Sunday, November 13, 2011

Review of A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander

Rating: 5 Stars
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Synopsis from Bethany House: Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville only a year after the War Between the States has ended, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe. She considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But after he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged the man. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville's society, Claire believes her dream to create a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her fraudulent past remains hidden.

The Federal Army has destroyed Sutton's home and confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him and to right a grievous wrong reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves.

Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they really are.

Review: A Lasting Impression is a stunning novel both inside and out.  I was first captured by the rich details on the cover design and Tamera Alexander's writing conveys similar beauty and grace.  The novel's setting from New Orleans to Nashville is captured in fine detail.  Alexander paints an exquisite portrait of the Belmont Mansion and its residents.  I visited the Belmont Mansion several years ago, and truly feel as though I have visited again.  It is beautiful and opulent now as a house museum, but Alexander takes us back to its prime in the pages of her novel.  The result is breathtaking.
Equally well-crafted is the cast of characters.  Alexander's depiction of Adelicia Acklen is most memorable as the strong, influential, and determined matriarch of Belmont.  I empathized with Claire during her first meetings with Mrs. Acklen, but her loyalty and kindness were revealed as the novel progressed.  Mrs. Acklen is truly an inspiring woman, especially considering the numerous losses that she suffered throughout her life.  Combining the real-life Mrs. Acklen with fictional characters adds another layer of realism to the plot.  
Claire's struggle to overcome her past as a forger and Sutton's fight to defend his family's land and honor add depth to the plot. Claire's past lingers throughout the novel with a sense of foreboding, leaving me wondering when her secrets will be revealed and what impact they will have on her new life.  Her resulting growth in faith and self-confidence is satisfying as is her growing love for Sutton. Their love story is developed and not rushed, a spot of beauty even amid the uncertainties that they face.  
As Tamera Alexander states in her Author's Note, we all leave impressions on those around us, each in our own way. She demonstrates that concept in A Lasting Impression; and as with her other novels, Tamera Alexander leaves an impression on the hearts and in the minds of her readers. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Read an Excerpt: 
A Lasting Impression

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