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book cover Limecello’s review of Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight
Contemporary romance published by Samhain Publishing on 21 Apr 2009

I heard a lot of talk about Butterfly Tattoo, all good things. Excessively good things, in fact, so I had to see for myself what the hype was all about. While I don’t think I liked it quite as much as everyone else did, I do think it’s a great book and very thought provoking. I think it would make an amazing film, if it stayed true to the book. I’m try not give too much away in the review, but I hope I’ve intrigued you, and that you read this book.

I thought about Butterfly Tattoo for a day or two before I sat down to review it. There’s a lot to process, and so much going on, yet at the same time the book is quite sedate, and almost painstakingly slow and measured. Nevertheless I was completely engaged and involved in the story. I thought about the characters throughout the day, and wondered about their situation and emotional state.

I liked how you got to know the characters throughout the course of the book. Both Michael and Rebecca are a bit stilted, but become much more personable as you read on. This also makes sense because the two open up, and begin living their lives once they end up together.  I don’t normally like books written in first person, but I got used to it in Butterfly Tattoo, and felt it was the best style for the characters. It was necessary, and possibly the only way to actually get to know Michael and Rebecca. It also helps underscore how very isolated each of them is.

I don’t normally do this… but I’m going to discuss the hero first. Michael Warner is an extremely unexpected character. His life and past makes him very interesting, and I can honestly say he is unlike any other hero I’ve ever read about, in a very good way. He’s very intense, and quite special. Anybody would be lucky to have someone like Michael in his or her life. He’s completely broken at the beginning of the book, yet doing a respectable job of keeping it together and providing for his daughter. He’s quite charming when he tries, and I loved getting into his head.

Rebecca O’Neill is a studio executive, but she used to be an actress. She’s led an entirely different life after being attacked by a fan and almost dying. After the incident, Rebecca has tried to pull her life back together, but still closes herself off. I really liked seeing Rebecca coming back to life. She’s a kind, warm, and good person. I was continually impressed by her generosity and strength. The amount of crap Rebecca is willing to put up with from Michael is also admirable, yet for once I wasn’t annoyed or felt that the heroine was being a doormat.

For once, I liked a child in a book. Andrea, Michael’s daughter, and Rebecca connected because they both bear scars, which is very fortuitous. (That they connected. The reasons for both their scars are excessively tragic.) At the same time, Rebecca and Michael connect well. I like how they bumble along, and their relationship is stilted, and flawed, yet so perfect. In fact, there was the slight theme of butterflies which I enjoyed (and I hate butterflies), with the characters slowly emerging from their cocoons of grief/living a half life, and reclaiming their place in the world.

I will say there was a time or two when I got a little fed up with the characters and how much they stayed in their heads. However, that was minor. There’s a special quality to Butterfly Tattoo that I’m having difficulty articulating. There was so much going on in this book. I loved the secondary characters and the complexities. While Butterfly Tattoo didn’t have a lot of action, it had a lot of drama, in a good sense. It’s a pipe dream, but I do think this would be the perfect film. There are so many intricate and progressive aspects to this book. It’d be great as an indie movie. I definitely recommend reading this book – and staying with it. (I will, however, say this is likely not a book to read in one sitting.)

LimecelloGrade: A-

Just when the darkness seems permanent, fate flips a switch.

Michael Warner has been drifting in a numb haze since his lover was killed by a drunk driver. As the anniversary of the wreck approaches, Michael’s grief grows more suffocating. Yet he must find a way through the maze of pain and secrets to live for their troubled young daughter who struggles with guilt that she survived the crash.

Out of the darkness comes a voice, a lifeline he never expected to find—Rebecca O’Neill, a development executive in the studio where Michael works as an electrician.

Rebecca, a former sitcom celebrity left scarred from a crazed fan’s attack, has retreated from the limelight and from life in general, certain no man can ever get past her disfigurement. The instant sparks between her and Michael, who arrives to help her during a power outage, come as a complete surprise—and so does her uncanny bond with his daughter.

For the first time, all three feel compelled to examine their inner and outer scars in the light of love. But trust is hard to come by, especially when you’re not sure what to believe when you look in the mirror. The scars? Or the truth?