A Beauty So Rare / by Tamera Alexander. 3.7.2016

Bethany House ISBN 9780764206238

Adult Rating: 5

Eleanor Braddock is plain and sensible, not a woman that attracts men. Convinced she will never marry, Eleanor, upon hearing a dying soldier’s final words, is determined to make her life count. When family finances dwindle and her father’s mental loss worsens, Eleanor makes the difficult choice of moving to Belmont Mansion to live with her wealthy aunt, Adelicia Acklen. While her aunt is determined to find her a suitable husband, Eleanor discovers her own calling.

Unlike Eleanor, the Archduke Marcus Gottfried is a man too handsome for his own good who has lived a life full of frivolity, privilege, and selfish pursuits. While initially coming to America to temporarily escape his royal heritage and a family scandal, Marcus becomes a changed man, desiring to accomplish something of importance through his love of botany and architectural work.

When Eleanor and Marcus cross paths, sparks instantly fly between these two opposites, while a kindred purpose and growing attraction unite their hearts, blossoming into an impossible love. Will circumstances beyond themselves prove too great an opposition?

In A Beauty So Rare, Tamera Alexander weaves a historical masterpiece worthy of being a 2015 Christy award finalist for best historical romance. The storyline goes far beyond that of a typical romance novel by delving into family dynamics, grief, societal flaws, friendship, and life purpose. The poverty and loss of the South in the post-Civil War era is richly and tragically portrayed through the lives of the widows and fatherless interlaced throughout the plot. The novel is full of unforgettable characters who will arrest readers with their complexity and heart. Eleanor and Marcus are pictures in contrast, coming from two different worlds in more ways than birth and location. Both, however, seek to find God’s purpose for their lives while learning the valuable lesson that “the mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). The overarching theme centers on uncovering “a beauty so rare,” one that shines deep from within and is often overlooked by those who lack the patience and right perspective to take a closer, longer look.

Justina McBride, CLJ