Published Nov 1, 2011
Trade paperback, 432 pages
This is the second historical novel I read from Tamera Alexander and I liked it even better than the first one I read. Maybe because it was set in the South just after the Civil War and it also dealt with the world of art. Claire Elise Laurent, A French artist who immigrated to the United States as a child, is taught by her parents to forge famous paintings so that her father can sell them. After her mother dies and her father is attacked and killed, she runs and ends up working at Belmont Mansion as a personal liaison to Adelicia Acklen, one of the wealthiest women in the US in the 1860s.
Claire longs to paint her own creations and learns to become self-confident even as she hides her past. She meets Sutton Monroe, an attorney, who is attracted to her but is suspicious of her past, and is also investigating the art fraud case.
To say this book is well researched is an understatement. The author brings history to life, especially among the elite Nashville society. Belmont Mansion actually exists and so did Adelicia Acklen. The characters are vivid, along with the setting that I easily pictured the story in my mind. I especially liked how the author brought Adelicia to life, along with her household. Claire's character grows as she is given responsibilities that feed her self-worth.
The plot unfolds well and at a good pace. I was hoping for more action regarding the art fraud case and thought that it was handled a little too quickly toward the end, especially since this was what the whole story was leading to—how Claire redeems herself and how she would get off having forged famous paintings! However, this is minor and did not take away my enjoyment of a good ending to a good story. I highly recommend this one to all lovers of good Christian historical fiction. It will not disappoint!
Note: This book is rated C = clean read.
Reviewed by Laura
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