Cover Image: The Butterfly Collector

The Butterfly Collector

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Member Reviews

This historical fiction novel has a dual timeline jumping between 1868 and 1922. When I read dual timeline novels, I often like one timeline better than the other, but in this book I liked both storylines and found it interesting to see how the story connections unfold.

Having traveled to Hunter Valley and Sydney, NSW Australia, I enjoyed the settings and descriptions of how it was during these time periods. I found myself enjoying getting to know the main characters and learning about documenting monarchs in Australia, but found the themes of family dynamics and baby farming even more interesting. This book was well-researched and I look forward to reading more from this author.

I listened to the audiobook and thought the narrator's Australian accent was a great match for the setting of the novel and further brought the characters to life. The only downside of the narrator was that she didn't have a different voice for male characters and that sometimes caused brief confusion. However, I would still recommend listening to this book.

If you enjoy well-researched, unique historical fiction novels, give this book a read/listen.

Thank you Harper Muse Audiobooks for providing this audiobook for review consideration via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and were shared voluntarily.

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I enjoyed listening to the audio book read by Emily Barrett. Her voice is nice, and I enjoyed the way she expressed herself vocally. Her Australian accents were not thick but easy to understand. Even though Emily didn't distinguish between the voices of the male and female characters, the story was nonetheless enjoyable to listen to.

The central themes of this historical mystery revolve around a woman who is enthralled with butterflies and a mystery involving the Treadwell Foundation and its intended focus on "disgraced young women and their babies". This was not a mystery about butterflies. The title is misleading. I thought the story would center more around butterflies. The primary subject was how one affluent Australian family expanded their wealth during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

This is a dual time slip story one set in 1922 where readers meet Verity Binks in Sydney. The Treadwell Foundation, who supports unmarried women who find themselves in a delicate condition and their babies. Verity Binks starts her investigation to write her story and uncovers some shady dealings and a fifty-year-old mystery to solve.

In 1868. Morpeth, readers meet Theodora Breakenridge who is mourning the loss of her mother, father and brother in a tragic accident. She lives in The Landing with her three sisters. They want to travel to Sydney to find husbands and shop. Theodora has other plans which include drawing and painting. One day she makes an incredible discovery. It’s a butterfly that’s never been seen before in Austraila.

Intertwined in Verity Binks investigation for her article she discovers secrets, family ties, surprising adoption records, cover ups and illegal baby trafficking. There is a thread about trail blazing woman’s interest in art, nature, science, and the Wanderer Butterfly.

Disclosure Material Connection: I requested and received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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A mystery full of intrigue and complexity.

A would-be journal starts out to research a story and, in the process, uncovers way more mystery than she could imagine. As she digs deeper into the story more and more secrets come to light leading to a story different than intending but one that needed telling.

Beautifully written and wonderfully told.

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I really enjoy dual timeline novels; those I read usually have a contemporary and a historical storyline. The Butterfly Collector by Tea Cooper, an Australian author, is unique for me because both plots take place more than a century ago, in 1868 and 1922. The novel explores events in Australian history, primarily baby farming and the unexpected migration of monarch butterflies to Australia.

Baby farming was the shocking practice where infants were taken from poor parents and sold to wealthy families resulting in tremendous profits for the criminals arranging such "adoptions." The appearance of monarch butterflies was extraordinary because at this time they were believed to exist primarily in North America.

It's interesting to read a novel about history with which I'm completely unfamiliar, and it's evident the author researched her subjects thoroughly. However, it was challenging for me to connect with this book due to the large cast of characters, the timeframes being in such close proximity, and the multiple connections between the intertwined stories. The plot develops very slowly and unevenly; the baby farming topic didn't arise until quite late in the story and then all of the action happened all at once.

I appreciated the audiobook narrated by Emily Barrett. Her Australian accent kept the setting top of mind for me. Thank you to Harper Muse and NetGalley for access to the advanced listening copy of it.

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Captivating and enthralling!

What a beautiful story, told in dual timelines The Butterfly Collector is a story about love, loss and new beginnings will take your breath away. A fantastic read for historical fiction fans.

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I enjoyed this audiobook set in Australia with 2 different narrators, Theodora in 1868, who’s lost her parents and brother and enjoys painting nature, and Verity in 1922, who is working as a journalist until she is let go to have her job go to a man returning from the war.

I don’t want to spoil the whole story but I enjoyed that this book of historical fiction was set in a different continent and time period. If you like historical fiction you’ll enjoy the Butterfly Collector. Thank you NetGalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you NetGalley and publisher for this audio ARC!

This book did start off slow and it took me a bit to get in to it but after a few chapters I started to enjoy it.

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Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Muse for the chance to listen to this audiobook narrated by Emily Barrett.

The Butterfly Collector by Tea Cooper is a historical novel with a dual timeline told from multiple perspectives. The story has a heavy focus on the "baby farming" issue that was often a problem during this time period (late 1800s). The story contains drama, love, and friendship. It is an engaging novel that, although slow to get moving, really got me interested by about a quarter through.

In retrospect, I probably wouldn't listen to an audiobook written by Tea Cooper again as I felt it made it a little harder to transition between timelines compared to when I've read her other novels.
I also wouldn't seek out this narrator again as personally I felt her tone of voice changes and pace of reading changes distracted from the story as there were times I was lost as to who was meant to be speaking.

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Over the years, I have gotten to read several books by Tea Cooper. Although The Butterfly Collector was not one of my favorite books that she has written I did enjoy it. The beginning was a little confusing for me as there were so many characters and a duel timeline to keep track of. Once I started to progress through the story it started getting easier to understand the relationships between the characters. The Butterfly Collector took place in Morpeth, Australia in 1868 and in Sydney, Australia in 1922. There were two strong female protagonists who were ambitious, independent and quite capable in their own ways. I listened to the audiobook that was well narrated by Emily Barrett. One of the main topics Tea Cooper explored in this book was “baby farming” in Australia during the 1800 and 1900’s. She also touched upon the discovery of the migration of Monarch butterflies to Australia.

In 1868, the Breckenridge family suffered a devastating tragedy. The parents and young brother of Theodora and her two sisters were killed in a shipping accident. Theodora and her sisters continued to live at the family’s estate. Theodora was quite different from her sisters. While her sisters were interested in traveling to Sydney where they hoped to participate in the social events worthy of their standings and seek out potential husbands, Theodora was content to stay at home and pursue her artistic ambitions. Theodora’s goal was to become an illustrator of things that pertained to nature. She aspired to follow in the footsteps of the Scott sisters. Her drawings were exquisite but it was her scientific discovery of a species of butterflies foreign to Australia that would eventually make her famous. Left at the family estate while her sisters travelled to Sydney, Theodora was introduced to young woman who had recently given birth to a baby boy and was in need of a job. Theodora took an instant liking to Clarrie and hired her to work as a maid. Clarrie and Theodora formed a bond. They were determined to help each other as much as they could. Clarrie helped Theodora with her beautiful drawings and Theodora helped Clarrie earn extra time to visit her young son. When Clarrie discovered that her son had been taken from her everything changed in a blink of an eye. Who had taken Clarrie’s baby and why? Could Theodora help Clarrie get him back?

In 1922, in Sydney, Australia, many women were being forced to vacate the positions they had held while the war was being fought and hand them back to the returning soldiers. Verity Binkx, an aspiring journalist for The Arrow, was one of those women. She understood the situation but was sad to let go of her position at the paper. Her articles were just beginning to be recognized for their good content and some had even been printed. Her late grandfather, Sid, had been a well known and respected newspaper man. On the day Verity lost her job at The Arrow a strange thing happened. An anonymous package arrived at her home for her. Inside the package was an elegant butterfly costume and an invitation to the Sydney Artists Masquerade Ball. Who could have sent these to her? Verity decided to attend the ball. Perhaps she would encounter the sender at the ball. Although Verity came no closer to discovering the identity of the sender, she was offered an assignment to write about the Treadwell Foundation and the role they had played in helping young girls who found themselves unwed and pregnant over the years. As Verity conducted her research about The Treadwell Foundation throughout Australia’s history, she discovered a butterfly painting that was almost identical to the costume that had been sent to her. This discovery led Verity to do some digging in Morpeth. Would Verity be able to link the connections between the butterfly painting, Morpeth and the Treadwell Foundation? What would she discover?

The Butterfly Collector by Tea Cooper was an engaging historical mystery. As I learned about the occurrences of “baby farming “ that was so prevalent in Australia during that time period I was surprised at how many babies were taken away and sold. I really enjoyed the characters of Theodora, Verity and Clarrie. They were each strong women in their own right. The emergence and discovery of a new butterfly species in Australia was a phenomenon that I had not known about. I continue to admire Tea Cooper’s writing and enjoyed listening to this book. Even though this was not my favorite book of hers I enjoyed it and I recommend it.

Thank you to Harper Muse for allowing me to listen to the audiobook of The Butterfly Collector by Tea Cooper through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The book started a little slow for me. I did enjoy it, but it was not at all what I thought it would be about. Took a while to get into the characters and timelines, there two and they do come together and. you can pretty much guess the relationships of the characters to each timeline early on, but the how and why come much later in the book. About half way through it picked up and moved at a great pace. I would recommend this book and tell people, stick with it. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was okay. I had a hard time differentiating the voices of characters at times. I would recommend the book instead of the audio. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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"The Butterfly Collector" is a slow-burn mystery centered around two time periods, the 1860s and 1920s, both in Australia. In 1922, Verity receives an anonymous package with an invite to an exclusive ball, along with a beautiful butterfly costume. While there, she meets Mr. Treadwell, who invites her to use her journalistic skills to document the history of the Treadwell Foundation. Digging into the foundation's past reveals more than Verity bargained for.

This timeline shares the stage with Theodora and her family, in 1868. Living with her sisters, Theodora and her family are still reeling from the loss of their parents and brother. Theodora seeks solace in her art, documenting butterfly species and seeking to make her mark in the scientific community.

I found this book slow to get going, and a bit plodding overall. I'm not sure the butterfly theme worked for me, as it seemed too outside of the central plot to work; I found it more of a confusing distraction as I looked for the places where it might have importance. From a production standpoint, the audiobook was at times difficult to listen to, as there was quite a lot of narrator breathing that was audible. Both female and male characters were delivered in the narrator's natural voice, which made some of the male characters (especially the reverend) less genuine and harder to follow.

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Although the storyline definitely pulled me in, I had a hard time with this one.
Two alternating timelines. Late 1800’s and 1920’s.
Two completely different sets of characters that do not seem to intersect at all.
And, not really much to do with the title of the book.
We have Clarrie and Sid, who are young (very) lovers and fall into some hard times.
And then we have Verity, a journalist, who kind of falls into a situation, and then feels the need to get to the bottom of it!

Although there were some terrific ideas in the book,I felt like it was very disjointed and I had a hard time keeping up with the storylines. I also felt like it could’ve been done in less time…but these are just MY thoughts.

Thanks to #NetGalley and #HarperMuse for an ARC of the audiobook.

3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me.

#TheButterflyCollector by #TeaCooper.

Follow me to see all my upcoming reviews and previews on FB @ #BookReviewsWithElaine and on IG @ #BookReviews_with_emsr

Happy Reading!! 📖📚

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First, thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to review the audio version of this book in exchange for the following review.

The narrator was well chosen and enhanced this book.

The story is set in Australia during two time periods - the late 1800s and 1922 - post WWI where the main character Verity is a young aspiring journalist who receives a mysterious invitation to a costume ball with an elaborate Monarch Butterfly costume. This leads to her investigation of the charity, a old mystery which Verity works to solve. The author uses the arrival of the Monarch Butterfly on the east coast of Australia as a timeline and backstory of some of the characters from the late 1800s.

I can see why readers enjoy this story. It was not quite my cup of tea. The background and times are well done but the story didn't feel "hefty" enough for me. Just as I was getting into 1922 and Verity's story I was pulled back to the late 1800s.

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The Butterfly Collector is a historical novel set in Australia. What I found interesting is the dual timelines, set in 1868 and 1922. While you may not think they have much to do with each other, they come together to form the full story quite nicely. I thought this story was written quite well and I had the opportunity to listen to the audiobook and thought the narrator told the story in a way that made the listener feel like they were there. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to listen to this book.

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At first, the connection between timelines lies only in the bold colours of the monarch butterfly, but The Butterfly Collector soon becomes a double tale of mystery, deceit and good ol' investigation. It could be hard to keep all the details straight between timelines, especially as they uncovered details about the past, but it shed light on a very real, sinister part of Australian history. The audiobook, narrated by Emily Barrett, was a pleasant experience. Their voice was for the most part smooth, and easy to follow. Their character voices were distinct but not too jarring as to distract from the story.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of the audiobook in exchange for unbiased review..

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𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝘂𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗹𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿
𝗧𝗲𝗮 𝗖𝗼𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗿

⭐⭐⭐⭐

While it was this gorgeous cover that initially caught my attention, it was the story within that kept me glued to these pages. This dual-timeline historical mystery is a captivating breath of fresh air. In the oversaturated hist fic genre, it's always nice to read something completely unique. And it's set in Australia, which we just don't have enough of. We initially follow two completely different different stories: Theodora's in 1868, and the Verity's in 1922. The way Cooper melds these women's journeys together is such a treat, and took me completely by surprise in the best possible way!

🎧 I listened along with the audiobook, which was beautifully narrated by Emily Barrett. There's a fairly large cast here, and Barrett managed to give a unique voice to each of the characters. Though there are two timelines, I was able to keep them seperate with the help of her narration.

Add this one to your TBR, friends!

📌 Out now!

Thank you NetGalley & @harpermusebooks for my #gifted copies
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This was a compelling story about a heart breaking truth. It is written well and combines the two storylines well in the end. One woman in search of a rare (new?) butterfly befriends a maid who's baby goes missing. I appreciated the historical accuracies and the explanation of liberties taken within the author's note. Great Historical Fiction read!

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The Butterfly Collection
⭐️⭐️⭐️
I enjoyed the book at the beginning. It was really interesting. The book started to really drag & moved way to slow for me. It was very predictable. Thank you for the opportunity to read it. Sorry I wasn't really crazy about it. I've read lots of 5 stars back to back so my expectations are high.

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1868, Morpeth Twenty-one year old Theodora has spent the last two years of her life in mourning over the death of her parents and brother at sea. While she grieves their loss, this time in solitude hasn't been all that dismal for her. Preferring an introverted life where she can improve upon her art, Theodora has been reveling in this time at home. Theodora finds inspiration from the well-respected Scott sisters, who are making a name for themselves as flora and fauna illustrators. At a shocking chance in the garden, she spots a butterfly that has never before been seen in Australia. This is her first opportunity to finally make a name for herself and contribute to the world of science. Through the help of her maid and friend, Theodora aims to earn the credit for her discovery.

1922, Sydney: Twenty-five year old aspiring journalist Verity Binks has just been let go from her position. Now that WWI is over and men are returning, many employers are no longer interested in keeping the woman who filled these positions while they were gone. While she's downtrodden and unsure of how to keep up payments, she suddenly receives a mysterious package. There's a beautiful monarch costume and an invitation to a coveted masquerade ball. While at the ball, she is approached by a Mr. Treadwell who wishes her to write a book on the history of the Treadwell Foundation. As Verity begins to unravel Treadwell Foundation's past, she discovers a shady background that seems to go back more than fifty years. The Treadwell foundation and family have been covering up what's been really going on, but can Verity get this information out and stop them from continuing to hide the truth?

I thought this book was interesting, but the mystery was a bit lacking for me. I knew exactly what was happening, but the book was so long that it took a while to get there. I'm not sure if reading this one would've been better than listening, but the audiobook is over 10 hours long and I listen on 1.5x speed. For that reason I went from really enjoying it to just liking it.

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Verity is a would-be journalist until she loses her job to the returning soldiers. But, this does not stop her from going after a story. When she receives a costume and an invite to an esteemed ball, she jumps at the chance to write a story. However, this mysterious evening turns into much more than she bargained for.

Verity is a good character. She is determined to be a writer. And in this time period, that is a big challenge. Women are supposed to marry, have children and keep the home. This is not a part of Verity’s talents! So, I did admire her gumption!

This novel is unique in its subject matter, time period and setting. Now, I am not going to lie, I almost DNF it more than once, especially at the beginning. And it could be that I have read a few “sweet” books lately and I need a bit more action than this book offered. But it does get better, especially where the hunt for Charlie is concerned. (You will need to read this to find out!) And I did enjoy learning about the history of basically selling babies. I just don’t understand the cruelty of some people. Greed is a powerful thing!

The narrator, Emily Barrett, is not one I have listened to very often. I really enjoyed her voice and her cadence.

Need a unique historical fiction…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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