flowers, etc. and Eleanor mistakes him for one who is the gardener but not the master gardener. What could they possibly have in common? Besides, he does not turn Eleanor's head like most women. He does not share his heritage with her.
Aunt Adelecia has promised she will find Eleanor a husband. She will want her to be secure as a result of a promise. She is high society and wants Eleanor to become part of it. Will Eleanor follow the direction of her aunt?
When Eleanor shares her plans for what she wants to do with her life, how will her aunt react. Will she love the ideas or scoff at them?????There are many twists and turns and how does a widows' home fit into all of this?
Will Marcus have other talents besides those of a gardener? How does he help a young fellow named Caleb, a widow's son?
There is so much to this novel, buy the book and read it. You will love it. Usually I read mysteries, but I was given the book by bookfun.org to review. This is my honest opinion and not because I have to give a certain rating. The book is interesting, long, but kept me reading even too late at night. This is one of the best books that I have read in quite awhile. I do hope you will buy this book and stay with it to the end. Enjoy!
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Review 4 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Tamera Alexander delivers again!

Date:June 22, 2014
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Eleanor Braddock's arrival at Belmont Mansion relieves some financial difficulties, but presents a new set of complications. Her wealthy and demanding aunt, Adelicia Acklen, provides her with a place to stay as well as proper care for her ailing father. However, Eleanor longs for more than an arranged marriage to a rich suitor of her aunt's choosing. She finds purpose and passion in serving the widows and orphans of the Civil War, but her endeavor brings her closer to Marcus Gottfried, an architect, botanist and man of secrets. Eleanor and Marcus have very different ideas about how to house the widows and orphans, yet even as they disagree, romance seems to unexpectedly arise. Read more in A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander.
A Beauty So Rare is the newest installment in Tamera Alexander's Belmont Mansion series. Though it's the second book of the series, it works fine as a stand-alone novel. I hadn't read the first one and didn't feel like I was missing anything. In traditional Tamera Alexander style, the book is long with plenty of twists, but the story never drags or becomes boring. I liked the character of Adelicia Acklen, but kept wishing someone would flat-out refuse to acquiesce to her. There was plenty character development for most of the characters and the romance was sweet. I recommend to fans of historical Christian fiction.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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Review 5 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Post Civil War, Romance, Faith, Helping Others

Date:June 9, 2014
Customer Avatar
Patsdream
Location:Huntsville, AL
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This is the first book I've read by Tamera Alexander. It started a little slow but the pace quickly picked up and the characters aren't perfect. Eleanor is unusually tall for the day, she believes she is rather plain and almost past marrying age. When she has to put her father in an institution and moves in with her aunt, whom is wealthy and in a lot of the leagues for women in Nashville. Eleanor meets Marcus and believes he's an under gardener for her aunt's estate. Eleanor wants to rent a building and start a café. When she goes to her aunt for advice and help she is turned down. She finds herself helping widows and children to have at least one meal a day. There are so many of them and the line keeps getting longer for those who lost loved ones in the Civil War.
This book shows the poverty of the widows and children left behind. New friendships abound, engagements by arrangements keep Eleanor and Marcus from being more than friends. Follow the characters in this book as they strive to not only improve their lives but those of others. You have those that truly live by faith, the women that can be so catty, others that give of whatever they have. I can see why Tamera Alexander is a well-loved author. I had heard so many nice things about her writing that I was glad to have received this book from the publisher (Bethany House) and Book Club Network. I received this book to read, review and to leave an honest opinion. All opinions are my own and any errors are mine. I do recommend this to any of Tamera Alexander's fans and those that are wondering if her books are really good.
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Review 6 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Beautifully written love story!

Date:June 4, 2014
Customer Avatar
SusanP
Location:Michigan
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
What a moving, beautifully written, heart tugging story of love and life after war. Tamera knows how to write a story to keep you engaged and wanting more. I felt like I was watching a movie and couldn’t drag myself away! Eleanor saw the hard realities of life as a nurse during the war. Now her life takes a turn down a path she can’t change. While trying to fulfill a dream she had always wanted, God shows her an even bigger reality that touches so many more lives than she could have ever hoped to. Her path crosses with Marcus, a man hiding his real life to try and make a name for himself in America. I love the chemistry and fun sparks that fly between these two. Tamera has a gift for that! All the while Eleanor is living in the huge Belmont Mansion with her stubborn and head strong, but lovable, aunt Adelicia.
Wonderfully strong characters and real to life problems and trials make this a must-read. The trusting of God throughout the book reminds us we need to rely on Him. I highly recommend this fantastic read!
I received this book from bookfun.org for an honest review.
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Review 7 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A great Christian fiction novel

Date:May 28, 2014
Customer Avatar
Donna
Location:Georgia
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
A wonderful and delightful book by Tamera Alexanders that is well written with great secondary characters. Time well spent reading this story.
Eleanor Braddock a volunteer caring for the wounded sets out to fulfill a promise to a dying soldier. She has accepted that she will never marry. After the war she moves to Nashville to live with her wealthy Aunt Adelicia Acklen Cheatham in order to provide for herself and get her father the medical help he needs. She wants to open a cafe but her aunt who is very demanding and feels being a cook is demeaning has plans to secure a husband for Eleanor. Instead of fulfilling her dream to open a cafe and cook she ventures to help the widows, children and orphans who are poor and starving. In the same building she had rented for her business she cooks and serves free food to those in need. Eleanor is a giving, compassionate hard worker with a loving heart.
Archduke Marcus Gottfried travels from Austria to Nashville to escape his heritage and destiny knowing that he will one day have to return to rule his country. He pursues his love of building beautiful buildings and structures and his love for Botany. He is drawn to Eleanor but knows this is futile since he cannot stay in Nashville.
What happens to their relationship? To Eleanor's dreams?
Loved the relationships between Eleanor and her aunt, Caleb, his mother and Marcus as well as his relationship to Adelicia, Eleanor's father, the children and Eleanor.
A beautiful story. I recommend this book..
I received a copy of this book from bookfun.org for my honest opinion and review.
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Review 8 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Date:May 28, 2014
Customer Avatar
Marilyn
Location:Coral Springs, FL
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is the 2nd book in the series "A Belmont Mansion", however you do not need to read the first one to understand this one. I have not read book one, yet and had no problem keeping up with what was going on.
Eleanor Braddock has faced many hard times. After the war she must sell her family home and move to the Belmont Mansion to live with her very wealthy aunt. She also must place her father in a home to try and help him get better. Eleanor is a very independent, straightforward woman of almost 30. She knows she is not a beautiful woman and now has nothing to offer any husband. She has ideas of her own that don't fit a woman of her social status. She feels she must do things that her Aunt, whom she is a lot alike, wishes because she is now at her mercy. When she feels like God is leading her to start a home for Children and widows, the hands on way in which she desires to do this is not what is expected of someone from her upbringing. Can she ever do what it is she feels God intended for her? Will her father ever recover? And can she ever let herself truly love without fear?
Marcus Gottfried has secrets of his own that he does not want anyone in America to discover. He is a very talented architect and schooled in Botany. While he is designing and grafting plants, he never imagined the chemistry that he would find in Eleanor. He is used to woman flocking at him and looking his way, so when she seems to not be affected by him it stirs his interest even further. When they are placed together in many different circumstances the sparks fly. Can he become the man she believes him to be?
I was given a copy of this book from bookfun.org (the book club network) for my honest opinion. I truly enjoyed this book. I love the dialogue and spunk in the novel. I would definitely recommend it.
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Review 9 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The Reconstruction, A Home For Widows and Romance

Date:May 26, 2014
Customer Avatar
VicsMediaRoom
Location:Irvine, CA
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Tamera Alexander in her new book, “A Beauty So Rare” Book Two in the Belmont Mansion series published by Bethany House introduces us to Eleanor Braddock.
From the Back Cover: 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.
From the USA Today bestselling author Tamera Alexander 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.
Post Civil War Nashville and The Reconstruction really potent ingredients in a historical novel. This was a terrible time in The South and Ms. Alexander has brought much of the emotion to these pages. Eleanor wants to build a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War and there are lots of them as we lost many men during the battles. Marcus is the architect that is helping her. Together they explore the talents of the other and begin romance. Ms. Alexander explores the theme of beauty and what others see it is and what we see it is. She also explores what makes a person special, is it titles or our uniqueness? Tamera Alexander has written a well done novel that I recommend highly.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 10 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Awesome! Beautiful!

Date:May 26, 2014
Customer Avatar
mountains
Location:Alberta Canada
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Book #2 in Tamera Alexander's Belmont Mansion Series is well written, exquisitely described and thoroughly enjoyable.
I love Tamera's stories. Her beautiful writing draws me in as a reader and entices my heart and my mind. This book was no exception. The beauty of the book comes out in the theme of gardening, recovering from the Civil War and the inner beauty of people that captures our hearts and binds us to them. Alexander's story of Eleanor and Marcus story is powerful ... and beautiful.
The historical backdrop takes the reader back to Post-Civil War Nashville. The theme portrays the struggle both inward and out of the role beauty plays in our lives. The contrast between the stunning and magnificent Belmont Mansion and the high society around it versus the inner streets of Nashville littered with poverty and despair is quite exquisite. Alexander also introduces the often skipped over theme of mental illness and how it was handled back in those days. A fascinating and riveting read.
There were a lot of complimentary characters in A Beauty So Rare. It enhanced the story and widened the spiritual arc of the characters. However I did find it a little distracting from the main plot. Personally I prefer stories with a more focused main plot. The story lines with the other characters were interesting and did not detract from the main story - only a little distracting from the romance thread. Yet, I would definitely agree that the extra characters and story lines added immense depth to the time period of the story.
Again, Tamera Alexander has done a marvelously, beautiful work of historical fiction bringing vividly to life Nashville in 1868. The Belmont Mansion, first introduced to readers in A Lasting Impression was again written with such precise imagery.
This is not my most favorite book of Tamera's but I did enjoy it and wholeheartedly recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction, with a healthy dose of romance and a moving spiritual plot.
Thanks to Bethany House and Baker Publishing for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 11 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

Date:May 21, 2014
Customer Avatar
MrsTina
Location:Frederick, MD
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
A Beauty So Rare, A Belmont Mansion Novel Book 2 ***** by Tamera Alexander
Eleanor Braddock, is in her late 20's and still unmarried. Eleanor has resigned herself that she will never find love, marry and have children of her own, as she is too tall and far too plain, what man would want her? The war is now over and Eleanor finds they are in dire financial difficulties and must sell her family home. Her father's health has taken a disturbing turn and he must be put in a facility where he will be cared for. With her heart breaking over leaving her father, Eleanor makes her way to her Aunt Adelicia Acklen Cheatham's home, the Belmont Mansion, in Nashville, Tennessee. Belmont looks much the same as she remembers from her last visit years ago and is hopeful that she will not have to stay with her aunt for long. She plans to find employment, a small place of her own and bring her father home again if he is able. However, her aunt has other plans which do not include Eleanor working—an affluent woman working of all things—but a proper marriage to a man of their station.
Austrian Archduke Gerhard Marcus Gottfried von Habsburg is in Nashville to pursue a dream he has long had instead of the life that is mapped out for him in Austria, including an arranged marriage. Known in Nashville as Mr. Marcus Geoffrey, a “common man”, he is working with plants in the conservatory at Belmont Mansion developing a rose per Adelicia's very detailed specifications. As an amateur botanist he enjoys working with plants but his true dream is in architecture and he longs to build a building like none other in Nashville. However, his architecture plans do not go as hoped.
Unlikely circumstances bring Eleanor and Marcus together repeatedly and they find they share many common interests. When a long time dream of Eleanor's is not meant to be, God places on her heart to open a widows and childrens home. Together Eleanor and Marcus work diligently to finish renovating the home by the agreed date. As they spend more time together they find a budding attraction far beyond friendship. But anything other than friendship is out of the question. There are secrets that both Eleanor and Marcus keep hidden, but secrets are about to be revealed. What will the consequences be once they are made known? Will it forever change their budding romance? Will Marcus really leave Nashville and return to Austria? What does God have in store for them?
While the story started a little slow, it does pick up and captures your attention. I found myself rooting for Eleanor and Marcus and all they had gone through in their lives as well as the widows and orphans. Society certainly frowned on unconventional behavior in women of that time. But our heroine meets these challenges head on and learns a great deal about herself. As does our hero once he arrives in America and finds his own way to becoming the man he was meant to be. I loved the way Eleanor, even with so much opposition against her, championed for the underprivileged widows and orphans; a sad fact of war. Tamera Alexander does a great job grafting in bits of historical facts within the characters lives much as Marcus did with his plants. Humor between the two main characters is delightful to watch and their growing faith. There is much to this beautifully written story. Tamera gives some background of the history of the Belmont Manson and Habsburg in Austria at the end of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed A Beauty So Rare.
~~I received a copy of this book from the Book Club Network for my review~~
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Review 12 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

LOVED IT!

Date:May 20, 2014
Customer Avatar
Jean
Location:West Palm Beach, FL
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
My first Tamera Alexander book....what a treat!! I am now hooked on a new author, and am avidly seeking out other books written by the author. That is how much I enjoyed this book. I enjoy books of a historical nature, and this one took us into the the civil war era, and gave us a peek at the culture at that time. The characters were depicted with such diversity. There was the overbearing Hightowers, the charming Mr. Geoffrey, the independent, wealthy Aunt Adelicia, her nonsensical niece, Miss Braddock, Miss Braddock's father suffering from dementia among a myriad of other interesting characters. The story line held mystery, pathos, deception with hints of impending romance. I was riveted to this book and read it as quickly as possible to quell my curiosity. I highly recommend this book.
I received this book from the author through bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 13 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Beauty So Far

Date:May 18, 2014
Customer Avatar
Amy C
Location:VA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
A Beauty So Rare (Belmont Mansion, #2) is the first book I have read by Tamera Alexander. I thought this book was delightful, fun and inspiring. I loved the history and felt like I was transported back in time for 470 pages. The characters of Marcus and Eleanor were a fun pair and loved reading about their growing friendship.
I did find the book to be slightly slow in the first third of the book but it does pick up quite a bit after that.
It looks like I will have to go back to my to be read shelf and pick up the other books I have from Tamera Alexander and read those as well.
Recommended.
4 1/2 stars
I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review which has been given.
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Review 14 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Very good

Date:May 17, 2014
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Thereadmaster
Location:Davenport,Iowa
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I enjoyed this book a lot. I liked how Eleanor was helping the war widows even though her aunt didn't't like the idea too well. I liked how Marcus was working on the perfect flowers and trying to improve the potatoes. I felt it seemed a little long in some places but it worked out in the end. I look forward to reading many more books by Tamera Alexander. I received this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest opinion.
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Review 15 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Read it even if hist. fiction isn't your genre

Date:May 16, 2014
Customer Avatar
Heather
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Historical fiction is the one genre I say I don’t enjoy to read. But, as part of the Book Club Network (bookfun.org), I decided to stretch myself and try something new. I was not disappointed! As much as I didn’t want to give in to the romantic side in me, I was sucked in. I think it helped that the book opens on the battlefield! Tamera Alexander does a fantastic job weaving historical realities into a fictional story. She brought me into Nashville, a few years after it was ravaged by war.
We are introduced to Eleanor, not the typical Southern belle focused on marrying well. She is quite the forward thinker, much ahead of her time. Unfortunately, that is not well received in her world. Faith is interwoven, yet not in your face. However, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until almost to the end. Eleanor is the embodiment of the Proverbs 31 woman, minus the married aspect. This haunts her throughout the book and brings a large portion of the plot. I truly felt for her as she dealt with more than a person should have to in a lifetime and she was dealing with it all at once!
The book has such a redeeming quality, reminding the reader (or perhaps making them think of it for the first time) to open your eyes to the world and be aware of people around you. Whether it be the downtrodden, those in “lowly” roles, those affected by the harsh realities of this life or even the “high and mighty” that seem so secure but let you see their scars if you just take the time to look. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a well told story with little twists of mystery and a character you would love to call a friend.
This book was provided to me for a fair and honest review.
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Review 16 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Gorgeous cover, equally wonderful story

Date:May 14, 2014
Customer Avatar
crtnybc
Location:British Columbia, Canada
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I loved the first book this series, A Lasting Impression, and this story is just as captivating. Despite their length, these books do not disappoint from the first chapter to the last. They are full of strong characters, intrigue and history.
Set at the historic Belmont Mansion, this story combines real historical characters with fictional ones and does so seamlessly. The cover is gorgeous and the story inside truly lives up to its cover. So much happens in this story, and it kept my attention all the way along. Eleanor's passion is cooking but something so very domestic is frowned upon for someone of her station. It's simply not done. Her dream is to open a restaurant but when her very rich aunt hears of it she simply won't allow it. As for Marcus, I recently read another book that tried the whole prince in disguise thing and really couldn't pull it off, but it definitely works here.
This is a beautiful story I absolutely love. It's funny and interesting - definitely one of the very best books of the year to date. You won't be disappointed.
This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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Review 17 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Her Best Book Yet!!

Date:May 14, 2014
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Patti Jo
Location:Georgia
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I've been a Tamera Alexander fan since reading her very first book, and have since read and loved each book she's written. But I must say, in my humble opinion, A Beauty So Rare is this author's BEST book yet. I was completely caught up in the lives of the two main characters, Eleanor and Marcus, and enjoyed reading about the developments that happened in their lives, and also about Nashville at that time in history. For me, the story was never predictable, which added to the reading enjoyment. The ending was very satisfying, making me eager to read Tamera Alexander's next book! I highly recommend A Beauty So Rare, and happily give it 5 stars.
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Review 18 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Love this author!

Date:May 13, 2014
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Irene
Location:United States
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
It was great to read about a character that had flaws and was not described as the most beautiful girl in the room! I gave this book 5/5 stars as it was excellent entertainment. The book had a lot of story lines and yet they were all tied together in such a way that you were not disappointed at the end. I liked how the two main characters of Eleanor and Marcus did not like each other at first. Their conversations were most entertaining! I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the author, Tamera Alexander. I would also recommend this book to anyone looking for a novel about a strong women character with more brains then beauty!
I would like to thank the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
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Review 19 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

An Awesome Book

Date:May 13, 2014
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homeschoolmom24
Location:Alabama
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
About the Book:
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.
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Tamera Alexander is an award-winning novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose have earned her devoted readers worldwide, and multiple industry awards. Among them, the Christy Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader's Choice Award, the Bookseller's Best Award, and the prestigious Library Journal's top honors for Inspirational Fiction. Tamera's books are published internationally, and she'll visit Germany and Switzerland on a book signing/speaking tour in June 2014. Visit www.TameraAlexander.com for more details.
My Review:
Eleanor's life has been quite the struggle, between the war and her ailing father, she never was able to marry. Soon Eleanor's aunt, the richest woman she knows, comes to the rescue because Eleanor is now destitute. As she arrives at her Aunt Adelicia's home, she soon realizes the plans her aunt has for her. Ans as a result she isn't too thrilled with the idea of looking for possible suitors.
Marcus wants a life, he chooses for himself not one that is predetermined. Coming from royalty, his life is always in someone else's hands. Soon his and Eleanor's paths cross and he feels instantly drawn to her as she does him. But he is terrified to continue to pursue her, in the reality that after she finds out about him, things could go terribly wrong for the love he has for her.
**Disclosure** This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from Book Fun.
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Review 20 for A Beauty So Rare, Belmont Mansion Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Lovely Trip to Nashville

Date:May 12, 2014
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KGD history teacher
Location:Florida
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Having lost her brother during the Civil War, Eleanor Braddock finds herself having to care for her ailing father alone. With cash quickly running out, she finds a place that will care for him with his rapidly deteriorating mental condition. The only place left for her to turn is to her ultra-wealthy aunt, Adelicia Acklen. Unfortunately, Adelicia does not approve of Eleanor’s only plan to support herself – opening a restaurant. Instead, Adelicia decides that she most honor a promise to Eleanor’s father to make sure she is cared for. How better than to see that Eleanor marries well. Unfortunately, the only choice is someone Eleanor could never love nor is he someone who would ever see her as more than a business asset. Eleanor begins to find meaning in her helping feed and clothe the many widows and orphans who have found themselves in Nashville. Unfortunately, without some assistance, this will come to an end.
Marcus Gottfried, an heir to the Austrian throne, has come to America incognito. Marcus is interested in botany, architecture, and amazingly, Eleanor. Marcus knows he must return to his heritage and his arranged marriage. How will Marcus and Eleanor reconcile their family obligations and stay true to each other and their higher calling?
This is the second novel about Adelicia Acklen, a real character, and her beautiful Belmont Mansion. The reader does not need to have read the first to enjoy this one. This story brought out the plight of the widows and orphans who flocked to some of the southern cities in search of the remains of their loved ones and also those who were left widowed after immigrating to the United States. It was a delightful read with even some interesting information about breeding plants thrown in.
I received this book from the Book Club Network for my honest opinion.
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