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?
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.