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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Butterfly by Kathryn Harvey

Butterfly by Kathryn Harvey
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Genre: Recent Historical
Length: Full length (370 Pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

From New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Harvey comes an arousing, passionate story of three women’s hidden desires and the place called Butterfly, where dreams are kept and where fantasies come to life.

Above an exclusive men’s store on Rodeo Drive there is a private club called Butterfly, where women are free to act out their secret erotic fantasies. Only the most beautiful and powerful women in Beverly Hills are invited to join: Jessica, a lawyer who longs for the days when men were men, and women dressed to please them; Trudie, a builder who wants a man who will challenge her—all of her—with no holds barred; and Linda, a surgeon, who uses masks to unmask the desires she hides even from herself.

But the most mysterious of them all is the woman who created Butterfly. She has changed her name, her accent, even her face to hide her true identity. And now she is about to reveal everything to realize the dream that has driven her since childhood—the secret obsession that will carry her beyond ecstasy, or destroy her and everyone around her.

Reissued to coincide with Harvey's Villard hardcover sequel, Stars. This bestselling novel centers around an exclusive club on Rodeo Drive where women are free to act out their wildest erotic fantasies. But the paradise soon becomes a den of treachery, and its most prominent members find their lives threatened by their darkest obsessions.

Butterfly is an exclusive club for ‘lonely’ women, concealed within the confines of a high-end Beverly Hills men’s shop. Successful doctor Linda, high-powered attorney Jessica, and swimming pool contractor Trudie, are all members. Each is looking for that elusive something that will make their lives complete. Each of these women are successful in their professions, at a time when these are male dominated areas. But who is the driving force behind Butterfly, and why? That is the real story here, and it is one of betrayal, determination and ultimately, of revenge. It is the story of Rachel Dwyer, and how far she will go to right the wrongs done to her.

This book is a fascinating look at the lengths one smart and determined woman will go to, in order to cause the utter humiliation of the one person who ruined her life. The various threads of what Butterfly is, what the three women, Jessica, Trudie and Linda have in common and who is behind it all are woven together with intricate care and detail, and encompassing more than three decades in the life of the main character orchestrating it all. Above all, this is the story of Rachel Dwyer and Danny McKay, and how things can go so terribly wrong sometimes.

This book begins in the late seventies, at Butterfly, with the women who want to fulfill their fantasies and feel something. Linda is looking for that elusive thing, an orgasm, after two husbands have called her frigid; she needs to explore herself and discover why. Trudie lives for her visits to Butterfly, not understanding why her Saturday night pick-ups don’t measure up to what she has at the club. And Jessica, powerful and successful as an attorney to the rich, powerful and famous, just wants someone to see her for the strong woman she is, not the inept and inconsiderate person her husband considers her. Each of these women discovers the cause of her particular difficulty and is finally able to move on, thanks to the men of Butterfly.

In this book, we meet Rachel when she is an impressionable fourteen year old, and she is already aware that she is quite unattractive, almost ugly in fact. When her father comes home drunk, he decides to try and have sex with her, but her mother knocks him out with a skillet and tells Rachel she needs to get away while she can, and thus begins Rachel’s journey through life. She meets and falls for Danny, but he sees her as just a means to an end. He takes her to a west Texas brothel, and sets her up with the madam, where even someone who looks like Rachel will be able to earn her keep. Two years later, Rachel is still there but Danny is moving on to bigger and better things, and finally tells her just what he really thinks of her, tossing her out on the side of the road, bleeding, after a botched abortion. This is where it really starts getting good.

Rachel is highly intelligent, and extremely motivated. She reinvents herself, and becomes Beverly Highland, one of the most powerful women in Hollywood by the time she is thirty. I loved watching as Rachel/Beverly recreated herself, all for the purpose of bringing Danny McKay down. Everything she does is with one single goal; find a way to raise Danny McKay up as high as she can, just so she can destroy his life. I like Rachel’s strength of character, something she held onto no matter what life threw in her path. I also liked that she never forgot her friends, and was able to help them turn their lives around.

Danny McKay is a scheming and egotistic man, always looking for ways to trick or cheat his way to the top. He becomes one of the most popular and well loved evangelists, with millions of followers, based in part on the miracle he performed early in his career: bringing a man back to life during one of his huge revivals. He is sneaky, and will dispose of anyone who stops serving his purpose. It is this very trait that will bring Danny down, because every person he carelessly discards is then helped by Rachel and all of them become pawns in her war to destroy Danny.

This may sound like there are no happy ever afters in this one, but you would be wrong. The way Ms. Harvey has woven the threads here to bring happy endings for Jessica, Trudie and Linda, and even a happy ending for Rachel/Beverly. It is a story that spans the period from the Great Depression of the thirties through to the seventies, and I found it fascinating that the turning point in so many lives here was the death of President John F. Kennedy, tragic though that was. If you are looking for a fascinating and intriguing trip trough the past, and the motivations behind what people will do to each other, I highly recommend Butterfly.