A Belmont Mansion Novel
SUMMARY: PINK is not what Eleanor Braddock ordered, but maybe it would soften the tempered steel of a woman who came through a war - and still had one to fight.
Plain, practical Elanor Braddock 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 designs 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.
REVIEW: First off, even though this book is the second in this series, you wouldn't know it. It stands very well on it's own. There are a couple of references to the first book but explained well enough that you don't need to read it to fully understand this story.
I like Eleanor. Even though she is bombarded with being told what is right and acceptable for someone with her familial background and influences, Eleanor still tries to follow the path God laid before her. She sees the widows and their fatherless children who have nothing and struggle with living day-to-day and doesn't turn away. Instead of opening the restaurant she'd dreamed about, she begins to meet some of the needs of this community by providing a hot meal for these families. I like how, even though her personal funds are limited, Eleanor pays for the food out of her own pocket instead of asking her very wealthy aunt for money. As she gets to know some of the families and realizes they do not speak English very well, she tries to reach out to them by learning German, their native language, and not ostracizing them like so many others in the community. Eleanor is also a caring daughter who does what she thinks is best for her father, who suffers from dementia, even though it sometimes breaks her heart.
The author does a great job in keeping the attraction between the main characters from progressing too fast. Even though there were times when I wished things would speed up and they would just recognize what they meant to each other, it was nice to see that things did not get out of hand
This is a good book with lots of interesting twists and turns, keeping the reader's attention.
This book was provided by Bethany House for review without compensation.
Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers worldwide. She and husband make their home in Nashville, not far from the Belmont Mansion. You can visit her at her website at www.tameraalexander.com or her blog at www.tameraalexander.blogspot.com.