More than anything, Claire Laurent longs for the chance to live an authentic life, to become the woman she wants to be. And she'll be given that choice. But will it come at too costly a price?
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.
Star Rating: *****
Wow. Words seem so inadequate to express just how rich this book is—both in historical details and the romantic tension. I can't remember exactly, but it's been a while since a book touched me so emotionally; I was fighting tears at times. But therein is the beauty of Tamera Alexander's new release, A Lasting Impression—her writing touches to the heart.
And the writing! Tamera's style was beautiful and brought to life the Belmont mansion as seen through Claire's eyes. The depth and realistic qualities she gives each and every character in this book was amazing. Claire was such an amazing person and I grew so close to her over the course of the novel. I was sad when I read the last page and had to say good bye to her and dear, fun-loving Sutton. She'd had such a sad life before coming to Belmont, and had many things to overcome. But I enjoyed watching her meet, and overcome, every challenge.
The Christian elements in the book were wonderful. Tamera wove it seamlessly into the plot and did it so gradually; it felt more realistic and believable than many other books I've read. And not in a preachy way, either. Claire's gradual, but very sincere, search for salvation and redemption was so touching—and when the Lord finally opened her eyes...I felt like crying for joy. How beautiful!
There have been some very good historical fictions published this year, but few have really stood out from the others and made it to my ‘favorites’ shelf for 2011. But A Lasting Impression has done just that—sitting proudly beside my copies of The Doctor's Lady and The Measure of Katie Calloway. Cracking open the cover to this book is like stepping back in time to the wonderful world of high-society and fine art that decorated the halls of Belmont mansion.
I reviewed this book for Bethany House via Litfuse. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.