The House on Butterfly Way
Author: Elizabeth Bevarly
Release Date: Feb. 7, 2012
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Once upon a time, in Manitou Hills, there was a home so radiant and vivacious it was christened with its own name: Fleurissant. Now it’s in ruins, forgotten and neglected-except by a woman who sees her own life reflected in the broken windows of that house on Butterfly Way…
As a child, from afar, Eugenie Dashner loved Fleurissant and the elegant, youthful fantasies it provided. Now, with a failed marriage behind her, a troubled son at her side, and a contentious and bitter mother to care for, Eugenie returns to the Louisville neighborhood of Manitou Hills to fulfill a dream: buy and renovate the house that once meant so much to her, and maybe, in the process, rebuild her own life.
Day by day, as the house reveals more and more of its forgotten beauty, Eugenie sees her dream come to fruition-especially when the attentions of two men help to reawaken in her feelings of romance and passion she thought were gone forever. As she navigates her rediscovered emotions, Eugenie comes to realize that there is no such thing as irreparable damage-not in herself, not in the house on Butterfly Way, and not in the family who now calls it home…
What Ang is talking about:
I wanted to love this book. The title had me intrigued, the write up on the back cover sounded promising, and the prologue totally pulled me in with its picturesque description and sweet reminiscence. The first chapter started strong continuing with its strong visual descriptions. I enjoyed the emotion that we felt with the various characters, but like in many races the strongest start does not mean a big finish. Such was the case with The House on Butterfly Way.
The characters are likable enough, slightly flawed as all the best characters are, but their strengths never completely make up for those flaws. Eugenie is at best wishy-washy. She begins the novel totally enraptured with the high schools feelings for her brother’s best friend, but when given the opportunity to take the relationship to the next level she leaves him, sitting on the porch swing alone. Something I could totally understand if it had been addressed, but it never is. They have one date and then ice cubes. There isn’t even any internal dialogue telling us how she gets from “oh baby” to “not a snowballs chance in the southland.” The same happens with Spalding only in reverse. We go from he’s so Ward Cleaver and just my boss to happily ever after, or at least the possibility of happily ever after–it’s never completely addressed, another monstrous oversight. I found both of these “relationships” to be highly disappointing. We get inside Eugenie’s head numerous times with her LONG internal and verbal monologues, but never does she answer any questions in reference to these two men and at least those insights would have been useful monologues.
Speaking of monologues … Far too often I found my mind wandering as Eugenie ranted about something. It became old and distracting, and really added nothing to the story. I get that occasionally one must rant, rave, or go on a tirade, but it needn’t happen quite so often and in reference to quite so many things, or done by quite so many people as it was in this novel.
Another flaw was the tendency for characters to get stuck on a word. Several times a character would get so stuck on a word like chimney that it ceased being funny or entertaining. For example when Eugenie compares her lack of sex and by extension her womanly parts to an old dry chimney she beats the horse so thoroughly and uses the word so frequently that glue couldn’t even be made from what was left. It was annoying.
All of that being said there were some redeeming qualities. The character of Marianne offered much needed comic relief to what was an emotionally heavy story. Her insights were always spot-on and delivered with just enough tongue in cheek that you got the point without loosing the humor that life so often brings.
I also felt the character of Lorraine, the overbearing emotionally draining mother, was well written. She is multi-layered and gives great insight to the family dynamics and baggage that keeps getting tossed around the story. I understood all too well her well intentioned pokes at her daughter and her appearance the value she placed there and her desire for her daughter to use her God given gifts to make herself happy. The conversations between offer a depth to the novel that I appreciated.
Spalding also offered some fun insights and an occasional giggle. Although I would have preferred he more a more rounded character given the importance her plays in Eugenie’s life or at the the hint of the importance he plays. I feel more attention should have been give to this character and this relationship especially given the way the relationship with Nash comes screaming to a halt. The brakes being put on there might have been better understood if we’d seen the heat starting here with Spalding.
Overall it was a quick read and an OK distraction. I’m not likely to read it again or pass it along, but I’ve no doubt it will offer an descent distraction when someone picks it up out of the bargain bin.
Finished it – take it or leave it (C)