A Beauty So Rare – Book Review

Eleanor Braddock—plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty—knows she will never marry. But with a dying soldier’s last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America—and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path—building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.
Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows’ and children’s home run contrary to Eleanor’s wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground—and a love neither of them expects.

But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

From the USA Today bestselling author of To Whisper Her Name and A Lasting Impression comes a moving historical novel about a bold young woman drawn to a group of people forgotten by Nashville society–and to the one man with whom she has no business falling in love. – Description from book.


I really enjoyed this book. I related so well to Eleanor which made it a lot easier to get into. I was able to feel the emotions she felt and empathize with her struggles. I also loved the banter between Marcus and Eleanor. They made me laugh and root for them despite their secrets and circumstances that kept them apart. The characters have stayed with me after I closed the book and I wanted to continue their story even though the book was done.

I disliked that Eleanor’s father was put in an insane asylum because he had dementia but I know that’s what was done in those days. It bothered me at times but I had to remind myself of the lack of knowledge about those illnesses in the past. I also didn’t always understand what was said when it was written in German but it didn’t bother me that much because I could often figure it out based on context or used a translator. I found it didn’t take away from the story either if I didn’t understand every word.

As I stated earlier, I really enjoyed this book, mostly because of how well I related with Eleanor but I think it was also because it played on my empathy. I liked hearing about Eleanor working with widows and children and hearing about the impact she had on them. I’ve always wanted to reach people in a similar way so I loved hearing about her doing so. This is a historical romance so not everyone will enjoy it.

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