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Of Moths and Butterflies by [Christensen, V.R.]
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Of Moths and Butterflies Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 607 customer reviews

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Length: 624 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"A lovely, haunting story. The first paragraph drew me in and I could not stop. The author's writing is superb, like a river flowing through a beautiful landscape that is sometimes light, sometimes dark and threatening. A gorgeous book!"  ~ Susanne O'Leary, author of A Woman's Place and Swedish for Beginners

"V.R. Christensen's work reminds one of literature from the turn of the century, when masterful writers gave their characters emotional gestures and restrained dialogue. A tremendous accomplishment for a contemporary writer."  ~ Janie Bill, author

"What really makes this work is the author's understanding of social attitudes in the 19th century.  An enjoyable read!"  ~ N. Gemini Sasson, author of Isabeau: A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer and The Crown in the Heather, Worth Dying For and The Honor Due a King (The Bruce Trilogy)

"Poor Imogen, cursed with money. All the things that money does to a family, the paradoxes of having and not having, of how money ruins the best of intentions, and the author combines all this with writing of the highest quality."  ~ Jeff Blackmer, author of Draegnstoen and
Highland King (People of the Wall)

"What scandalous mystery, what delicately hinted corruption wrought behind closed doors! The dialogue flows effortlessly, drawing the reader into the times. Of Moths & Butterflies is masterful for its genre!" ~   Toby Neal, author of Blood Orchids

From the Author

For more about the author, visit

Product Details

  • File Size: 3639 KB
  • Print Length: 624 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Captive Press (January 20, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 20, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005TA7SFQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,976 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Set in the late nineteenth century, this novel has a female protagonist trying to escape her past and monetary fortune, a very curious man, some over-friendly cousins, and a few greedy folk for good measure. An arranged marriage appears to ease our protagonist's troubles, but instead new problems arise everywhere.

I particularly liked how dialog heavy Christensen was in this novel. Christensen's dialog felt natural, restrained, characterized excellently, and smoothly flickers between intense and amusing. Though the novel was almost six hundred and fifty pages, it still felt like a light read from the interesting drama and dialog. In these pages there's a slow build up and shaping of the plot, and characters' interactions with one another.

However, I would have liked to see the protagonist humanized a little earlier, her light flaws become apparent rather late into the novel. Almost every other character loves her or hates her right upon meeting her, only towards the ending do we see other characters moving away from the extremes of feelings for her.

As a warning, there are references to past sexual abuse.

After reading the book, I found the author's blog post about it rather interesting and made me rethink themes of the book placed in contemporary times. Most interestingly, what happens if one goes into a marriage with absolutely no expectations?

I would heavily recommend this book to anyone looking for a dramatic romance, and furthermore I think this book would be lovely for fostering conversation at a bookclub meeting.

I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author via LibraryThing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Now that I have finished reading the book, this is an edited review of my post when I reached the 40% mark.

I have no complaints as far as the quality of the author's writing. At 648 pages for the print edition, it reads like a slow murmur - a soothing narrative, an opportunity to read for the pleasure of reading. However, its strength is often its weakness.

The first 2/5ths of the book is excrutiatingly slow paced and frustrating in the sense that it can be summarized in Imogen's determination to be miserable. She is supported by a handful of characters who basically enable her in her quest for martyrdom. When Imogen sits in the shade, she wishes she were in the sun. She moves to the sun to wish she were back in the shade. Over and over and over again.

As a 21st century analogy, imagine Imogen being that familiar facebook sort of friend who frequently updates her status with "worst day of my life", "I wish I could be happy" and then responds to comments such as "what's wrong?" or "this too shall pass" with frustratingly defeatist and self-pitying "I don't want to talk about it" or "I know". There's over 250 pages of this.

Making it worse is the author was obviously aware of her protagonist's course since several characters, even the "evil" ones point out her persistence to wallow in self-pity, yet she unsurprisingly responds by saying she can't help it. Oh well, at least she's consistent.

Fortunately Imogen gradually begins to make an effort and our secret wish that the novel turn into a murder mystery abates (Imogen being the victim). It could've been one way for this novel to go because the list of suspects would've been long, the reader being one of them. Commenters reading this might criticise me for my harsh judgement of Imogen.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Of Moth and Butterflies is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction that firmly integrates the social and economic realities of gender and class in the late Victorian period in England into a story of mystery, suspense, and romance.

Imogen Everard, the heroine, struggles over and over to achieve some sort of independence, yet is thwarted time and again, like the insects captured and displayed in the specimen boxes of Archer Hamilton. Hamilton, himself, turns out to be equally caught by a web of family secrets and demands, and his own lack of courage to break free. Their stories, woven together as their fate begins to intertwine was very moving, and I really cared about the outcome.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the role of secondary characters, good and evil, particularly the humor that was revealed when the protagonists' dearest relatives and friends, Claire and Roger, finally meet. I strongly recommend to people who love the Victorian era; they will feel like they had a lovely visit to that time and place with this book.

M. Louisa Locke, author of Maids of Misfortune
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Format: Kindle Edition
This carefully, beautifully crafted novel takes the reader on a journey toward love, acceptance, enlightenment, insight, and trust. It really is written in the style of a Victorian novel (It brings to mind several authors) and it takes place in Victorian times. The book is filled with riveting characters, and each one is lovingly fleshed-out, so that the reader grows intimately attached to all (except Sir Edmund and Wyndham, the dark side of the mirror, so to speak), and learns to understand what emotions, life events, and histories are prompting their actions (and in some cases, inactions). While I liked and rooted for Imogen, I was perhaps most drawn to Archer. He is a complex hero in every sense. Young Charlie, too, was a well-drawn child who tugs at, and captures, the heart.

Imogen suffers an attack. This event affects her so profoundly that she runs away from home and what's left of her family and pretends to be a servant. Her rashly-made choice will change her life, in some ways for the better, and in some ways for worse. Due to the act of running away, she is exposed to Archer, who also has mysteries and pain in his own past, and who is very much drawn to this captivating young woman he believes to be a low-born servant. Yet, subconsciously, he can tell that is not the case. She is also exposed to Sir Edmund, Archer's uncle, one of the most despicable, unlikeable, cruel fictional characters I have ever had the misfortune and the pleasure of meeting in the pages of a book. Another of my favorites was the wise and inestimable Mrs. Montegue, who throws in her two cents at the most opportune moments, and it would be an error to not mention the tragic, heartbreaking Bess, (Charlie's mother) who literally brought tears to my eyes; and the crotchety yet loyal Mrs. Hartup.
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