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May 23, 2012

A Lasting Impression (Belmont Mansion Series #1) by Tamera Alexander

Loved this iridescent cover, to match its captivating storyline!
CBA and ECPA Bestseller
2012 Christy Award Nominee
A Lasting Impression (Belmont Mansion Series #1) by Tamera Alexander
Bethany House, November 2011
Christian Historical Fiction
Paperback 432 pages 0764206222
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
A shortened review was originally created for Historical Novels Review, May 2012
Burton Book Review Rating: 4.5 stars, Really Liked it!
To create something that will last is Claire Laurent's most fervent desire as an artist. It's also her greatest weakness. When her fraud of a father deals her an unexpected hand, Claire is forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville, only a year after the War Between the States has ended. Claire's path collides with that of Sutton Monroe, and she considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But when they meet again and he refuses to come to her aid, she realizes she's sorely misjudged the man. Trading an unwanted destiny for an unknown future, Claire finds herself in the middle of Nashville's elite society and believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art may finally be within reach.All that Sutton Monroe holds dear lies in ruin. He's determined to reclaim his heritage and to make the men who murdered his father pay. But what he discovers on his quest for vengeance reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined.Set at Nashville's historical Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America in the 1860s, A Lasting Impression showcases the deep, poignant, unforgettable characters that set Tamera's stories apart and provides an inspiring love story that will capture readers' hearts and leave them eager for more.
Historic Belmont Mansion leaves a lasting impression indeed with this start of Tamera Alexander’s newest historical series. Featuring the courageous Civil War figure Adelicia Acklen, the series begins with the risky romance between Adelicia’s newest personal secretary Claire Laurent and Adelicia's lawyer Sutton Monroe.

Claire is so gifted in oil painting that her father’s business was dependent upon Claire’s forgeries, and it wasn’t until the gallery was robbed and her father killed that Claire could find a way out of her thankless job. Working for Adelicia has its rewards, but the truth of her past could land her in jail and lose the man of her dreams. Keeping Adelicia’s best interests at the top of his list, Sutton has a hunch that Claire may be hiding something, yet he also starts to fall in love with her.

Claire does a fabulous job at ingratiating herself with the demanding Adelicia, which makes her feel even guiltier about her past. Claire could soon become the belle of the ball at the magnificent Belmont Mansion, but the art forgery case that Sutton Monroe is investigating threatens her future and their budding romance. It is through Claire’s faith in God that she finally begins the healing process and allows her to move forward in her journey, and the author takes her time with this development. A thorough historical novel with menacing characters from Claire’s past mingling with Tennessee’s finest folks and the inspiring Belmont Mansion, A Lasting Impression is a compelling story that doesn’t let go once it takes hold.

Edited to add that A Lasting Impression was a 2012 Christy Award Finalist! Congrats!