Thursday, January 30, 2014

"The Butterfly Palace" by Colleen Coble ~ A review

Book Description:
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, Texas—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?

My Thoughts:
This was only my second ever Colleen Coble novel and I have to say I did enjoy it.  It fit the bill for the type of read I was wanting at the time:  easy reading, historical setting, bit of a romance, bit of mystery.  While it probably would be labeled historical fiction because of the time period it was in and involved the class distinctions of the rich and the servants it did feel like it had a bit of a contemporary flavor to it.  The mystery was the best part for me.  The author was able to put together 3 different puzzles and weave them with twists and turns that left me guessing right till the end whether one had anything to do with the other and who or who all was behind it.   While there was a violent aspect to part of the mystery I never felt it was gratuitous or overly described or written so as to strike "stay up at night" fear in me.  There were lots of characters but it was never confusing and their  personalities were definitely distinct.   Three of the main characters had definite growth happen by the end and I really like how that played out in the story.  In the end, it was a story that kept me turning the pages.

The one thing that irked me, that I just have to get off my chest, which I have mentioned with other novels before, is the fact that the book cover does not match the description within the story.  While absolutely lovely artwork, it is nothing like the house described on page 7 as such:  "The automobile stopped in front of a grand stone mansion" and "...dark brick that made it look stern and unwelcoming", and "willed herself to admire the 4 story mansion".   It might be a small thing but it is a pet peeve with me and I don't understand why publishers do that.  As I read the story my mind's eye pictures the home on the front of the cover and soon forgets the author's actual description and the character's initial feelings when laying eyes on it.  But that is my pet peeve and one that didn't actually take away from this particular story.

Thanks to Booksneeze for providing a copy of this book free of charge for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.

Butterfly Palace is available for purchase here.


Sandra said...

I enjoy Colleen Coble, will have to try and get this book. And I agree, if there's one thing that irks me is a cover that does not stay within the book story. Irritating.

Faith said...

I know I've read one of her books as my mom used to have this author on her shelves but I can't remember the title. It wasn't this one though. I am the same way about artwork on covers. I've. Noticed it more in Christian fiction than in secular....perhaps we need more Christian illustrators in that field!! Thanks for the review...mine will be up later...I just finished an excellent mystery romance Christian novel. New author to me,

Barbara H. said...

I've read a few of her novels but nothing recently. That is odd that the publishers would put such a different book on the cover than what's described inside.