Once again Colleen Coble captured my imagination with an wonderful story with mystery and romance. I enjoyed the setting of 1900Ã¢â¬Â²s 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.
For fans of Downton Abbey who want a little bit more spice in the storyline, you might just want to pick up Colleen Coble's latest novel, Butterfly Palace. Set in Larson and Austin, Texas in the early 1900's we find that the romance between Lily Donaldson and Andy Hawkins have all but fizzled. They were at one time engaged to be married but with the deaths of both of their fathers in a horrible fire, it seemed that Andy blamed himself for not being able to get the men out alive and he left Lily behind in ashes of their love.
Now that four years have passed Lily has found employment working as a ladies maid in Butterfly Palace, the wealthy home of the Marshall family. She finds her job enjoyable as Belle Castle's lady's maid putting her knowledge of fashion and hair design to work for her. She learns that Belle has her sights set on marrying Drew Hawkes, a guest in the Marshall home. Little did she realize that Drew is her Andy from Larson. Why he has changed his name and what he is doing in Austin cause her to be concerned and both hope that neither of them will share their intimate past with their current employers.
While Belle has her sights set on Drew, her father meanwhile wants Belle to marry Mr. Stuart Vesters, an up and coming wealthy politician and businessman. But it seems Mr. Vesters isn't all he appears to be to the Marshall family. Now that Lily has found work in the home, she finds herself the unlucky victim of the Servant Girl Killer, a serial killer that has been murdering maids around the city, preferring women who fit Lily's mold as the intended victim. Will Drew be able to keep up his pretense of acting like he doesn't know who Lily is even when she is almost murdered in the church or will their love reignite once again despite the obstacles facing them both?
I received Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own unless otherwise noted. I found myself completely captivated by this novel because I am a huge fan of Downton Abbey. I think Colleen Coble did an exceptional job at incorporating the characters of the upstairs wealthy aristocratic family from those of the household staff. The intermixing of those stereotypes is necessary to understand when Lily finds herself at odds wanting to talk to Drew but being in her position as a maid, wasn't something that was allowed. There are social barriers keeping them apart as well as the roles each of them in playing in their current situation which complicates their conversations. Lily at one point is discovered conversing with Drew by Belle who believes that Lily it out of place as a maid and threatens to fire her if she doesn't discontinue in her pursuit of being in Drew's company. A little jealous rivalry since despite Lily's attempts to downplay her beauty, she still comes shining through. I honestly had my suspicions about who was the murderer, but Colleen truly mixed me up and had me chasing my own tail by the end. Well done in my opinion and thus a just deserved 5 out of 5 stars!
1904, Austin, TX. Lilly has had so much disappointment in her life, but she is determined to keep going. Her father was killed in a tragic fire when she was young, and now her mother has died. She is grateful for the position she has obtained in the Marshall family mansion. While she has never been in service before, she quickly learns her job and is able to help the mistress with her hair and dressing.
At a fancy dinner party she sees Andy. She has not seen him in 4 long years, since the night her father died. What is he doing here? Now? And why is everyone calling him Drew? Drew makes himself known to her, and makes her keep his secret: he is working for the secret service to uncover a counterfeit money operation.
This is a well written novel, with a lot of detail to the characters, fashion, and butterflies- that the master of the mansion collects. I enjoyed the book and was able to easily read and get caught up in the flow of the story.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson. All opinions expressed are my own.
I really enjoy Colleen's writing, especially the Hope Beach novels. I was so excited about this book and sadly I was very disappointed. The characters weren't very likable to me except some of the secondary people. The overall story line is very much like Downton Abbey so I felt like I had read this story quite a few times before just in a new setting. I did enjoy the butterflies and all of the details with them, hence the name of the book, there is a lot of butterfly info. There is a twisting mystery that flows through the book and romance neither of which really grasped my attention. The ending of the book was the best part of this read and for a simple historical romance this book was alright. I give it three and a half stars.
Though I will be looking for more Hope Beach novels from Colleen!
"I received this book from Booksneeze for free in exchange for an honest review."
Though I did find the mystery interesting and well-plotted - it took a variety of twists and turns that I honestly didn't see coming- there were a few things that did bother me. It was mostly the romance between Lilly and Drew; it is stated that in their past they did not keep their relationship pure, and although by the time they meet again both of them regret their past mistakes, there's still an awful lot of kissing involved. (The uncomfortable, mushy kind) I didn't find it difficult to skip those parts, and there was certainly more to the story than that. But still, it was a disappointment.
One of my favorite aspects of the book was Lilly's mistress, Belle, who starts out as an incredibly dislikable character...until later in the book when she begins to change. Normally characters like that don't change and are just the one-dimensional, spoiled and annoying rich girls who exist only to make life harder for the heroine, and though Belle started out that way, by the end of the book she was one of my favorite characters because she was interesting.
In the end, though I wasn't amazed with this book, and found some of the content that continued to pop up rather annoying, I do give it points for having a detailed mystery and few intriguing characters.
I received this book for free from booksneeze.com in exchange for my honest review.