Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book, for which I give my honest review, through Goodreads First Reads.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
In Chasing the Butterfly, debut fiction author Jayme H. Mansfield brings out wonderfully realized imagery and emotion as well as a cast of flawed people, Mansfield’s deft style causing the reader to view this story chiefly set in France as its heroine Ella Moreau would: as if through the eyes of an artist.
The effects of Ella’s mother’s abandonment of the Moreau family, the tragedy of World War II, and the pleasures and pains of Ella’s growth as a young woman and a gifted painter come through, at times, enigmatically, but effortlessly on the whole. Mansfield weaves together the complexities of human relationships, of love and loss, confusion and hope, as well as the oppression of guilt and the power of forgiveness.
On a minor note, I suspect that Remy’s theme might have had a more definite impact if a little more time was given to his character before the war instead of mainly after it. Also, as something I find in many novels, it’s a bit strange when pronouns for God are sometimes capitalized, sometimes not, unless the inconsistency is intentionally included to reflect characters’ different perceptions of Him, which I didn’t particularly see to be the case in this novel.
This poignant story culminates into an almost impossibly beautiful finish and an affirmation of tried love’s capacity, and I wouldn’t at all mind reading more from this author in the future. Brava!