Book Summary:Elegance and wealth. Privilege and politics. The extravagance of the Butterfly Palace overwhelmed Lily's senses and nearly smothered her painful memories. She pushed away her misgivings . . . She was perfectly safe in this huge house. Austin, Texasâ€”1904: Abandoned by the love of her life and still mourning the loss of her mother, Lily Donaldson has turned her back on the pain and come to Austin for a fresh start, working for the Marshall family as a kitchen maid in their luxurious mansion, the Butterfly Palace. The tasks before her are legion, and her mistress less than pleasant, but at least Lily's new life will be, if nothing else, distracting. But one night, while serving at a dinner party, Lily recognizes the man who abandoned her, Andy, her liaison from the livery stable, the blacksmith's son . . . sitting among the distinguished guests. Though he recognizes her, Andy does not acknowledge her aloud, and Lily is left reeling, flabbergasted, and irate. But before she can get an explanation, the path of the Servant Girl Killer swerves very close to the Butterfly Palace, sowing terror among the maids. Having come to Austin to start anew, Lily suddenly feels trapped in a spider web. How can she know who to trust in a house where lies come dressed in fine suits and deceit in silk gowns the colors of butterfly wings?
Review: This was a thrilling read!! I loved the premise and all the characters. They were well written and enjoyable. Lily was a great hero. She cared about everyone. Belle who had started off with a heart but arrogance due to her class turned into a great woman. Drew exciting and dashing. I loved that the secret passage in the house. It was sad when victims were killed and well written. It was the last 20 pages when the events intensified that I slowed down. So much was happening so fast in 20 pages it made it difficult to keep going. I just loved the entire story. The position of Lily as a maid was the gem in this story. Someone with so little power, yet she was able to be helpful and a sleuth.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas Nelson -ficton for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
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.