So which cover do you like best? I’m kind of fond of the last two. At least they have their heads.

“Reserve judgment until the truth is compelling.”

4.0 out of 5 starsAs the story begins, Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians are out and Charles Stuart is in. Eleanor is the daughter of Major William Goodricke, a strict Puritan and former soldier in Cromwell’s army.  Her father dies, leaving the family’s estate in Somerset, Tickenham Court, to a very young Eleanor. Her ward-ship is given to a like-minded associate of her father’s and he eventually marries her off to Edmund Ashfield. Eleanor loves her husband (so she thinks) but what about Edmund’s great friend, the dashing and ever so charming cavalier Richard Glanville who sets her heart a-flutter?

Eleanor settles into married life and motherhood, but the lure of the butterflies sends her flitting about the countryside in chase of them. Tragedy strikes, leaving Eleanor widowed – can she resist the charms of the oh-so-hunky Richard Glanville or will she keep her independence and control of her property? Well you know I’m not going to tell you but let’s just say that events start taking a dark turn and her fascination with the butterflies has spooked the superstitious country folk leaving her vulnerable to accusations of madness and witchcraft. Can she hold onto her property and her freedom? Or will she lose it all?

“no one who was not deprived of their senses would go in pursuit of butterflies”

This was a beautifully written novel, and one I had a hard time putting down. A lot of time is spent on Eleanor and her beloved butterflies, as well as the debates over whether or not to drain the fens (a very hot issue among the commonors) and may not suit readers liking their books action packed with heroines leaping tall buildings in a single bound, but for those who want to sit back and savor some lovely prose with a glass of red wine or a box of chocolates (or both!) this should do quite nicely. As very little of Eleanor’s life is known outside of birth, death and whom she married, the author has plenty of  *wiggle room* to weave her story as she sees it. Things did get just a wee bit melodramatic (the big search is all I’ll say), but a surprising ending and not one I saw coming at all. Eleanor is a passionate woman, and you will find some sex in this book, but I didn’t find it gratuitous, nor OTT as this reviewer from The Washington Post did.

FTC? I won it at Goodreads. Go and pester Harriet, she’s still not disclosing her book sources on all those blogs she has and we are all dying to know 😉