Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble

Lilly secures a job as lady's maid in a grand manor in Austin, Texas. But even far from home, her past lurks around every corner.

When Lilly Donnelly arrives at the Cutlers' famed Butterfly Mansion in 1899, the massive house and unfamiliar duties threaten to overwhelm her. Victorian Austin is lavish, highly political, and intimidating, but with the help of the other servants, Lilly resolves to prove herself to her new employers.

Then, while serving at an elegant dinner party, Lilly recognizes one distinguished guest as Andrew, the love of her life, who abandoned her without a word back home. He seems to have assumed a new identity and refuses to acknowledge her, leaving her confused and reeling.

Before Lilly can absorb this unwelcome news, she's attacked. Could it be the sinister Servant Girl Killer who has been terrorizing Austin? Or is it someone after something more personal--someone from her past?

Does she dare trust Andrew to help or is he part of the danger threatening to draw Lilly into its vortex?

~Owned as ebook; 336 pages~

What nobody told me before I started reading this book was that Colleen wrote it when her heart-sister was in a struggle against ovarian cancer. The author's note doesn't specify if she survived or not, but I'm really hoping she won the battle. My point is, if I'd known the circumstances this book was born of, I probably could have figured out that the romance wouldn't be of huge import to Colleen. However, the only reason I wanted this book was because the synopsis made Drew sound like Mr. Darcy, and fellow P&P fans will understand my grief when I found out the two were nowhere near the same.

Still, this book managed to teach me a valuable lesson; it taught me that books can be interesting even when the romance sucks. I'm not even lying! Even though every time Drew was in the story I felt like telling him to shut up and go away, the murder and the stolen butterflies kept me interested enough to keep on reading. Of course, I guessed who the murderer was almost as soon as I saw him/her, but some of his/her accomplices, when revealed, came as a big surprise. I also found it really interesting that people back then were interested in butterflies, and that they were willing to pay big money for them as well. It just goes to show how rich people would spend money on anything...lucky them *pouts*.

Lilly was a great Christian Fiction character. She was kind and never vengeful, and didn't hate anyone for the way her life turned out. She was even eager to do her best at being a maid at the Butterfly Palave. Knowing myself, I'd probably complain 24/7 about my circumstances if I ever had to become a maid. Now a butler...that'd be cool. I really wish there were female butlers. Back to the point: though Lilly was everything a girl from the past should be, I kind of wish that she had more spunk. She was too quiet and obedient for my tastes, and despite what I said earlier, I wish she would have stayed mad at Drew longer. The beginning scenes between Drew and Lilly were the best because of all the drama; from there it was just Drew trying to decide between Lilly and his job. Bo-ring!

To be honest, the mystery, though engaging, wasn't exciting or suspenseful. It just was, by which I mean it was just something in the story. I guess murder - when it's a mix of Christian and Historical fiction - has to be toned down a bit to fit the genre. I suppose fans of the genre may very well enjoy it. I'll admit I was expecting much more from Colleen Coble after reading Blue Moon Promise. Now that I think about, maybe I didn't like this book too much because of my high expectations. Then again, if I didn't have my expectations, I never would have picked up the book at all...
Title: Butterfly Palace
Author: Colleen Coble
Released January 21, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance

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