Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight

Samhain

Contemporary Romance

ISBN: 978-1-60504-134-6

Reviewed by Chris

   

 

Several years ago Rebecca O’Neill, an actress on a popular television program, survived a brutal attack by a deranged fan. Despite numerous plastic surgeries, Rebecca is still physically scarred and in a place like Hollywood, looks are everything. Now, she’s a behind-the-scenes executive in a studio, searching for that next great script. Unfortunately, her self-esteem took just as bad a blow as her body. Her parents moved across the country to nurse her back to health, but despite their nurturing and survivors’ therapy, Rebecca can’t overcome the post-traumatic stress caused by the attack. It didn’t help that less than two weeks after the incident and before the bandages even came off, her long time boyfriend and fellow actor, Jake, dumped her. Rebecca’s trained and re-shaped her body, but a muscular physique won’t camouflage the scars. Nor will it heal the asthma, panic attacks, or weakness left in her hand.

Enter Michael Warner. Electrician, widower, and father, Michael can’t seem to get past his partner’s loss and move on. His family’s life irrevocably changed the day a drunk driver killed Alex and physically and emotionally scarred their daughter, Andrea. Despite therapy, Andrea’s failed to open up to anyone and most days, Michael can barely motivate himself, let alone her. Accompanying her father at the studio one day, Andrea runs into Rebecca. Intrigued by the woman’s scars, she begins to open up.

Encouraged, Michael drags Rebecca into his life. He tells himself it’s for his daughter’s sake, but deep down, he’s attracted to the complex woman. The problem? Michael’s life partner was a man. Torn between what he desires and what he thinks he should desire, he needs to come to grips with what he wants and what others think is best for him.

I don’t even know how to begin to thoroughly explain Butterfly Tattoo. Normally I read stories whose characters are driven more by external conflict than internal conflict. Not so with this novel (and believe me, you’re getting your money’s worth page-count wise here). Intelligent heroine who has survived despite insurmountable odds? Check. Brooding, complicated hero? Check. Fully fleshed out secondary characters? Yep. Sufficient internal conflict? Whoa, yeah!

I’m not sure this is the type of book I could re-read again and again. Ms. Knight takes her reader, as well as her characters, on a winding emotional path full of potholes and switchbacks that’d put an Irish backcountry road to shame. She has to, in order to convince us that a man who partnered with another man for thirteen years could turn around and fall in love with a woman. She rummages around in her characters’ heads, dragging everything but the kitchen sink out of their mental closets. Estranged family members, overprotective parents, first loves, insecurities, failures: it’s all there. Vivid imagery and twists of words will remain long after you finish the novel. Things like, “When you work with writers for a living like I do, life’s little details are an herb garden, and you pluck a few ripe things here and there to give away.”

This story is more like an English cottage garden. All the diverse colors and shapes and wild unkemptness is tied together by a single unifying path: love. All I can say is go out and buy this book.

     

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