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26 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparkler
I finished reading `Of Moths and Butterflies' with the conviction that the author had sat the C19th down on a couch and exactingly consulted its psyche. There has clearly been a great deal of academic hard graft invested in this novel, but the writer wields her research with lightness and energy. The authorly voice sounds comfortable in its crinolines, but it's also...
Published on 15 Jan. 2012 by Helvetica Garamond

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I found the central scenario (girl in 1880s inherits money from hated uncle but runs away to try to find job
I couldn't be bothered to finish this book. I found the central scenario (girl in 1880s inherits money from hated uncle but runs away to try to find job, without any references, as housemaid) unconvincing and improbable, especially in its period. The characters were poorly drawn and the plot creaked as it went along.
Published 6 months ago by R. Johnson


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparkler, 15 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Of Moths and Butterflies (Kindle Edition)
I finished reading `Of Moths and Butterflies' with the conviction that the author had sat the C19th down on a couch and exactingly consulted its psyche. There has clearly been a great deal of academic hard graft invested in this novel, but the writer wields her research with lightness and energy. The authorly voice sounds comfortable in its crinolines, but it's also smart, witty and lively. That sprightly touch is evident in the dialogues too. There's real speed and sparkle to a lot of the exchanges. Our hard-done-to heroine is no timorous whimperer, but rather a young woman with strong motivations and a spirited foot stamp. Imogen is flawed enough to be fallible, complex enough to be curious and sympathetic in her self-doubts. The satisfyingly twisty-turny plot thoroughly stretches and tests her. It's a thoughtful novel this, a thing of craft and intricate design, but it's also got a big loud heart and some lovely bright splashes of humour. Thumbs up to Ms Christensen for her wit and wisdom. I look forward to reading more from her.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 21st century Trollope, 2 Jan. 2012
I abandoned the Trollope I was reading(something I NEVER do) in order to read 'OF Moths & Butterflies'.
Whenever I finish reading a Trollope I feel faintly disappointed that there is nom ore ! I had exactly the same feeling on finishing 'Of Moths & Butterflies'.
A wonderful book - so well written and with a good background knowledge of the time and social customs. But that knowledge was not intrusive. I look forward very much to the next book."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mere male, 2 April 2012
By 
Geoff Woodland (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Of Moths and Butterflies (Kindle Edition)
Being a mere male `Of Moths and Butterflies' is not my normal type of book, but from the first page I was captivated by the characters and their situations.
The story is set in 1881 / 82 and takes place in Kent & London. The author has recreated the time and the place, and the life style of the various levels of society. The main character is a young woman who is being manoeuvred in to marriage because of a shameful act that was not her fault. I found myself wishing this young woman would take a swing at certain family members, but of course this was 1881 not 1981.
The author's writing is rich in creating scenes, without being overbearing in detail. The story flows with ease, it was a joy to read. I read it on a Kindle while travelling and I would regale my wife with bits and pieces of the story. Now the acid is on me to buy another Kindle so that she can read it, without me being `Kindleless'.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisitely crafted story, 5 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Of Moths and Butterflies (Kindle Edition)
This is a long but never boring book, written in the style of speech of the late Victorian era in Britain. Yet it doesn't feel old fashioned in any way. Ms Christensen manages her dialogue so smoothly and naturally that her characters feel like real people and not the usual cardboard cut-outs of so many historical and romance novels. These are friends you could be chatting with today (well mannered and eloquent friends that is!) The language, the descriptions and the elegance of phrase show what a wonderful command of English Ms Christensen displays. An utter delight to read. It felt a little uncertain at first but quite swiftly the characters began to round out; one was drawn into their lives, thoughts and feelings. I loved all the people in it, even the nasty characters...what would we do without our baddies!
It is a story that has atmosphere, meaning and depth, psychology and feeling, absolutely unputdownable and one that I will remember for a long time. It's such a delightful pleasure to enjoy a well written, well researched book like this - a brilliant debut novel. Give us more, Ms Christensen!

I bought the Kindle version but want the hardcover for my bookshelf, not least because of the beautiful little drawings between the chapters.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thought-provoking Narrative, 21 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Of Moths and Butterflies (Kindle Edition)
Of Moths and Butterflies is set in the early 1880s- the beginning of Gladstone's prime ministership, just before the Married Women's Property Act became law. At this point in history, anything a woman had inherited from her family automatically became that of her husband on marriage: enter our heroine, Imogen, an heiress with an unwanted legacy, a pack of salivating relatives and two highly eligible suitors. Christiansen deftly handles the twists and turns of a complicated plot and holds the reader's interest to the very end. Her handling of dialogue is assured: at times it is possible to imagine that this is an actual Victorian novel; the conversations between the male characters are especially well handled and reminiscent of Disraeli's Sybil, or the Two Nations. The main character, while not instantly likeable, nonetheless arouses the reader's compassion. Will she manage to make a life for herself, and what sort of life can be possible for a woman in such circumstances (and yet Christiansen certainly avoids the easy trap of demonising her male characters- except for one highly satisfying full-blown villain). I was particularly impressed by the fact that this is a true think-piece, generous-hearted and clear-eyed, and not a mere romp in costume as so many historical novels are.The author's philosophy seems to be "Tout comprendre rend très-indulgent". There is surely the makings of a television drama or stage production in this. I look forward to future novels by this author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I found the central scenario (girl in 1880s inherits money from hated uncle but runs away to try to find job, 14 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Of Moths and Butterflies (Kindle Edition)
I couldn't be bothered to finish this book. I found the central scenario (girl in 1880s inherits money from hated uncle but runs away to try to find job, without any references, as housemaid) unconvincing and improbable, especially in its period. The characters were poorly drawn and the plot creaked as it went along.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Surprise, 31 Aug. 2013
By 
Gayle Beveridge (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Of Moths and Butterflies (Kindle Edition)
Of Moths and Butterflies is in essence an historical romance, and since I don't often read that genre, this book came as a pleasant surprise.

Our heroine, Imogen, is a young English girl trapped in a time when women have few rights. She is an orphan taken into care by an uncle who bequeaths her a fortune. Archer Hamilton, is a young English gentleman trapped in a time when marrying well was a financial necessity and doing one's duty to family was a strong and daunting expectation. Imogen and Archer are thrown together, both are haunted by the past, both are manipulated by family, and both must find a way to make a life for themselves.

This novel brings together not only Imogen and Archer, but several other strong characters. They interact in ways that make each others lives both better an at the same time more difficult. This tale has its fair share of misunderstandings, of secrets and of lives interwoven.

The novel goes beyond the romance, to adventure and intrigue.

A thoroughly enjoyable read; great entertainment. I look forward to reading more by this author.

I purchased the Kindle edition of this from Amazon.com
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I disagree, 9 May 2012
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This review is from: Of Moths and Butterflies (Kindle Edition)
I had looked forward to reading this book with its 100 percent 5* reviews but there has been much in it to irritate. I am wondering if this is a translation from another language or if it was written by an English speaker who has never lived here. First annoyance - 'Back to top' at the end of every chapter (poor editing?); next the use of 'Great Days'(wot?) as an exclamation and the made up word 'unworth' where we would have used unworthy or not worth. I don't feel that Victorian girls were permitted to address their Grandmothers as 'Gran' either.
Sadly, I can't wait to finish this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars slow, 29 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Of Moths and Butterflies (Kindle Edition)
I reached a third of the way through the book hoping that at some point a storyline would present itself but sadly it didn't. The book is well written, hence the two stars, but the story is rather insipid and pointless. Obviously a young heroine of the era would be dithery and indecisive but the story matched the heroine and I found myself too bored to continue reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, 26 April 2012
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This review is from: Of Moths and Butterflies (Kindle Edition)
In Of Moths and Butterflies, V.R. Christensen has successfully placed her readers amid the lives and loves of two families in the late 19th century. The world she has created, her style, could stand against any of the 'classics'.

The heroine, Imogen Everard sets out to prove she doesn't need her despised uncle's inheritance and finds work as a servant in the home of Sir Edmund Barry who proves to be too like her uncle for comfort. She meets and falls for Archer Hamilton, Edmund's nephew, but everyone, it seems, is after her money and a marriage is arranged.

A beautifully written historical novel with well-drawn characters, a tender love story, a mystery or two and some light relief in the form of Imogen's cousin Roger and Archer's cousin Claire who have a number of humorous set pieces - particularly their final scene in the carriage!
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Of Moths and Butterflies
Of Moths and Butterflies by V.R. Christensen
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