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?
Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble was an interesting and exciting novel that kept me glued to the pages. The plot line was fantastic as it was quick paced, filled with unexpected twists and turns, surprising events and villains and even a good deal of murder. It took me quite a while to figure out who was the Servant Girl Killer and who was actually involved or not. The plot was so intricate that I was still surprised when all was revealed at the end. The novel included several intriquing details such as several butterfly collections, a house fire, and a counterfeiting ring. While I highly enjoyed the plot, there characters often times left something to be desired. I felt like they were not very deep or realistic at times, and the fact that Andy and Lily already knew each other meant that their new romance seemed rushed and shallow for the reader. I also wished that several minor characters, like Belle, Jane, and even Andy had received more depth and explanation to their personalities. I was glad that Belle got a larger part in the story as the book went on, but I still thought that Lily was the only character that I got to know well at all. Despite the lacking in character development at times, I still enjoyed reading Butterfly Palace and found it to be a very intriguing mystery/suspense novel if not as romantic as some of Colleen Coble's other novels. I received this novel for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.