The Belmont Mansion Novels by Tamera Alexander

 

Thanks for visiting the Belmont Mansion novels page.
This page contains NO SPOILERS for the series, so please relax and enjoy!

 

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The 1st and 2nd stand-alone novels in the Belmont Mansion series
("stand-alone" meaning these stories can be read and enjoyed independently of one another)
The third (and last) Belmont Mansion novel coming in 2015


Watch the trailer for A Beauty So Rare
the second stand-alone novel in the Belmont Mansion series

 

Releases March 25, 2014 
More about A Beauty So Rare  


The first time I visited the Belmont Mansion in Nashville, Tennessee––home of Adelicia Acklen, and the setting of all the Belmont Mansion novels––I knew I wanted to write about this magnificent home and the people who'd lived there.

While Belmont served as a "backdrop" for this story and I went to great lengths to remain faithful to history, I did take creative license with historical personalities, as well as with the basement level of the mansion, which is no longer inhabitable nor open to the public. But! If you were to go down there, you'd still see the underpinnings where the workers reinforced the floor beneath both the grand salon (for the Peri statue) and the foyer (for Ruth Gleaning). Both statues are pictured below.

As the story truthfully portrays, Adelicia had a great appreciation for art and was one of the wealthiest women in the United States in the 1860s. Here are some of the statues referenced in the book, as well as some glimpses of the Belmont Mansion, which is open to the public and ready for your visit!

 

 This, the earliest known photograph of Belmont Mansion, was taken by a Union soldier from the top of the water tower during the Civil War. Close observation reveals a staged shot, complete with the horse and carriage, a child on a white horse, and several people posed in the landscape. (Compliments of Belmont Mansion)

Belmont Mansion 1860s

 

 Current day Belmont Mansion in Nashville, TN

Belmont Mansion current day

 

 The Grand Staircase

Grand Staircase

Adelicia, pictured with her horse Bucephalus,
which she named after the horse belonging to Alexander the Great. 
Adelicia and Bucephalus
Adelicia purchased the small bronze statue of Bucephalus below, 
which can be seen in the small study at the Belmont Mansion. 
Bronze Bucephalus

While on her Grand Tour of Europe in 1865-1866, Adelicia purchased five statues...   
Ruth Gleaning by Randolph Rogers
is the only statue belonging to Adelicia that has never left the Belmont Mansion.
Because of her partial nudity, Ruth's placement in the middle
of the front hall (foyer) was quite bold for Victorian American Society. 
Ruth Gleaning
The Sleeping Children by William Rinehart
It remains in the front hall (foyer) today.

Sleeping Children

The Peri by Joseph Mosier (seen below in a 1860s photograph)
is a statue Adelicia purchased in New York on her return trip from Europe. 

Peri 1860s

Adelicia placed the Peri in a prominent position in the Grand Salon of the mansion (as seen above).
But after her death the statue was moved to the family mausoleum at the
Mt. Olivet Cemetery, as she requested. The picture below is one I took on a visit to the mausoleum. 

Peri Mausolium

 

Sans Souci by C. B. Ives
Sans Souci, French for "without care," was placed in the Central Parlor (where it remains today). 

Sans Souci

 

 Rebecca at the Well by C.B. Ives 
Adelicia placed Rebecca in the library, where Rebecca remains today.

Rebecca by the Well

 

Franklin Girls by Washington B. Cooper
is the portrait that hung in Adelicia's dressing room in A Lasting Impression.

Franklin Children

 

A plate from one of the sets of Adelicia's hand-painted, gold-edged china
(This is the china on which Claire Laurent, heroine in A Lasting Impression,
is served her first dinner at Belmont). 

Adelicias China

 

In the novel, I reference a "real" book entitled Queens of American Society. I'm thrilled to say that I, too,
have a first edition copy of Queens of American Society (published 1867). Gotta love Ebay! 

Queens of American Society

 

The picture of Adelicia in Queens of American Society.

Adelicia Queens of Am Society

 In A Lasting Impression, I reference a large portrait that was located in the entrance hall and that depicted Adelicia Acklen with a little girl (one of her daughters). That picture was true-to-life, but was, unfortunately, lost to time and lack of preservation.
Here is a picture of that portrait (circa 1860s).

Belmont Adelicia and Emma

 

One of several gazebos at the Belmont Mansion that students from Belmont University still use today. 
I often wonder if the students realize how old these gazebos are and if they know the history behind them... 

Belmont Gazebo

 

Belmont Mansion up close

 Belmont mansion close up

 

I had the thrill of meeting a descendent of Adelicia Acklen's,
Mrs. Beverly Kaiser. Beverly (who has read A Lasting Impression and "absolutely loved it!")
met me at the mansion one afternoon for a visit and some pictures. It was such an honor to meet her. 
Almost felt like I was hugging Adelicia!

Tamera and Beverly2

Tamera and Beverly3

Tamera and Beverly4

 

The Acklen Family Mausoleum at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville
The mausoleum is located on the top of the hill on Confederate Circle. 

Mausoleum

 

And finally, a huge thank you to Mark Brown, Executive Director of Belmont Mansion (25 years and counting), for his tireless work in answering my questions since our first meeting back in 2008, and for his dedication to restoring the mansion to what it was in Adelicia's day. Mark also read A Lasting Impression in first draft form, after which we met for an almost four hour lunch where he shared four pages of single-spaced notes and helped me to get all the details right.
Mark, I'm so incredibly grateful to you, and I'm glad to have two more books in this series to showcase the wonderful history of the Belmont Mansion.

Mark Brown and Tamera

I hope you've enjoyed these glimpses into Belmont. I highly encourage you to plan a trip to Nashville to see the mansion for yourself. It's well worth it! For more information on touring the Belmont Mansion, visit the official Belmont Mansion website. 
Or call the Belmont Mansion at 615-460-5459.

 
Favorite Reader Quotes from A Lasting Impression 


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 Learn more about A Lasting Impression