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(Review) A Beauty So Rare, A Belmont Mansion Novel #2 by Tamera Alexander

Publisher: Bethany House, April 2014.
Genre: Fiction, post Civil-War, The South, mental illness.
Format: paperback
Pages: 400.
Rating: 3 stars for good.
Source: Free paperback copy from Bethany House in exchange for a review.

This is the third novel I've read by Tamera Alexander. The previous reviews, links included:
  • Summary
  • In post Civil War Tennessee, Eleanor Braddock cares for her father who is mentally ill. Then, she makes the difficult decision to place him in an asylum. Eleanor's aunt is the feisty Adelicia Acklen. Aunt Adelicia is the wealthy owner of Belmont Mansion in Nashville, Tennessee. Eleanor with no place to live, becomes a guest in her aunts lavish home. Aunt Adelicia is insistent Eleanor marry a man of wealth. Meanwhile, an Austrian named Marcus Gottfried has recently moved to Nashville. He is an architecture of gardens. 

  • My Thoughts
  • There is an emphasis throughout the novel that Eleanor is tall and plain. However, the girl on the front and back cover of the book is not plain looking. She is also not "seen" as plain looking by the main male character named Marcus Gottfried. I'm not sure at the need to emphasize her plain look of appearance. Maybe it would have been better to show me she was plain and not tell me? It has been a burr in my saddle so to speak. Christian fiction book covers that have gorgeous women on the front and or back cover. It reminds me of fashion magazines, only the beautiful and thin are photographed. I'm not saying we should go the opposite way. But, why show a woman at all? Why don't we do something really amazing. For example, let a reader's imagination take over as to what the characters look like based on the descriptions. The publishers are in charge as to what the cover of a book entails. I'm hoping that in the near future Christian publishing will do something different. 
  • Eleanor's father is mentally ill. I feel the book needed a stronger study of mental illness in the 19th century. To explore the effects of trauma after the Civil War would have given another feature to the novel. 
  • The emphasis in the story is a love match. Two characters who are drawn to each, fall in love, there is a problem/obstacle, but in the end all will be okay. Life and relationships are so much more than this.