Elegance and wealth. Privilege and politics. The extravagance of 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 tasks before her are legion, and her mistress less than pleasant, but at least Lily's new life will be, if nothing else, distracting.
Then 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 Butterfly Palalce, 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?
Colleen Coble is a master story weaver and she does it again with this intriguing upstairs/downstairs romantic suspense. An intricate plot features a bevy of sinister activities including a serial killer and political intrigue! And poor Lily finds herself enmeshed in it all. This small town girl gets way more than she bargained for when she moves to the city -- including laying eyes on the fiancé who deserted her. And she can't understand why he has changed his name and is moving in social circles far above his lowly station. Suspense is even intertwined in the romance!
Told from multiple points of view, I was especially intrigued by Belle's story. Pampered and spoiled and coldly conniving, she clashes with Lily at every turn. But circumstances work to soften Belle's hard edges during the course of the novel and I am hoping she will get her own story in the near future.
A lighter faith thread about being refined by struggles weaves some seemingly diverse threads together beautifully. It's amazing how Coble was able to tie up so many loose ends in such a complex plot. I had some things figured out and was feeling quite smug until she surprised me!
Murder, mayhem and romance at the turn of the century makes for an engrossing read.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Butterfly Palace please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday June 19 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!