Gwendoline Butler, Author Severn House Publishers $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-4984-7
Charlotte Chaudin, a beautiful and talented young fashion designer known as Butterfly, flits from one difficult situation to another in this middling romance set in London in the 1960s and '70s. Emerging from a background of hardship and tragedy, the ambitious Charlotte is as vulnerable as her nickname implies. On the rebound from an abusive affair, she takes up with Tony Beauclerc, an aristocrat whose money helps launch her onto the couture scene. But when Charlotte wants to buy a share of Redmond & Bruce, a famous old couture house, Tony balks. Abruptly dumping Charlotte to marry the finely pedigreed Princess Sophia, Tony confides that he already owns one-half of Redmond & Bruce. Wounded, Charlotte throws herself into her work, winning the admiration and attention of wealthy financier Charles Scrope, who engineers her buyout of the controlling interest of Redmond & Bruce. Charles urges Charlotte to abandon couture and to branch out into mass production, a move that ultimately alienates her from her new business partner, friend and mentor, James Bruce. Feeling betrayed, James exits the scene, leaving Charlotte free to marry Charles. Further romantic complications ensue, and the mysterious childhood secret that haunts Charlotte, causing her to obsess about her health, is revealed and resolved with rather preposterous ease. Despite a predictable plot and trite ending, Butler, who is best known for her Coffin crime series (The Coffin Tree, etc.), provides interesting glimpses of the London couture scene of a few decades ago. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1996
Release date: 08/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 354 pages - 978-0-7862-1020-6
Hardcover - 354 pages - 978-0-7451-8979-6
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