Of Moths & Butterflies by V.R. Christensen
Recieved for review via Library Thing's member giveaways
Archer Hamilton is a collector of rare and beautiful insects. Gina Shaw is a servant in his uncle’s house. Clearly out of place in the position in which she has been discovered, she becomes a source of fascination . . . and curiosity.
A girl with a blighted past and a fortune she deems a curse, Gina has lowered herself in order to find escape from her family and their scheming designs. But when she is found, the stakes suddenly become dire.
All Gina wants is the freedom to live her life as she would wish. All her aunts want is the money that comes with her. But there is more than one way to trap an insect. An arranged marriage might turn out profitable for more parties than one.
Mr. Hamilton is about to make the acquisition of a lifetime. But will the price be worth it? Can a woman captured and acquired learn to love the man who has bought her?
The blurb is a little misleading, as the novel firstly follows Imogen Everhard, and secondly Archer Hamilton. Imogen is a young woman who was ill used under the care of her uncle. Upon his death, Imogen inherits his fortune which she views as a burden. Not wanting to become a pawn of one of her aunts trying to gain access to her inheritance, Imogen flees to the countryside, and adopts the name Gina Shaw, and gets a job as a maid in at a country estate owned by Sir Edmund Barry. When she is found, her aunt brings her back to London, and slowly reintroduces her to society in hopes of finding suitor who would look past her history in favor of her inheritance.
I really enjoyed this novel. Christensen does a great job of telling the reader what Imogen went through in her uncle's home, without actually saying what she went through. Anyone who is familiar with the social history of the period (1870s-80s) or has read or watched accurate period pieces during this time can easily guess the ultimate cause of Imogen's shame. But since it was never fully described, it makes for a clean read.
It was an interesting point of view as well, being the story of a fallen woman from the middle or upper classes. Its not a character type I've come across very often. Imogen had showed a believable hesitance based on her past experiences. But her hesitance to tell Archer about her past, and the reason for her hesitance seemed to go on a little too long. I think the book could be a little shorter, cutting back a little of the period of Imogen's nearly telling Archer and then a resurgence of her hesitance, and the novel would not lose anything but some length.
I enjoyed this novel. It had a good pace, and interesting story. I'd look for books from the author in the future. Additionally there are fantastic drawings interspersed between the chapters, that I eagerly looked forward too as well. You can see a sample here, in the artist's twitter gallery.