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Review: Butterfly Palace

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Review: Butterfly Palace

26 Mar Posted by in Reviews | Comments Off on Review: Butterfly Palace
Review: Butterfly Palace

Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coblebutterflypalace
Reviewed by: Pam Graber
Genre: Historical Romance, Suspense
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 21, 2014

When Lily Donaldson has a bad day, it’s a doozy! First, she starts her new job by arriving late (not her fault, but still…), then she sees her former fiancé (who ran out on her) hobnobbing with the city’s elite. Lily is employed in the home of Senate-hopeful Everett Marshall, and winds up working as a lady’s maid for his niece, Belle, who has “set her cap” for Lily’s former fiancé, Drew. Coming from tiny Larson, Texas to the capital city of Austin is already a culture shock for her, but the huge house with all of its halls and floors and hidden nooks nearly undoes her. She repeatedly gets lost on her way to the kitchen, but fortunately, her supervisor cuts her considerable slack. As if her new position isn’t enough to handle, she learns that someone in Austin is going around murdering servant girls that all look an awful lot like her. Throw in her missing fiancé, an assassination plot and a slightly creepy mansion complete with hidden passages, and you have the makings for suspense.

Lily comes to Austin following the death of her mother. Her father was killed in a fire that also killed Drew’s father. She takes a position as a house maid at the Butterfly Palace and almost immediately experiences situations that put her on guard. The butterfly collection is just creepy, and the omnipresent butterfly décor of the house only adds to the feeling. She hears weird thumps in the walls and people disappear in rooms where the only door is the one she just came through. While on a trip for her employer, she gets lost returning to the mansion and witnesses an attempted murder of one of the serving girls. She works with Drew—who turns out to be with the Secret Service—to solve not only the serving girl murders but also an assassination plot on her employer.

I always make it a point to read a new Colleen Coble book when it comes out. I think she is one of the best Christian suspense writers out there. That said, I didn’t think this was one of her best. It was good, but not her best. There were too many spots where I was asked, as a reader, to believe a character would act in a way that was counter to what the times or his or her upbringing called for. Also, some of the situations that moved the book along happened far too quickly, such as Lily’s first-day promotion to lady’s maid from the kitchen simply because the mistress of the house noticed how well her dress was sewn. Maybe things like that actually happened, but it seems too easy.

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the book. I love it when the culprit or culprits get caught in the nick of time AND turn out to be someone I really never expected. This almost always happens in a Coble book, which is why I continue to read whatever she puts out there. This book’s Christian theme is more subtle than in most of her others, but if you’re looking for historical suspense, try this one!

Rated PG-13: The violent death of one of the servant girls is described in sufficient detail that I thought it warranted the rating.

Reviewer’s personal copy. Thank you!


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