Description:Eleanor Braddock, a spinster--plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty--has long since dismissed any hope of marriage. But when a dying soldier whispers his final words, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. But this compassionate deed takes a harsh turn, and Eleanor finds herself dependent upon the richest woman in America and the most despised woman in Nashville--her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, mistress of Belmont Mansion. A clandestine act of kindness leads Eleanor to an unlikely path for her life--building a home for destitute widows and children from the Civil War. And while Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve.
Gerhard Marcus Gottfried, Archduke of the House of Habsburg and fourth in line to the Austrian throne, arrives in Nashville in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Collaborating with botanist Luther Burbank, Marcus seeks to combine his own passion for nature with his expertise in architecture. But his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widow's and children's home run contrary to the wishes of practical, frugal Eleanor, who sees his ideas as costly nonsense.
Yet as the construction project continues, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground--and a love neither of them expected. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor to marry, and even if he were, someone who knows Marcus's secrets is about to reveal them all.
My Opinion:While I liked this book tremendously, it did take an over long amount of time to reach the true depth of the story. The introduction was way to long and it took me a few days to get past the first 100 pages, because if that I came really close to putting it down forever. However, I am not one to give up without a fight, I know that sounds harsh but for a while it truly was a struggle. In the end though, I was thoroughly happy with the rest of the book, especially the end, it was definitely one worth reading.
Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, aka Eleanor's aunt has become a little bit of a nuisance. I know that she is supposed to come off as a lady of good morals and decorum, and even though she does have her moments she seems so full of everyone around her. As well as she tries to up hold promises which she had no right promising to begin with. Although she means well, she goes around fulfilling these promises in a most un-fulfilling way.
On the other hand, both Eleanor and Marcus should be an inspiration of character for people in our culture today. They both were strong and kind souls, ones who were not afraid to stick up for the underdogs, and ones not likely to stand down to the people known as superior. They both also had a charm about them. I love a classic whit to the hero's in any story, but I also like them to be serious and know when to quit. Marcus was a perfect example of these attributes. Eleanor had a somewhat dry whit about her, but it fit her and made her even more loveable to those around her including me.
I loved how this story was not just about two people falling in love but also about bringing people together, building friendships, and showing Gods glory through the most unsuspected ways he takes us through life. No matter how hard the course may be we will come out unhindered as long as we unquestionably follow his lead.
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars