This book is not one of Colleen Coble's best books. I found several run-on sentences and a dangling modifier. The editor should have found these errors! Also, this book is not the way one would expect a Christian book to be. God is only mentioned a few times. One of the characters does read his Bible, but the main characters do not really seem like Christians. Also, the characters are unrealistic. They do not react to situations like real people would. For a romantic suspense book it is not that exciting. It is not really boring; it is just not that suspenseful. I would not recommend this book.
Serial killers, assassination plots, hidden passageways, obsessions - Colleen Coble's Gilded Age thriller has it all. Lily Donaldson lost her father several years ago in a fire that also killed her fiance's father. In his self-imposed guilt, Andrew left her and she never heard from him again. . . until she got a job as a kitchen maid in a wealthy Austin home, where he turns out to be a guest. However, nothing is as it seems: Drew is hiding his identity, chasing the man who may have set the fire. Strange noises come from the walls. People hide behind layers of deceit. And someone in the city is targeting blonde serving girls as victims of his serial murders.
As a historical novel set in early 1900's - approaching the era of Downton Abbey - there was a fair amount of upstairs-downstairs action, but the rules seemed much more relaxed than one will find in most fiction of the same era, with more informality between masters and servants. Granted, this novel takes place in Austin, Texas, not England or the East Coast, where rules were apt to be more stringent.
While the murders and plots are solved, I do not think everything else is completely wrapped up at the end. I would have liked to see Lily and Drew have more conversations about their poor choices in the past, which would probably benefit their future. Some other things, like baby Hannah and the Marshall family, were neglected at the end, but, as Coble tends to write in series, it is my hope that there will be a second book forthcoming - hopefully about Belle, who turned out to be my favorite character. Such was not the case at first - I was prepared to dislike her intensely - but she has a lot of potential and grew on me, and I would love to see where her story goes. Perhaps somewhere with Nathan . . . (pure speculation on my part).
I had not thought it possible to make butterflies creepy, but Coble managed it. Not terrifying - nothing to give one nightmares - but not exactly blissful little bundles of color fluttering from flower to flower. I liked the tone of the novel - Coble did a good job setting up a mysterious and spooky atmosphere while not losing the feel of the era - everything gilded and pretty on the outside, hiding the dark and sinister underneath.
Lily Donaldson has just buried her mother and now must find a way to support herself. Her father had been killed with Drew's father four years ago. She takes a job at a wealthy senator's home as a maid. Who should she run into her first day, but Drew. What is he doing there she wonders? Does he really have feelings for Belle, the senator's niece? Lily and Drew talk and he tells her what he is doing at Butterfly Palace and soon she is helping him in his investigation.
I didn't really like this book. The characters fell flat, the boundaries between social classes were crossed, which I felt wasn't realistic, and the dialogue was disjointed or in some cases didn't make sense. I just couldn't relate to the characters well. I did like the twist at the end of the story regarding the guilty people, who had been committing many crimes. That is the only reason I rated this book as a 2. I have read other books by this author and enjoyed them, so I'm not throwing in the towel on reading her books. Every once in a while there just is a book that is just not up to par, and this is one of those books. I cannot recommend this one.
Colleen Coble is my favorite author. I have yet to read a book she has authored that didn't keep me interested from front to back. This book had enough mystery and intrigue to wet the appetite of anyone that likes romance and mystery.
Once again Colleen Coble captured my imagination with an wonderful story with mystery and romance. I enjoyed the setting of 1900â€²s Austin Texas and the Butterfly Palace which added an interesting twist to the story. The characters were interesting as well, I especially enjoyed Lily, for because is she had a tarnished past, something I don't think I've seen in a Coble character before. The unlikely relationship between Lily and Belle fascinated me. I also enjoyed how the ladies worked together with Drew in solving the mystery.
The story itself had several subplots, maybe too many, in that, some of the characters and plots weren't as developed as a Coble story usually is. I did find the story entertaining and enjoyed it a great deal.
This wasn't my favorite Coble, book but was definitely worth reading.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for the opportunity to read and review this book. I was under no obligation other than to give my honest opinion.