"A Beauty So Rare," book 2 in Tamera Alexander's Belmont Mansion series, is filled with romance and secrets and the pages are oozing with vivid descriptions that bring this time period and story to life! Eleanor has never considered herself to be a beauty, a Southern Belle, but merely a strong individual whom loves her family, cares about others and tries to do what's right. As Eleanor is forced to get care for her father, she accepts her aunt's offer to live with her at Belmont Mansion. Aunt Adelicia Acklen's plan is to find the perfect match for Eleanor so that she is cared for and lives the comfortable life; however this is not Eleanor's dream, but it is one that she succumbs because she feels she must. When Eleanor arrives at Belmont, she meets Marcus. Marcus works at Belmont Mansion as a gardener and has a love for working with plants and he is grafting plants and trying to make them stronger. However, he has secrets that he is hiding as does Eleanor. Eleanor loves to cook and bake, but that is looked down upon in society; why would Eleanor want to cook for others?!
"Just thinking of it again tempted Eleanor to smile. That was the point in the conversation when the knot in the pit of her stomach that had bound her almost since the first day she'd set foot on the Belmont Estate again, had slowly, but most certainly, begun to unfurl.
And it felt...wonderful.
Freeing didn't even come close to describing it. It was a feeling she wanted to cling to- and she knew the recipe for doing just that. Although she'd suspected her aunt was going to like that news even less than she had this."
Eleanor has felt "stuck," not living her life how she wants to (including wearing pink!) and this was a moment I loved in the book as I could feel the relief oozing through Eleanor as she is feeling free and life is finally turning in the direction that she wants it to be, the life that she wants to live.
I highly recommend this book for historical fiction fans! Tamera has the romance in this for all of us whom enjoy that piece of our books, but she also addresses subjects that are not often written about, including dementia and botany. Also, I loved Eleanor's passion for cooking and baking as I love trying out new recipes and enjoy being in the kitchen as well. This is a book that you do not want to miss out on!