Elle Harper
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Elle Harper
Release Date
January 2014
Contemporary Romance, Literary Romance, New Adult

Butterfly is a journey of two damaged people's struggle to find inner strength, trust, and hope...

Grace Elliot is falling apart. Overwhelming tragedy has turned her world into a dark and lonely place. Facing the pain and the ghosts is impossible. Hiding her secret behind a mask of confidence and living a lie is the only thing she knows how to do. She's alive...but not living.

Counsellor Ben Hardy is certain he can help Grace heal. Maybe it's a way to rid himself of the demons haunting him from that one horrific night when his life shattered.

When they meet, everything changes, and their pasts offer them a remedy to save each other...until Ben's traumatic history threatens to destroy the trust they've built.

Will the truth tear them apart? Or will it force them to understand the healing power of forgiveness and love?

Book Review by Rebecca (author,reviewer)
Feb 13, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
146 people found the following review helpful
BUTTERFLY by Elle Harper is a contemporary romance which revolves around Grace Elliot, whose life was shattered when she was raped by her boyfriend. Grace has never been able to talk about what happened to her, not even to her best friend Lisa, but neither has she been able to accept it and, though she presents a normal facade to the world, she is living a life full of fear, self-hatred, recurrent nightmares and obsessive behaviour brought on by the trauma she suffered.

Ben Hardy is the hero of the story and when he sees Grace coming away from the Women's Centre, he recognizes the pain in her eyes and feels compelled to help her. He is carrying the burden of guilt and grief from losing his sister, who suffered a similar attack and killed herself as a consequence. To try and move on with his life, he has qualified as a counselor and his aim is to procure a job as a rape counselor. He is attracted to Grace but he also knows he can help her and he wants to save her as he was unable to save his sister.

Each chapter switches between Ben's and Grace's perspectives, which is an effective way of showing the reader everything that is happening, how each character feels and how the relationship is developing from their point of view. Ben harbors another secret in regard to his past, and despite his ability to help others, he is also full of self-loathing and cannot recognize his own need for healing, forgiveness and redemption. The author portrays both main characters very sensitively and realistically in this regard.

Their relationship develops slowly but meaningfully as Grace, understandably, cannot trust men and feels unable to be a "normal" woman. She says: "I've been unable to trust anything anymore--my judgement, my sanity, not even a locked door. Nothing feels safe." She is encouraged by Ben to write a journal about her journey and the reader is caught up in their burgeoning romance and the very authentic way Grace's transformation is portrayed.

The steady blossoming of the love between Ben and Grace and the predictability of this is relieved a little when Grace meets another girl, Rebecca, who has suffered the same fate as her at the hands of the same man. The two girls support each other in reporting what happened to them to the police. The exposure of Ben's past (in an effort by the defense to soil Grace's reputation) leads Grace to question Ben's character and whether she can trust him and adds a bit of dramatic tension.

I thought the author chose a very appropriate title in BUTTERFLY and she follows this up with some very nice imagery in the book. For example, Ben says: "Their stages of life mimic our own phases--growth, hard times, vulnerability, and then moments of miraculous transformation where we're unrecognizable at the end of our journey."

BUTTERFLY by Elle Harper is a lovely, uplifting tale that combines a love story with a more meaningful message about dealing with trauma and learning to trust again. I would have preferred it to be a bit less predictable and, for me, it did lack a certain spark. I prefer romantic novels with a bit more excitement and intrigue, whereas this was sometimes a little too like reading a true story or a diary.

Having said this, that was the nature of the story and could be identified as its strength. I think many people would give this romance 5 stars because it fulfills everything that it sets out to do. It is written well and it presents Grace (and Ben's) journey in a very believable and perceptive way.
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