Lady of the Butterflies - Fiona Mountain 2 1/2 stars-
I hate it when I have a love-hate relationship with a book. It makes deciding to keep reading or dump difficult. It also makes rating difficult. I’m going with 3 stars, but my real rating is like 2 ½ stars . I usually round up if I think a book is worth checking out and even though I found some parts of this book irritating I do think it is worth looking into.

The beginning parts were interesting. Eleanor’s relationship with her father was rather fascinating to me. While he was a strict Puritan, he was also open-minded to new ideas and seemed to indulge Eleanor when it came to her education. You would think this would make him likeable, but he was also a complete jerk sometimes. It made him a well rounded character.

Eleanor, however…I don’t know. I liked her sometimes, but other times I just wanted throttle to her. She was just so darn naïve. While, I realize her personality was mostly due to her strict Puritan upbringing and lack of experience as she grew her naivety didn’t go away. Her constant mooning over Edward and then Richard just about did me in. Those are the parts where this book read more like a sappy romance and less as a historical fiction. And this led to weird pacing in the book. The parts that shined were the beautiful scenery descriptions, talk of the political times and Eleanor’s butterfly discoveries, but I felt like I had to wade through all the romance drama to get to those good parts. By the end of the book the only character I really liked was James Petiver, the apothecary who introduced Eleanor to entomology.

While it seems the ending stayed true to life, I had a hard time understanding Eleanor and Richard’s convoluted marriage. I also didn’t understand Eleanor’s decision at the end. This is a woman who chased down her husband for days looking for her son and then all of a sudden she decides she needs freedom. It didn’t make sense to me. Had she come to the realization that she couldn’t fight society and win anymore I would’ve understood, but to just forgive and leave it all was beyond my comprehension.

Anyway, by this review it may seem like I didn’t like this book, but for the most part it was likeable. The scientific sections of the book were fascinating. I haven’t read much HF having to do with Puritan beliefs or the politics of this time nor had I even heard of Eleanor and her contributions to science. This book was educational on that front and it led me to google more about her, so it does earn some kudos.