Claire Laurent's greatest desire is to create a unique and lasting masterpiece; not continually copy and forge the masterpieces of the famous artists her father will in turn peddle at their New Orleans gallery. When her father dies, and Claire is left without provision and highly suspicious that her past will follow her, she craves the anonymity she finds at the historic Belmont Mansion in Nashville. Here, under the employment of the regal and eccentric Adelicia Acklen, Claire is able to break free from her past and start establishing a life of her own. When Sutton Munroe, an attractive attorney, crosses her path, Claire is certain that he knows more than he lets on and that their growing attraction may indeed lead her straight into the excavation of her scandalous past.
The War Between the States lingers as an inflicting and haunting memory as the stage is set for intrigue, romance, forgery, theft and redemption.
I must admit that I was growing tired of Alexander's usual canvas of frontier America and small Colorado towns. Luckily, Alexander has steered in a completely different direction in A Lasting Impression and inserts her not inconsiderable knowledge of Belmont, Adelicia Acklen and the world of 19th Cenury art into a charming story of life in the new Antebellum. I enjoyed the unique setting and Alexander's attention to historic detail. Moreover, I enjoyed how colourfully the world was painted: from Claire's early days in New Orleans ( a city whose geography I know quite well due to a stay in the Summer) through to her numerous encounters with the charming Sutton Munroe. Described as akin to The David in the text, I immediately painted him as actor Matt Bomer (see if you don't enjoy this mental caption, ladies, as you wander through this novel!)
As per a previous novel, I was disappointed that Alexander again attempted to infuse a French culture, dialect and a few threaded exclamations to match her heroine's background. Alexander failed notably with this before and having not yet conquered this flow, her dialect and dialogue were distracting.
I also found the book to be rather lengthy for the time it would have needed to cover the romance and the plot. Not many Christian romance novels sit at the length of Alexander's latest book and this is one case where a bit of editing would have made for a much tighter and more enjoyable read.
Nonetheless, I think this is a strong novel from an author whose previous books have always shown potential. It is quite obvious that Tamera Alexander's inspiring visits to Belmont wrought great creative insight and she excels at taking a historical character and flashing her in dimensional life as a support to the main action of the novel.
My sincere thanks to Bethany House for the review copy!
Please visit Tamera Alexander's website and blog
Learn more about Belmont and Adelicia Acklen
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