The Butterfly Recluse
by Therese Heckenkamp
My rating: 3 / 5
Genre: Christian romance
Lila lives alone in a secluded location and hasn’t left her property for pretty much anything for years. She raises butterflies and is happy to just be alone with them. Until her life is disrupted by a man who wants her to sell him some butterflies for a butterfly release at his sister’s wedding. Harvey’s presence and persistence chip away at the fortress she’s built around herself and make her question if she’s really happy with her life the way it is.
On the surface, The Butterfly Recluse is a sweet, clean romance with some simple faith thrown in. There is a twist near the end and an action-filled climax. For me, it was a middle-of-the-road read. Harvey’s persistence annoyed me, and it was difficult for me to like him for a while.
Lila’s reclusiveness was what first interested me in the book. I am an extreme everything social (shy introvert with extreme social anxieties and even anti-social at times) that could easily lead to becoming a recluse in the right circumstances. In the end, though, her reasons for becoming a recluse weren’t related to her personality so much as caused by PTSD from a traumatic event in the past. Even still, she seemed to overcome her near-agoraphobia a little too easily from my perspective. And as far as her PTSD goes, I could see where the author was bringing it out, but I felt it was swept away too easily in some areas. Meanwhile, at one point, she really overreacts to what I assumed was an innocent statement (we never really know for sure) related to her past trauma, for the sake of the plot.
The romance was sweet, but also very cliche and filled with tropes. The way the two characters flirted early on, when they’d barely met, seemed like something out of a TV show for kids/teens. At the time of writing this review, the book was categorized as YA on some sites (though that information is less prevalent now). It wasn’t listed that way on the site I read it through and the main characters are adults, so I honestly don’t know if it’s meant to be YA. If it is, the romance may be spot-on, though still not for me.
I had some inklings about the plot twist, but still didn’t actually see it coming when it happened. The climax was a little overdone for me, but I think it would still appeal to many. I would say people who enjoy clean, YA romance would very possibly enjoy this book, and for others, it’s worth checking out other reviews to decide if you want to read it or not.
If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!