Cover Image: The Butterfly Collector

The Butterfly Collector

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

⭐⭐⭐ and a half

This probably deserves a higher rating than I've given it but the beginning was Just. So. Slow....

It is beautifully written although a tad too descriptive for my taste - too much telling me what I see not letting me develop it for myself. There is an enormous amount of set-up at the beginning which is necessary BUT made the first half just drag on for me.

The second half was much more my pace, and it came together well if a tad neat. I wasn't particularly surprised by any of the turns in the plot as they seemed logical and a likely way for the story to develop.

A well-researched, pleasant read that a lot of people will enjoy but not a stand-out novel for me.

Was this review helpful?

There are two stories and two timelines in this book. They are seemingly unrelated, but there is a common thread. The first timeline, in 1868, concerns a woman who loves collecting butterflies and in her efforts, she discovers a butterfly that is new to Australia, although well known in North America. Her pregnant maid has perhaps a more interesting story that takes up much of the book.

The second story takes place in 1922 when a young woman is displaced from her job because men returning from war are expected to take the jobs that women had held. On the same day she loses her job, she gets an interesting package with a beautiful butterfly outfit, along with an invitation. This starts Verity on a trail for a story that, perhaps, can be written and sold to the newspaper she had worked for.

The story jumps back and forth in time and it doesn't take too long to discover the common link. However, the actual reason for the linkage isn't revealed until much later in the book..

Each storyline triggered interesting historical interest on my part, but it was somewhat of a challenge to keep the stories separate, but linked, as I was listening to the book.

I listened to the audio version and I enjoyed the voice and accent of the narrator.

Was this review helpful?

I loved the cover of this book but unfortunately, I did not feel the same about the book. I read some other reviews and people loved it but I just could not get into it. I felt there were too many characters and I had a hard time keeping track of the past/present. I even had to write who was in what year and who they were.

Thanks for the opportunity to check it out.

Was this review helpful?

The Butterfly Collector AUDIO by Tea Cooper is a lovely listen focusing on a young woman who had been laid off from her job working at a newspaper in Sydney, Australia, opening her job to be filled by a returning veteran. She didn’t fault the concept but was unhappy about how it affected her. This novel takes place in two timelines: 1868 and 1922. In 1868 the bulk of the story takes place in Morpeth, and the 1922 portion takes place primarily in Sydney and follows this young woman struggling to became a newspaper reporter: Verity Binks. Verity’s grandfather, Sid, had worked in Morpeth, in the press room of the very newspaper who would break a life-changing article in 1922. He and his wife, Clarrie, had moved to Sydney after a nearly tragic incident in Morpeth. They had led a good life, and had one son, Charlie, who was Verity’s father. All were dead now and Verity was working hard on a story featuring a well-known family. In her research she discovered some startling information.

Verity was a strong and decisive character as was her grandmother, Clarrie. Her father had been a famous war correspondent who died in Palestine, reporting on a war. When Verity went to Morpeth to research the Treadwell family, she found some interesting information on her own as well as meeting Arlo, a descendant of the very woman who had painted the butterfly painting that had earlier intrigued her. There are so many twists and turns in this compelling story about a woman who loved nature and another who stole babies for a living, and the woman who put their stories together. She and Arlo kept talking to people and uncovering memories that led them to putting together the information they had. It was a well-plotted story, full of interesting facts, many of which are actually historical fact.

The narrator is Emily Barrett who had just the right voice and demeanor for this book. She portrayed Verity, her grandmother, Clarrie, and Arlo’s mother, Theodora, to perfection. He accent was just right, not too strong, and made listening such a joy.

I was invited to listen to an audio e-ARC of The Butterfly Collector by Harper Muse, through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #Netgalley #HarperMuse #TeaCooper #TheButterflyCollector

Was this review helpful?

My first book by Tea Cooper and I found that "The Butterfly Collector" to be a very interesting historical mystery. The narration by Emily Barrett was well done for all of these well written characters. The first timeline was in the 1860's with Theodora Breckenridge (the butterfly collector) and the second timeline is in 1922 with Verity Binks. I enjoyed both of these characters and the story they had to tell us. Such a fascinating story. Enjoy ❤️.

Thank you for the authors note, I like knowing the fact from fiction. I found it so informative and enjoyed learning all of the researched information.

Thank you NetGalley for the Advance Listeners Copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Thank you Tea Cooper for a wonderful read.

#NetGalley
#TheButterflyCollector
#TeaCooper
#HarperMuse

Was this review helpful?

Colleen Chi-Girl on GR
4 STARS

Can I just say this cover is AMAZING and so beautiful!! I received this ARC audiobook from NetGalley, Harper-Muse-Audio, and the author, Tea Cooper - thank you to all and here is my honest review:

I enjoyed this audiobook novel very much and found it to be a charming novel, especially if you like historical fiction and science-related information. It is set in New South Wales and Sydney, Australia. This is my first novel by the Australian author, Tea Cooper, who did a lot of research to illuminate the two different historical time periods, the characters and behaviors during those times, as well as the study of butterflies and illustration. These characters and time periods later tie together in a very interesting way, which I won't spoil for those who want to read this! My favorite time period and character was Verity in 1922!

I will be honest that it probably would have been easier for me to follow the novel in a print format since there are 2 POV by the 2 main characters during 2 time periods, which are all read by the same narrator, performing all female and male characters. Perhaps having a separate narrator for each time period would have been easier for me to follow the storylines, or having one female and one male narrator. Regardless, audiobooks are my preferred reading mode and they often come with a bit of confusion and replaying.

PUBLISHER'S BLURB: A botanical illustration of a butterfly, a missing baby, and a twisty mystery fifty years in the making:
1868, Morpeth. Theodora Breckenridge, still in mourning after the loss of her parents and brother at sea, is more interested in working quietly on her art at the family’s country estate than she is in finding a husband in Sydney society, even if her elder sister Florence has other ideas. Theodora seeks to emulate prestigious nature illustrators, the Scott sisters, who lived nearby. She cannot believe her luck when she discovers a butterfly never before seen in Australia. With the help of her maid Clarrie and her beautiful drawings, Theodora is poised to make a scientific discovery that will put her name on the map. Then Clarrie’s newborn son goes missing and everything changes.

1922, Sydney. When would-be journalist Verity Binks is sent an anonymous parcel containing a spectacular butterfly costume along with an invitation to the Sydney Artists Masquerade Ball the same day she loses her job at The Arrow, she is both baffled and determined to attend. Her late grandfather, Sid, an esteemed newspaperman, would expect no less of her. At the ball, she lands a juicy commission to write the history of the Treadwell Foundation, an institution that supports disgraced young women and their babies. As she begins to dig, her research quickly leads her to an increasingly dark and complex mystery—a mystery fifty years in the making. Can she solve it? And will anyone believe her if she does?

Was this review helpful?

Both MK and Susan have reviewed Tea Cooper's books and I've been wanting to read one. When I saw the offer of The Butterfly Collector as an audiobook review copy, I had to say yes.

The story is told in two time periods and locations in Australia: 1868 Morpeth and 1922 Sydney.

In 1868, Theordora Breckenridge stays at the family's country estate while her sisters go to Sydney to find husbands. As many women with means in this time period, she is interested in the natural world and finds a new butterfly. She is making a thorough scientific study of this new butterfly including painting it so that the discovery can be documented. She befriends a young woman of limited means who needs to provide for her child. The mystery begins in this timeline.

In 1922, Verity Binks is trying to follow in her grandfather's footsteps and become a journalist. She takes on an assignment to write about the history of the Treadwell Foundation which helps unwed mothers and their children. She uncovers a mystery.

I enjoyed the story and the characters. There are a lot of characters and the story flips back and forth between the two timelines - thankfully the chapters are labeled with the time period. However, I still had trouble following the story. If you are going to be on a train, boat, or plane this holiday season, then I recommend getting the audiobook as you will need to concentrate on the story. I was only doing housework and found it to be too much distraction.

The narrator Emily Barrett does a wonderful job and my struggle had nothing to do with her reading of the book. There is a lot going on in the novel and as it is a mystery there are bits and pieces dropped here and there that you have to keep up with.

I wish I had read it myself as I think it is a really great book but the struggle to follow the story and keeping the characters straight diminished my enjoyment.

If you enjoy historical fiction and want to learn more about Australia, then get this book.

My review will be published at Girl Who Reads on Wednesday - https://www.girl-who-reads.com/2023/11/the-butterfly-collector-by-tea-cooper.html

Was this review helpful?

Listen or read this one! This book is for you if you like:
- Historical Fiction
- Family Stories & Family History
- Nature & Art
- Mysteries & Crime
- Strong Female Characters

This is a really good story that twists and turns to the very end. The story goes back and forth between 1868 and 1922. Sometimes it was hard for me to make the transition almost every chapter. It takes most of the book to figure out all the connection between the two timelines. This book is hard to put down.

The narrator did a good job making the story come to life.

Was this review helpful?

Tea Cooper is a master at combining historical fiction with suspense and this was brilliant. Set in Australia with dual time periods, the character development is divine and the writing beautiful. The narrator is excellent and the audiobook has a nice rhythm and glow to it. For fans of Christina Baker Kline and Martha Hall Kelly.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed the two different times lines first and foremost. I loved the story overall but it lost a star for me because exploiting those less fortunate for something so precious hits a spot for me. It did however make me think, could this be possible? I think in today (and especially back then) society anything is possible but I will definitely be looking it up because I’m genuinely interested to know.

Overall, I really loved the book and even though there was that one thing I didn’t love I would absolutely recommend this book! I do plan on getting a physical copy for myself as well.

Thank you to Netgalley and the Author for allowing me to read this amazing book! I was not paid for this review and this review is my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to the publishers, author and NetGalley for the free copy of this audio book.

I enjoyed this historical mystery! Good pacing, and the timelines only got slightly confusing at times. I'll probably go back some day and re-read in a physical copy because I feel like I missed a few key points while listening. The narrator was fine, I just don't always follow alternating timelines as well in audio form!

Was this review helpful?

I could not finish this book for two reasons. It didn't hold my interest at all and it was hard to understand the narrarator at times.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Harper Muse and NetGalley for an advanced audio copy of The Butterfly Collector by Tea Cooper.

Tea Cooper uses dual timelines to tell a mysterious tale centered around family tragedy, a missing child, and a drawing of a butterfly. In 1868, Theodora Breckenridge is living with her sisters in Morpeth after the devastating loss of their parents and brother at sea. Theodora is the quiet sister who would rather spend time collecting and sketching butterflies than being presented in society in order to find a husband. When Theodora spies a butterfly she has never seen before, she sets out to discover more about it with the help of her suitor and her maid, Clarrie. However, Clarrie's life takes a devastating turn and Theodora must abandon her botanical discovery in order to make a more important discovery that hits close to home.

The second timeline follows an aspiring journalist, Verity Banks, who stumbles across a mystery when she receives an anonymous package in the mail containing a butterfly costume and an invitation to the Sydney Artists Masquerade Ball. This event lands her a lucrative opportunity to write a piece on the Treadwell Foundation, a charity supporting unwed mothers and their babies. Her research into this organization leads her down a tragic path that will change the lives of three families forever, including her own.

This was a very interesting story, and it was a very enjoyable audiobook. The title is a little deceptive because, while Cooper does create a connection between the butterfly drawing, the "collecting" process is only mentioned briefly. It was easy for me to connect to these characters, and Cooper has created villains who are easy to dislike. I learned a lot about Australian society during the late 1800s/early 1900s, which I previously had limited knowledge of and this book has peaked my curiosity to find more stories from this time period and setting. I appreciated Cooper's take on the nefarious events surrounding the brokering of babies and how class played a role in many of these cases. Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it if you like period pieces that are clean, but gritty, and have a story line that carries an element of mystery.

Was this review helpful?

Overall, I thought this audiobook was intriguing and peaceful. I would recommend for anyone searching for a cozy mystery or historical drama.

The setting of the novel was very interesting. The author has pretty descriptive writing which created a very vivid scene for the book to play out in. I really liked the use of the butterfly concept woven throughout the story -- it was very unique. The mix of historical elements within the mystery was also a very pleasant surprise. You can tell that the author put a lot of research into the historical elements which makes the entire story even better!

At certain scenes, the book got a little confusing with the different people and timelines when listening to the story via audiobook. Both timelines were "historical" themed, which made the distinction harder. Also, some of the parts seemed repetitive. The book could've been much shorter by cutting these sections out. For most of the book, we as readers knew where the timelines were linked and the likely scenario of the "mystery" -- it seemed less like a mystery, and more like watching the characters slowly find their way to the known outcome.

Specifically focusing on the audiobook, I really liked the narrator's voice. She was very soothing and had a nice tone to listen to. My only complaint was the couple of times where she would get extremely breathy. This starts to get a little annoying and distracting, which takes away from the story itself.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and Harper Muse for the ALC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Muse for the ARC of The Butterfly Collector!

This is a dual timeline, multiple POV story of the discovery of monarch butterflies in Australia and baby-farming. Two highly different topics, I know. In 1868 Theodora Breckenridge is grieving the loss of her parents and brother at sea when her sisters and their housekeeper decide to go to Sydney for the season. Theodora begs to remain in Morpeth, especially after discovering a butterfly she has never seen before, and her sisters eventually acquiesce to her wishes. Also in 1868, Clarrie is the maid of all work to the local minister who sacks her after finding out she is with child. Her beau, Sid Binks, works for the local paper, which is run by a friend of Theodora's, who then puts Sid and Clarrie in connection with Theodora for her to get a position in Theodora's household.

In 1922, Sid and Clarrie's granddaughter, Verity, loses her position writing for the newspaper and then receives a mysterious invitation and costume to the upcoming masquerade ball. At the ball she is put in contact with someone from the Treadwell Foundation, a group that provides lying in services to unwed mothers.

My thoughts:

The title of the story is misleading as the story is really about baby-farming across several generations and the strain on the story to tie it all together with butterflies is obvious. The interactions by the characters two generations later with the original players seems far-fetched. My biggest complaint is that the high point of action in the 1868 storyline is abandoned and solved by the 1922 storyline. Even if this is how the author wanted to tell the story, I really wish she had at least gone back to the 1868 storyline one more time. They just felt abandoned.

All-in-all it was an interesting story but not my favorite.

The narration was good. The narrator was easy to understand.

Was this review helpful?

I have to say that I really enjoyed this audiobook. I have never read anything from this author before. But after listening to this audiobook. I will be adding more of this author books to my tbr. The narrator does amazing job. I didn’t feel like I wasn’t getting into this book. Yes this audiobook took me a little longer to finish. But this was to good of a book to rush through. Especially with a mystery that need to be solved. I really felt bad for the mothers who did go through things like this in those times. And learning about a certain butterfly that made its way to Australia. That was so interesting. Had me googling that particular butterfly mentioned in this book. I went in not knowing to much about this book. I mean that cover alone is beautiful. And the fact that this is historical fiction. Won me over wanting to listen to this book. I enjoyed the two different POV and the different timelines. These two female characters are strong women. Never giving up on on story that needed to be wrote or trying to raise a family. So many fun and interesting characters in this book. I definitely want to get my own physical copy when this book is to be released. This book was nothing of boring. New part of the mystery on a different chapter.
I highly recommend this audiobook. This definitely a 2023 favorite audiobook. A book never to forget. And thank you the author and netgalley for the opportunity. This book does release on November 28,2023
My review will be posted everywhere I can leave a review. Definitely worth a read.

Was this review helpful?

The Butterfly Collector by author Tea Cooper, could not hold my interest and I loved the synopsis. I would definitely check this out if you like this kind of novel.

This book was a did not finish for me at about the 25% mark.

Thank you for the opportunity

Was this review helpful?

I found this novel to be fairly interesting, albeit a bit slow and somewhat confusing at times. The character development was weak for the most part. I never really understood how the butterfly collector piece connected to the illegal adoption piece. The narrator of the audio version was very pleasant to listen to with her lovely Aussie accent, but I had a hard time keeping track of which character was speaking because she didn't really change pitch or tone for different characters.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

I really enjoyed this historical fiction/mystery. The weaving timelines kept the intrigue at just the right level for me. I love how the characters all ended up fitting together across history, and the author's note at the end explaining what was fact based and what was entirely fictional was interesting.

My only problem with this book was with the narrator. She did not change up the voices between characters at all, so I was lost for a little while when the POV shifted or the timeline jumped between past and present. I could also hear her breathing, but that is a *me problem* for sure. I think this audio could have benefitted from at least two narrators to help with the timeline shift.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Netgalley for this book. This was my first time trying an audio book, and I'm not a big fan. I don't have any complaints about the Netgalley app which was easy to use. It's more that I'm a visual person and listening to the book did not give me the experience reading one does. I'm too enamored by the written word to enjoy it when someone else reads it to me. I need to see the words to experience them. That way I can linger over phrases and savor the feelings the words evoke in me.

I can't say whether I'd be giving this book 5 stars if I'd read it. All I can do is give the audiobook 4 stars because that's what I received.

Was this review helpful?