“A Beauty so Rare” By Tamera Alexander

Seeing war ravage her country and disease ravage her father has made Eleanor Braddock the woman she is today: straightforward, soft-hearted and yet practical.  As practical as potatoes.  Being (in her opinion) ill-favored and nearing the age of thirty, has severely limited her options for matrimony—the lack of eligible men due to the war make a match even more unlikely.  So when her aunt upon whom she is financially dependent pushes her towards a “suitable” man, her future is all but fact.

Botanist and architect Marcus Geoffrey has been granted a reprieve, but is not certain if he will have enough time to accomplish his dreams before the matrimonial noose tightens around his neck and his royal duties call him back home to Vienna.

            As an unlikely friendship develops between them, they find themselves facing difficult decisions and obstinate obstacles.  Will seeing God in the details of their lives help them accomplish their goals?  And will they trust Him still, when all their secrets are revealed?

            After having all the facts about the characters, I had to wonder if this wouldn’t turn into a soap-opera-like drama.  I was pleased to find that did not.  This is a delightful, though heart-tugging romance that I think you will find as enjoyable as the main characters do.  The dialogue and development of the story as well as the spiritual aspects were excellently done.  And I had to admire an author that could bring both historical botany and romance to fruition simultaneously.  

My only criticism is that there were discussion questions at the end.  If the lessons cannot be inferred from the text, then the book is poorly written (which it wasn’t); and if it was well-written let us please assume that the readers are insightful enough to catch them the first time through.

Thank you to NetGalley (https://www.netgalley.com/) and Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this enjoyable book to read and review.

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