Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Bethany House Publishers
“Everything comes with a cost, Eleanor. Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.”
-Adelicia Acklen Cheatham
In A Beauty So Rare, Eleanor Braddock, a plain, looking young woman about to turn 30, is forced to drop her father off at an insane asylum in Nashville after he cannot recover from the loss of his son during the Civil War. She struggles with her guilt at leaving him at the asylum, but she can no longer care for him. Eleanor is forced to live on the charity of her Aunt Adelicia Cheatham, one of the richest women in America.
As a result of Eleanor’s nursing career during the war, she carries an old handkerchief around with her at all times. She quietly makes a quest to find the soldier’s wife that embroidered the handkerchief for him prior to his death during the war. His last words left Eleanor with a hope that her life was not without purpose and the possibility of love.
Eleanor begins her life in Nashville with her aunt by trying to find funding to open a restaurant and share her passion for cooking. However, having the richest aunt in the city does not necessarily mean funding is available when the aunt disapproves of the venture.
During Eleanor’s stay with her aunt, she meets Marcus Geoffrey, a stunning man similar in age, who Eleanor mistakes for an under gardener. Eventually Marcus dispels her false impression that he is the under gardener and admits to being an architect and builder, who has a passion for plants and agriculture. There is more to Marcus then meets the eye and his details unfold throughout the course of the story.
The historical information is rich all through the novel. Details regarding mental health care, homeless women and children, agriculture, the House of Habsburg, and architecture following the Civil War are abundant in this novel. The story is set at the Belmont Mansion, an actual historic manor located in Nashville, Tennessee and built by Adelicia Cheatham and her second husband, Joseph Acklen.
The characters are well developed and show growth through the entire novel. They have depth of character, morals, and integrity.
I very much enjoyed this book. I have read many of Tamera Alexander’s books, and she always displays a warm sense of faith and inspiration. I believe both readers of historical fiction and readers of Christian inspirational works will enjoy this novel. Just a terrific narrative that pulls the reader into the drama, romance, and everyday life and struggles of the characters!
This ARC copy of A Beauty So Rare was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.