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Book Review: A Belmont Mansion Series Book #1, A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander

Claire Elise Laurent is a young woman that is an artist living in New Orleans with her widowed father. The time period is post Civil War. Claire is an artist like her mother was. Her father is an art broker. 
Claire is forced to flee New Orleans, she must make a trip alone to Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville has been sorely bruised by the Civil War. While living in New Orleans Claire saw little of the wars devastation. Shortly after arriving Claire's original plan was thwarted. She instead interviews for a job at the ethereal Belmont Mansion. She also meets the handsome bachelor attorney with a dream of being the owner of a horse farm, Sutton Monroe.
Claire is a naive, sheltered, beautiful, damsel in distress character.  
Sutton Monroe is an intelligent, handsome, all-things southern type gentleman.
Claire's situation makes for an interesting premise, and I liked it that her talent was in art; but I have a problem with damsels in distress. I know this is probably a personality flaw of mine. A female character that is too much of a doormat does not appeal to me. I am aware that during this era, southern women were notable as being sweet-natured, polite, and at least outwardly displayed a weak-willed persona. I disagree as I have generations of southern women in my family who were none of the above. Claire is probably written with the thought in mind of a southern etiquette and mannered female with a history of men ruling her life. But, I still do not like damsels in distress.
Sutton was too nice. I saw no edge or turmoil in his character development. Yes, he had a couple of minimal developments in his storyline---yet he did not seem to be taken in with them.
My favorite character was the owner of Belmont Mansion, Adelicia Acklen. She is a woman with a bite; yet she has a personality that does not hide what she feels. She does not hide behind a mask. She is a woman that is in touch with her feelings and is confident in expressing them. When she says no she means no. She has a remarkable keenness in perceiving others, this makes her an asset and a mentor for Claire.
Adelicia is a strong secondary character in this book. Maybe in book 2 we will hear more of her story?

This is the first book I've read by Tamera Alexander. In reading reviews over at Christian Book and Amazon this book has gotten an average of 4 1/2 to 5 stars.
Although I can state over-all I liked this book (I would give it a 3 to 3 1/2 stars) there were three points where I did not like it.
1. The main character Claire is weak. There is little depth, or rather grit in her character.
2. Secondary character Sutton Monroe is just too nice, too pleasant, too Southern stereo-type.
3. Their relationship was too perfect. There were bumps in the road, yet genteel bumps.

What I liked about this book is the environment of New Orleans, Nashville, Belmont Mansion.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the house and grounds of Belmont.
I enjoyed reading about the various visitors that came to Belmont.
I enjoyed the storyline of art and Claire's talent. The descriptions of what she painted and how she felt about her modem was enticing.
I truly loved the character of Adelicia, she was a penetrating character. 

Thank you to Bethany House and An Open Book for my free review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Published November 2011 by Bethany House
384 pages
Historical Fiction/Romance/Post Civil War/Inspirational/Art

For link @ publisher:

Link for the book @ Christian Book:
Paperback $9.99
e-Book $8.54


Garnetrose said…
I do alot of reading and at one point I loved the Damsel in distress books but I just cannot seen to get into them now. This looks like it might be worth taking a look at some time.