Review: Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble

Series: Butterfly Palace #1

butterfly palace -colleen cobleWhen 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?

4 Drink Me Potions

For some reason, I’ve been on a historical fiction binge and I’m absolutely adoring it. Butterfly Palace not only lived up to its time period, but it was steeped in intrigue and a lovely romance of second chances.

Lilly was my kind of heroine. She wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and become a maid in order to survive. Finding her old beau (is that what they called them back then?) who had up and vanished on her was totally unexpected. And awesome.

Drew (or Andy as he was known to Lily back then), I had initially wanted to despise for leaving a girl like that without a word. He had a lot of explaining to do . But I wanted so badly to have their old spark kick up again.

That was definitely no disappointment.

Aside from the rekindled romance, the mystery was delicious. Sometimes Coble’s writings don’t focus on the mystery aspect as much, but this novel was heavy in that department. A killer after maids fitting Lily’s description was on the loose. At the same time, someone (or could it be a group of people?) were plotting the demise of the man who owns the Butterfly Palace. Mystery upon mystery.

And what was all that fascination with butterflies? I used to find such creatures lovely, but imagining myself surrounded by a bunch of them fluttering in the air just gives me the heeby-jeebies.

I loved that the perspective of this novel wasn’t only on the two main protagonists. Belle, the spoiled niece of the household at the Butterfly Palace, also had her own POV. She started off as a princess used to the riches given her, but she has a keen, intelligent mind that was later put to work and truly flowered under the opportunity to help catch a potential killer. It was a refreshing change to see someone else’s view of things beyond the two characters who were falling in love.

Overall, it was a delectable story. The identity of the killer(s) wasn’t immediately obvious, but for a lover of mysteries, I may not be the best example but I could guess it out before the identity was revealed. The only thing I found myself wishing for at the end was a sequel with Belle as the protagonist. She deserves a story all of her own, and a happy ending tagged to it. Maybe Coble will listen to my wish one of these days.

Overall Recommendation:
Butterfly Palace was a beautiful standalone story set in a gorgeous time period in the Victorian era. Both Lilly and Drew were strong characters in their own way, with a rekindled love blooming for both of them. It was a cute romance to watch re-bloom. But, hands down, the refreshing take on the story came from a 3rd POV in the form of Belle, a spoiled heiress, who learns there’s more to life than just finding a wealthy husband. Steeped in not one, but two, mysteries, this novel is bound to make your heart leap as it takes you for a ride.


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