The Final Chapter of the Belmont Mansion Saga… A Masterpiece

Have you ever read a book that was so beautiful, so masterfully written, and reached so far into the depths of your heart that any words you used to describe it felt woefully inadequate? That is exactly my predicament after reading the long-awaited conclusion to the unforgettable “Belmont Mansion” series by Tamera Alexander, entitled “A Note Yet Unsung”. Although several characters are recurring from the previous books in the series, (including Belmong Mansion, which is almost a character itself!) “A Note Yet Unsung” is a brand-new story all of its own. If you haven’t already guessed from the title, the primary theme of this novel is the art of music. Continue reading

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A Beauty So Rare review

A Beauty So Rare imageAfter two and a half years of waiting, the release date finally arrived… A Beauty So Rare, book number two in Tamera Alexander’s Belmont Mansion series, was released in the spring of 2014 by Bethany House. Was it worth the wait? Without question, the answer is yes! Although set in the same Nashville location as the preceding story (A Lasting Impression), this novel depicts a separate storyline and unique host of characters, while offering glimpses of real historical events and people. Interestingly, the gap between three views of Nashville society are bridged within the story, including the elite and wealthy, the underprivileged and downtrodden, and the almost-separate world of a mental health asylum. With humour, insight, and the rare ability to hold interest over nearly 500 pages, A Beauty So Rare is a not-to-be-missed treasure for any reader of Inspirational Historical Fiction.

Likely the most enjoyable aspects of the newest addition to the Belmont Mansion series are the two primary characters, and the gradual, beautifully developed journey in wisdom and faith we are privileged to share with them. Eleanor Braddock is plain and practical – a woman who, at age 29, has resigned herself to a life of singleness and is prepared to make the best of it by realizing goals and serving others. But Marcus Geoffrey, passionate botanist, brilliant architect, and secretly the Archduke of Austria second in line for the throne, is about to change her mind – and her heart. As time goes on, events and characters threaten to shatter the delicate relationship growing between the two, leaving the question of a future together hanging in the balance.

Numerous life themes and challenging truths are woven carefully into the tapestry of the storyline constructing A Beauty So Rare. At the same time, characters mirror many of the struggles facing real people of today. Questions about inner and outer beauty, struggles with living out dreams, puzzles of hidden identity, and the reality of trusting God enough to live in the present are just a few of the ingrained truths adding to the overall value of the rare beauty found in this special story.

A Beauty So Rare truly has something for everyone… Beautiful word-illustrations of gardens, flowers, and plants will delight lovers of nature. History buffs will enjoy the accuracy of real-life details added to the fictitious plot. Volunteers with a desire to help the less-fortunate will be inspired by Eleanor’s dedication to a hope-filled cause. Clearly, I could continue listing reasons to read this heartfelt tale filled with treasures and wisdom, characters and love, but the rare beauty, the meaningful truths, may represent something entirely different to you. You may perceive truth, even rare beauty, intended only for you. Naturally, there is only one way to find out…

“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”

 

A Lasting Impression review

A Lasting ImpressionBestselling author Tamera Alexander’s newest novel, A Lasting Impression, was released by Bethany House* in the fall of 2011, and is sure to make a ‘lasting impression’ on your heart and imagination. Both humorous and tender, this novel will make you laugh and cry within the span of a few pages!  From a historical accuracy standpoint, this incredible story has clearly been researched down to every last detail.  In an online interview with Ms. Alexander, she states that the director of the Belmont Mansion today actually read her manuscript before it was published, simply to ensure that all aspects of the mansion were portrayed accurately!

An intriguing aspect of this sweeping story is its remarkable cast of characters, each vividly portrayed and soon ingrained in your imagination.  Claire Laurent is a young woman with a regrettable past who is given the chance to alter her future for the better.  Sutton Monroe is a beginning attorney whose past is also filled with regrets, but of a different kind.  Through an unexpected series of events, Claire and Sutton’s lives intersect at Belmont, a mansion and estate owned by one of the richest women in America at the time, Mrs. Adelica Acklen – an actual person in history, and a vital member of the supporting cast in this story.

Several years before our story begins, Claire was pressured into furthering her family’s business by using her abilities at painting… to forge the works of famous artists.  Now a young adult, Claire is forced to make decisions on her own when a sudden crises disrupts her entire world.  Soon she finds herself at Belmont Mansion, which turns out to be both the world she’s always dreamed of belonging in, and the worst place in which to keep her previous life a secret.  What will happen when Claire’s past finally catches up with her, threatening to tear down everything she’s been working so hard to build?

A Lasting Impression is a story about being authentic.  It’s about being yourself, and loving others for being themselves.  Throughout the story, Claire struggles with feelings of unworthiness, and constantly feels inadequate for all that she has been blessed with at Belmont.  By story’s end, however, Claire finds the courage to see herself, and others, for who they truly are.  This story is also about trust, and giving your ambitions to God, letting Him guide you and fuel your dreams for the future.  In one of the most touching scenes in the story, Claire hears God’s voice in her heart, asking her if she would use her talent for painting, if she were only painting for Him.    Each message is woven seamlessly into the story.

In conclusion, A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander is truly a masterpiece.  The writing style was a joy to read, as it was both humorous and touching.  The history in this story is extremely interesting, especially because the reader can be assured that it is as accurate as possible.  In addition, the characters in this story are lovable and realistic, and quickly become your friends, even though, or perhaps because, they have a good share of faults.  One more important element makes this story stand out from others, but is difficult to describe…  Somehow the incredible manner in which the entire story comes together really makes you feel as though Ms. Alexander was inspired by God when writing her story. Altogether, this book will leave an inspiring and lasting impression on your heart.

“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”.