Tuesday, August 18, 2009

seriously romantic: butterfly tattoo by deidre knight

i've been a bad blogger lately, but the last two weeks have been a whirlwind and among my excuses are: birthday, work travel, personal travel, my niece's christening, and crazy deadlines at work, plus my recent obsession with cataloging my books instead of reading and writing about them [which i am blaming on my dear husband] and all my excuses amount to the fact that i haven't really been writing in part because i have been to busy to write and in part because i couldn't bring myself too. but that isn't to say that i haven't had anything to write about, i've had blog posts going on in my head for days now!

so i discovered butterfly tattoo while reading smart bitches-trashy books. twice recently, it came up on their top romance picks, and the first time i read the description, i thought--well, that sounds interesting--but being a judgy bitch myself, i couldn't get past the cheesy cover art [displayed in all it's cheesy glory above]. when it came up a second time, however, i figured maybe i should really give this book a chance. i mean we all know the saying regarding books and their covers. [sadly i will admit that i have often chosen not to read books because of their covers, and that one of the nice things about owning a kindle is that i read a lot more things that i probably wouldn't have read before because i can't see the covers at all.]

realizing that i was being silly about this cover, especially since i was going to download the book onto my kindle [since it isn't available in print just yet] i decided to go for it. and then i read. [actually what i find even more astounding is that samhain publishing prides itself on its cover art, but from what i've seen it's usually terrible and not all that sophisticated. though that is most likely the graphic design snob in me--not all their books are terrible looking, but a lot of them do look cheap, ahem...]

it's a beautiful story. it's about love and healing and hope and second chances. it's a story about two people with complicated pasts and how they overcome their pasts to make something of their lives together. it's actually a common enough story, but butterfly tattoo takes the tropes and turn them on their ears, and that, on top of the wonderfully evocative writing, make for an excellent reading experience.

the story follows michael, a widower still in the throes of grief and struggling to connect with his young daughter, and rebecca, a former actress who was viciously attacked and left scarred by a fan [the story is told in alternating chapters from each character's perspective]. rebecca is still learning to trust that others aren't out to hurt her, and in part because she is still in hollywood, a location renowned for it's superficiality and hunger for beauty, her scars inhibit her healing fully. michael works as an electrician on the studio lot and they run into each other in the dark, perhaps because of this they both open up to each other more than they would have otherwise.

because michael has secrets. secrets about his young daughter [i won't spoil it here but this one was pretty obvious from the get go] and secrets about his sexuality [i don't think i mentioned this, but michael's spouse alex wasn't a girl], and these are such big secrets, and they are so wrapped into his grief, that michael's journey, as it unfolds in the book, is utterly amazing.

michael is such a unique hero. his capacity for love is astounding. more than anything, that is what struck me about this novel. he is a tough guy but he is such a romantic, i don't know that he could exist anywhere but on paper. i loved michael. i loved all the characters in the book actually, all of them were beautifully drawn.

the one issue with the book, i think, is the rushed ending. the book develops the relationship over the course of weeks, months. i'd say the pacing is slow, but i mean that only in the best sense of the word. the book has a serenity, a wistfulness, a weight that is both light and heavy--it's so hard to describe. so after an event that causes rebecca to reconsider the relationship, and whether or not michael is ready to get past his gried, the couple spends about a month apart. and they do some healing, and then they meet up. and then the story is over. and it kind of goes from zero to sixty, and i think that speed struck me as unnatural. because the rest of the book had been so meticulously paced, it felt like all of a sudden they realized that the book going to reach three hundred pages and they wanted to wrap it up.

regardless this is a beautiful story. i loved it, and would highly recommend it.

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