Monday, August 6, 2018

ARC Review: The Glass Butterfly by A.G. Howard

Title: The Glass Butterfly (Haunted Hearts Legacy #3)
Author: A.G. Howard
Publication Date: August 15, 2018
Publisher: Golden Orb Press
Pages: 382
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Reviews for book 1 & book 2

//I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review//
For close to a decade, twenty-five-year-old Felicity Lonsdale has masqueraded as a dowager almost twice her age—selling caterpillars to butterfly consortiums—enabling her to hide an ill-fated past while raising her late brother’s daughters. Together, the three live on an isolated Irish estate bequeathed by a dying earl. When the earl’s estranged son arrives to claim his inheritance by threatening to expose Felicity’s true identity, she longs to pack up her nieces and run. But a ghostly secret within the castle’s turret holds her captive.

Nick Thornton—a Roma viscount’s heir—is also captive. After a tryst with an investor’s wife nearly destroyed his family’s holiday resort, Nick forsook everything to elope with her. However, a tragic mistake at his hand led to her and his baby’s deaths. Refusing to turn to the family he shamed, Nick travels to seek the countess who once co-wrote a romance with his sister. There’s rumor of a special butterfly in her keep—a transparent-winged species with ties to the afterlife. Nick hopes to contact his dead wife and child, for only their forgiveness can free him.

Upon his arrival to Felicity’s estate, Nick offers to help her defeat the earl’s son, on the condition she allow Nick to investigate her glass butterflies. Felicity agrees, though fears the closer he gets to the ghosts of his past, the closer he’ll come to uncovering her own. As Nick spends time with Felicity and her nieces, he realizes the mystery enshrouding this fragile countess and her castle is more intriguing than the ghosts he originally came to find. And perhaps putting his dead to rest and helping her do the same will be his true path to redemption.

I've had the privilege of reading both previous books in this series early and the wait never gets easier! The Architect of Song was a masterpiece of fiction. I loved that book so much and will forever sing its praises. I also loved book two in the series, so The Glass Butterfly had a lot to live up to! When I read the synopsis of this book I was eager to see how Nick Thornton's story would play out. I loved him in The Hummingbird Heart and I desperately wanted to see his happy ending.

This story follows Felicity, a maybe-45-year-old woman who lives in an Irish castle and raises butterflies, along with her two nieces following her brother's death. Although she keeps herself isolated in the castle, she meets with trouble when her dead husband's son shows up and begins threatening her. She also receives a surprise visitor in the form of Nick Thornton, whom she knows from her tragic past, and tries very, very hard to keep him at arm's length, but things don't work out quite as she'd planned.

I adore both these characters so much! Nick, who I already knew from the previous book in the series, gets even better in this one. I loved getting to know more about him, learning his secrets and fears and desires. And Felicity, although she is infuriating and I wanted to strangle her over some of her decisions, is also a wonderful, strong heroine. I enjoyed watching Felicity stand up to the villain even more than I loved seeing Nick protect her against him! Both of these people have difficult backgrounds and, while it was difficult watching them together at times as they skirted around the truth, I appreciated seeing the process as they got to know and trust each other more.

So let's talk romance. This third book is perhaps the most adult of this new adult series, and I thought it was wonderful! As I said, these characters have much more tragic backstories than the characters in books one and two. Both have had previous marriages that ended in tragedy and both have found it difficult to stop dwelling on the past. I thought it was perfect that A.G. Howard allowed these characters' romance to be a bit more mature. Their chemistry was also incredible, as is the norm with all romance that she writes!

The setting, as usual, was amazing. Although The Glass Butterfly is set in the real world rather than a fantasy one, it was written in such a way that I could picture myself at the castle and on the grounds. In fact, I had a nightmare about the peat bogs showing up in my backyard after we'd had a particularly bad rainstorm!

Which brings me to the plot itself. Something that I love about these romances as opposed to some others I've read is that they're so much more than JUST romance. There are so many other elements at play than just angst and kissing. I also loved the bits of the paranormal that are woven into this story. I can't say much without spoilers, but I found it to be unique and loved what it added.

The Glass Butterfly had a lot to live up to and I'm happy to say that A.G. Howard absolutely delivered! Nick and Felicity's story was a fantastic third installment in this series and really sets up for book four without ending on a cliffhanger. I can't wait to get my hands on it! In closing, I'd like to leave you with my favorite quote from this book, spoken by the youngest of Felicity's girls to Nick, "What happened to your dog, Mister? He’s quite ugly."