Cover Image: The Butterfly Collector

The Butterfly Collector

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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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I had to sit with this book for several days after finishing it to develop my thoughts on it. When I finished the book it felt underwhelming, though decently satisfying at the end. It's an interesting part of history, though not handled with as much nuance as it could. The book attempts to balance three POVs set in two different time periods. The more modern narrative works well to create intrigue around the past but the inclusion of one of the POVs in the past felt superfluous. The character's POV, which the book's title refers to, feels unneeded and more like a distraction to pad the pages than a character one needs to be in the head of. Ultimately the book feels less like it's trying to tell a compelling story that reveals true history and delves into the more cheap, salacious nature these stories can easily become. It feels truly well-intentioned as a story but not enough to recommend it when there are so many other stories about the tragic separation of unwed mothers and their babies out there.

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I had a bit of a hard time getting into this book but I think that's b/c I was listening to the audio and it had so many characters and the timeline kept jumping forward and back. Once I got into the book it was great! I knew something was going to happen to Charlie at some point but kidnapping?! I love that Verity was not going to be held back and did what she needed to do to solve the mystery! This was my 1st book by Tea Cooper but will not be my last!

#TheButterflyCollector
#NetGalley

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This was a really refreshing historical fiction book! I loved the setting and dual timelines. Great audiobook as well

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The book had my attention for the first 25%, and it reminded me quite a bit of a Kate Morton novel. I loved the Australian setting and dual timelines.

However, after the beginning, I found the plot to be quite slow and my interest waned. Overall, this story wasn't fast paced enough for me.

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Book Review
Title: The Butterfly Collector
Author: Tea Cooper
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Narrator: Emily Barrett
Length: 10 hours, 43 minutes
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

The Butterfly Collector is a historical mystery written by the Australian author, Tea Cooper. The audio version was capably narrated by Emily Barrett whose youthful and breathy delivery captured just the right pace and presentation.

The story unfolds in dual time lines. Here’s the set up:

Morpeth, New South Wales, 1968 - Theodora Breckinridge, the daughter of a famous naturalist, is an aspiring nature illustrator striving to make a name for herself. Theodora discovers a species of butterfly never before seen in Australia. She appears to be at the point of a breakthrough when her maid Clarrie's baby goes missing.

Sidney, New South Wales, 1922 - As serviceman return home from the war needing employment, Verity Binks loses her job as a stenographer at the Sydney Arrow. On the same day she finds herself unemployed, Verity is surprised to receive an anonymous package containing a paid ticket to the Sydney Artists’ Masquerade Ball along with a mask and a magnificent butterfly costume. While at the ball, Verity is introduced to the esteemed Mr. Treadwell who commissions her to write the history of the Treadwell Foundation, a charity dedicated to aiding young women who find themselves in “disgrace.” As we alternate timelines, we unwind the twisty connections that lay between Theodora and Verity, decades old secrets are unraveled and painful truths are confronted.

The Butterfly Collector is a satisfying mystery unveiling tragic truths of Victorian society, politics, and women’s struggles with reproductive expectations and rights across social classes. (DM if you have concerns about triggers.) The novel is well researched, and its characters are well developed. While the ending got a bit cluttered with its final revelations, I’d recommend The Butterfly Collector to lovers of historical fiction and mystery, who wish to be transported to a different place and time.

I’d like to thank the author @Tea_Cooper, @HarperMuse and @NetGalley Audio for the gift of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Look for it! Pub Date: 28 Nov 2023

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I tried several times to get into this book but it just wasn’t for me. I think it would appeal to readers who like sweet period pieces that move at a quiet pace. I think I was expecting more of a twisty mystery, that just happened to be set in a historical era and found the pace much to slow. Love the cover of this book!

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I found this very difficult to stay with. I kept falling asleep and I didn’t like the storyline. I couldn’t seem to connect with either the story or the characters. It just wasn’t for me.

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I struggled to get into the one. The audiobook was hard to follow. I might try to physical book at a later time, but this wasn't a favorite. Though what a compelling premise.

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Excellent historical fiction about real events in Australian history! In 1868, Clarry is a young unmarried pregnant woman who is fired from her housekeeping job once her condition becomes apparent. Her attentive and loving boyfriend, Sid works for a newspaper and finds a midwife to take Clarry in and care for baby Charlie once Clarry secures employment as a companion for Theodora, a young woman who is estranged from her sisters following the tragic deaths of their parents and brother in a shipwreck. To her sisters’ dismay, Theodora is more interested in studying and painting butterflies than in societal expectations.
In 1922, Verity is trying to follow in her grandfather Sid’s footsteps and become a journalist in spite of her gender. When Verity stumbles upon a lead for a story about babies being stolen and either killed or adopted out for the previous 50 years, she sees her breakthrough into serious journalism and finds out that the stories are connected to her own past.
I found this audio book to be very entertaining and I think the book will be just as good. The dual timeframes were well written and the characters well developed. The unfolding of a mystery along with interesting history really added to the book. I appreciated the author’s note about her research and the interesting facts around the discovery of Monarch butterflies in Australia as well as the horrendous “baby farms”. I enjoyed the audio book so much that I finished it in 2 days!
#NetGalley #HarperMuse

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This was an interesting book which covered various topics and I really enjoyed it I would recommend this book for others who enjoy cozy picture

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The Butterfly Collector by Tea Cooper takes place between 1868, Morpeth and 1922, Sydney. Theodora Breckenridge an aspiring artist who discovers the first Monarch butterfly sighting in Australia. As Theodora searches for more butterflies she get swept up with Sid Binks and his girlfriend Clarrie, who just gave birh to Charlie. Clarrie is hired by Theodora as a her maid and to help her find more of the butterflies. In 1922 Verity Binks is sent a mysterious package and an inventation to attend a gala. Her goal is to write an article for the local newspaper with the hopes of getting her old job back. Verity is commensioned to write an article about the Treadwell Foundation. Once she starts her investigation/research she finds that the Treadwell Foundation is not what meets the eye. This is a fast read and I could wait until all the pieces fell into place at the end. Anyone who loves a good historical mystery book will love this one. If you love Kate Morton's books you will love Tea Cooper's books.

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I had the pleasure of listening to the audio version of The Butterfly Collector. I thought it was a pretty good historical mystery. I liked it and am giving it four stars.

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It is worth the ending! When first starting this book I felt a bit disjointed with the two stories in two different times, and was not sure if I would enjoy it. But, the way the author pulled together the two stories was done extremely well. Once you have ajustes to the switching of times the book is incredibly enjoyable. The pacing is well done and you find yourself slowly unraveling the mystery of the story like a butterfly unraveling its cocoon.

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Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.

2.5 stars

Two time lines, one conclusion...this one just was not for me.

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Perfect listen, the narrator was wonderful for this story and kept me engaged from beginning to end. A cozy mystery set in the 1860s and early 1900s in Australia. The characters were well developed and intriguing. A truly captivating listen. Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Muse for this early audio. 4.5 stars

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Pub day: November 28, 2023

This was a little bit of a tough start due to not feeling connected to the narration. For whatever reason the voice didn’t feel like it properly reflected the situation or character and that disconnect continued or the entire book. The story took awhile to get into, it wasn’t until about 25% in that I finally started feeling interested and invested in it but then I did find myself looking forward to learn more about the characters. I appreciated the nods to factual events, the mystery, and the connecting of the two timelines.

Thank you Harper Muse for the alc via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Well done book with 2 storylines running in parallel that eventually converge into one. Appreciate the author's notes at the end that outlined which parts were based on true history and which parts were more fictionalized. Well written that really took you back to another time, to Australia. Based on the characters involved, you can figure out how it ends, to a point, but several twists need to be navigated to get there.

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I enjoyed this book. I loved the back and forth with the timelines. The audiobook was easy to listen to

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I felt this story dragged, actually stopped listening for awhile and went through other books before returning to finish. Interesting to learn about the illegal adoptions that so frequently occurred in Australia early in the 19th Century. It tended to lose me though with the butterfly research that had so little to do with much of the rest of the plot other than to highlight some historical facts of butterfly identifications by amateur enthusiasts. Finely narrated by Emily Barrett, Thank you to Net Galley and Harper Muse for the advance Reader Listen to this Audio Book.

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