Review of A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander


A Lasting Impression was of particular interest to me because of its Nashville setting. Although I have not actually toured the Belmont mansion, I have spent some time in the general neighborhood. As a lifelong Tennessean, I also enjoy reading novels set in Tennessee. After reading this novel, I will have to make the Belmont tour a must on my next trip to Nashville.

Claire Laurent hated that her father forced her to forge paintings yet constantly disparaged her own talent. When circumstances forced her to flee New Orleans, she learned of her father’s death upon her arrival in Nashville. With nowhere to turn, she sought overnight shelter in a church where her life was changed forever. Hired as a liaison to Adelicia Acklen, owner of the Belmont estate, Claire was finally able to turn away from her past and work toward a respectable future. But how long could Claire keep her secrets hidden from Adelicia and Sutton Monroe, the man Claire was rapidly falling for?

A Lasting Impression is a richly embroidered story that transports the reader to post civil war Nashville.  The plot is perfectly paced and the characters almost step off the pages. Although much of the story takes place within the Belmont Mansion and describes life among the privileged set, Alexander also includes accounts of devastation and loss in the aftermath of the war. This is a story of second changes, renewed trust, and restoration. I cannot say enough positive things about A Lasting Impression. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is one book you need to add to your collection.


A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Lasting Impression
Bethany House (November 1, 2011)
Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, the critically acclaimed Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Her second historical series, Timber Ridge Reflections (From a Distance, Beyond This Moment, and Within My Heart) continue her signature style of deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose which has earned her devoted readers—and multiple industry awards.

These awards include the 2009 and 2008 Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the 2010 and 2007 RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2010 and 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2010 HOLT Medallion, the 2007 Bookseller’s Best Award, the 2007 National Reader’s Choice Award, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction for 2006, among others.

Tamera’s newest novel A Lasting Impression is the first of a brand new three-book Southern historical series, and the first two chapters are available for review. She’s at work on her ninth novel which will release in fall 2012.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville, Tennessee, along with Tamera’s father, Doug, and with their two adult children who live near by. And don’t forget Jack, their precious–and precocious–silky terrier.


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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Lasting Impression, go HERE.

Learn more about Tamera and her books on her Website.

The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones


Although the title of this book is The First Gardener, Jeremiah Williams’ actual role in it is a subtle one. Primarily a story about Tennessee governor Gray London, his wife McKenzie, and the tragedies that threaten to destroy them. His own heart nearly broken, Jeremiah sets about in his own deliberate manner to minister to the family as they struggle with their grief and depression. The basic story is told in third person and Jeremiah’s side of the story is narrated in first person.

The First Gardener is a deviation from earlier books I’ve read by this author. The depth of emotions described in most of the story would be overwhelming if not for some comic relief by Eugenia and her quirky band of sidekicks. Jeremiah’s character adds a steady voice of faith and wisdom.

As a life-long Tennessee resident, I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the governor’s mansion and nearby Franklin. I would also love to have a governor who seemed to care as much about his state as Gray London. Our new governor is still a somewhat unknown quantity to me so I won’t judge him just yet. I also enjoyed learning the meanings of different flowers.

I can’t say I totally enjoyed this story. It is just too brutally heart breaking to imagine that kind of loss. But as always, I enjoyed the way Denise has with words and characters as she makes them step off the page.


This book was provided for review by The Tyndale Blog Network.



Jeremiah Williams has been tending the gardens of the Tennessee governor’s mansion for over twenty-five years. And like most first families who have come and gone, this one has stolen his heart.

Mackenzie and her husband, Governor Gray London, have struggled for ten years to have a child and are now enjoying a sweet season of life—anticipating the coming reelection and sending their precious daughter, Maddie, off to kindergarten—when a tragedy tears their world apart. As the entire state mourns, Mackenzie falls into a grief that threatens to swallow her whole.

Though his heart is also broken, Jeremiah realizes that his gift of gardening is about far more than pulling weeds and planting flowers. It’s about tending hearts as well. As he uses the tools that have been placed in his hands, he gently begins to cultivate the hard soil of Mackenzie’s heart, hoping to help her realize what it took him years to discover.

A Southern tale of loss, love, and living, The First Gardner reminds us that all of life is a gift, but our heart is the most valuable gift of all.



Denise Hildreth Jones has spent the last six years writing fiction that has been hailed as both “smart and witty.” Her ability to express the heart of the Southern voice has led to her being featured twice in Southern Living and receiving the accolades of readers and reviewers alike, but it is the simple joy of writing stories that keeps them coming. Her previous books include the Savannah series, Flies on the Butter, The Will of Wisteria, Hurricanes in Paradise, The First Gardener, and Flying Solo.

Denise makes her home in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, five bonus children, and two dogs. And on her days off, she will settle for a long walk or a good book and a Coca-Cola.

Visit Denise’s website at

Read Denise’s Blog: Flying Solo

Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love


When Ada Wentworth accepted a position as a lady’s companion  in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, she planned for it to be a stepping stone toward her dream of owning her own hat shop. To her surprise, not only was the climate much different than her Boston home, but anti-Yankee sentiments were still prevalent in the area well after the end of the Civil War. And elderly Miss Lillian – well she was what they called a real pistol and expected far more from her than Ada had anticipated. And then there was Miss Lillian’s nephew Wyatt. If Ada hadn’t already been burned once, she might be just a little bit attracted to the man.

A well paced and compelling plot, realistic and appealing characters, and a charming setting  kept me turning the pages of Beyond All Measure. The historical background added extra dimension to the narrative, especially the suspenseful elements generated by Klan activity. This story has it all – plenty of drama, action, conflict, mystery and danger tempered with a good measure of humor, friendships, faith, and romance. I thoroughly enjoyed Beyond All Measure and look forward to future installments to the Hickory Ridge Romance series.

A digital copy of this book was provided for review by BookSneeze.


Unless she can trust God’s love to cast out her fears, Ada may lose the heart of a good man.

Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady’s companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill owner, Wyatt Caldwell. Ada intends to use her millinery skills to establish a hat shop and secure her future.

Haunted by unanswered questions from her life in Boston, Ada is most drawn to two townsfolks: Wyatt, a Texan with big plans of his own, and Sophie, a mulatto girl who resides at the Hickory Ridge orphanage. Ada’s friendship with Sophia attracts the attention of a group of locals seeking to displace the residents of Two Creeks, a “colored” settlement on the edge of town. As tensions rise, Ada is threatened but refuses to abandon her plan to help the girl.

When Lillian dies, Ada is left without employment or a place to call home. And since Wyatt’s primary purpose for staying in Hickory Ridge was to watch over his aunt, he can now pursue his dream of owning Longhorns in his home state of Texas.

With their feelings for each other growing, Ada must decide whether she can trust God with her future and Wyatt with her heart.

Read an excerpt of Beyond All Measure HERE.


Before returning to her writing roots in historical fiction, Dorothy Love published twelve novels for young adults. Her work has garnered numerous honors from the American Library Association, the Friends of American Writers, the International Reading Association, the New York Public Library, and many others. The Hickory Ridge Novels mark her Christian fiction debut.

Visit the official Dorothy Love web site