Butterfly Palace, by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson, 2014)
In 1904 Lily Donaldson leaves small-town Texas to work for the wealthy Marshall family in Austin. It’s not the best time to enter domestic service in the city, with the Servant Girl Killer on the loose. When Lily saves a young woman from an attacker, does she catch his attention?
Lily is a confident young woman, hard-working and skilled, but the opulent home they call the Butterfly Palace takes a bit of getting used to. And she’s creeped out by Mr. Marshall’s collection of exotic butterflies.
She’s even more upset to meet her former fiancé, who deserted her at her father’s death. He’s using an assumed name, Drew Hawkes, and passing himself off as a businessman. Drew is a guest in her employers’ home, so Lily can’t avoid him—or the hurt that seeing him brings. She discovers he’s working with the Secret Service to break a counterfeiting ring.
Lily is assigned as ladies’ maid to Belle, the family’s beautiful niece. Belle has her eye on Drew, but her aunt and uncle have a more suitable match in mind. At first this looks like the familiar story of good servant vs. shallow rich woman, but the story doesn’t stop there.
Belle has been sheltered all her life, but she’s intelligent and courageous. When she discovers a plot to kill her uncle, Drew connects it to the counterfeiters. Despite their differences, Belle and Lily team up to help Drew uncover the villains. Will they be in time to save Mr. Marshall’s life?
I had no idea butterfly collecting was such a big thing among the rich of the day: sending explorers to Africa to collect specimens and cocoons, flaunting the owner’s latest acquisitions, and rivalry among collectors.
Butterfly Palace is another richly-crafted romantic suspense from best-selling author Colleen Coble, who writes both historical and contemporaries. For more about the author and her many books, visit her website. Or click directly to her Butterfly Palace page to view the trailer—and discover why this book has such a special place in the author’s heart. To read a preview, visit the Thomas Nelson site.
[A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.]