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Butterfly Garden Reviews

 

Winner of Risque Reviews' Top Pick Award

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Butterfly Garden

Annette Blair
Historical romance
Available from Lachesis Publishing
ISBN: 9781897562864
December 2011
 

 

Sara Lapp watched her mother die in childbirth. She swore that she would prevent those preventable deaths that occurred in her Amish community. Although shunned for learning to be a midwife, Sara continues her education and reaches out to the local Amish. Adam Zukerman called for her help, but not as a midwife. His wife was already dead and someone had to protect his daughters. Adam has always admired Sara's strength. She will be able keep them safe from him and the legacy his own father left him. Circumstances force them together and the Bishop insists they marry or be excommunicated. Sara and Adam will have to face both the past and the future if their marriage is to survive.

This story is classified as a sensual Amish romance. Who knew there was such a thing? Actually, it works really well and makes a of lot sense. Sara and Adam's relationship is complex and fraught with problems from within and without. I loved Sara and her determination. She is the driving force in this story. Filled with sorrow, fear, love and passion, Butterfly Garden tells the story of man held hostage by his past and the woman who tries to free him. Secondary characters give depth to the story as well as a better understanding of Amish life in this fictional community. Emotionally crippled by their pasts and experiences, the only way Adam and Sara can reach each other is physically. The love scenes are more explicit than normally found in this type of book but they are tasteful and tender. The passion within their marriage feels real and is clearly part of the healing process. Their journey is heartbreaking and uplifting. I loved this story and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be inspired. Keep the tissues near you for this one. It will truly touch your heart.

Overall rating:
Sensuality rating: Veryy sensual

Reviewer: Susan P.
January 25, 2012

 

 

Michelle Buonfiglio, Romance: B(u)Y the Book, wnbc entertainment

"When his wife dies in childbirth, Adam Zucker is nearly mad with grief. He believes his four daughters would be best cared for by a family friend while he drinks himself into a stupor to deal with his loss.

Sarah Lapp moves into Adam's home to care for the girls. She thinks it's the closest she'll come to being a mother; she's a spinster and a midwife, neither of which make her a hot commodity on the Amish marriage market.

Once the community's bishop decides Adam and Sarah must marry or be shunned, Sarah vows to make Adam see he has much more to offer his daughters -- and her -- than anger and disinterest.

Sensual and thematic tension, heartache, and Annette Blair's fine writing and wit combine in equal measure to make "The Butterfly Garden" a unique, romantic, and thoroughly pleasing novel. It's a keeper. " Michelle Buonfiglio, Romance: B(u)Y the Book, wnbc entertainment


HUNTRESS

Author: Annette Blair
Title - The Butterfly Garden (April 2005)


The story begins in Walnut Creek, Ohio, 1883. Amishwoman Sara Lapp, has all but been shunned for studying with "the English" local doctor, Dr. Jordan Marks, to become a midwife. After months of waiting, she is called to tend the birth of her best friend, Abby. However, upon arriving, Sara finds Abby has already died in childbirth. Abby's husband, "Mad" Adam Zuckerman, did not want Sara to help Abby deliver the baby. He wants Sara to take his four daughters, including the new born, home with her to raise.

Adam is a self-appointed outcast. He keeps everyone at a distance. He dares not love anyone, including Abby and his children. Adam's childhood had been far from happy. In fact, Adam never recalls smiling even once in his entire life. Adam fears that he has too much of his father in him and he cannot have his children around him without Abby to protect them should his father's blood prove true. It is best for him, and his children, that they be raised with someone who could give them the love they so desperately need. Someone like Sara.

When a drunken Adam falls from a barn loft Sara moves in to tend him, and she brings his girls. Then the Bishop and the Elders take a stand. They must marry or they, and the children, would be shunned. Sara knows there is something good in Adam. There has to be or Abby would never have fallen in love with him and married him. Sara has hope of drawing it out of him. She hopes to heal him. If not, she will love and raise the children as her own.

Unexpected help, and trouble, arrives when Lena (Adam's mother) and Emma (Adam's quiet sister) knock on the door. Adam believed them to have died long ago, another lie from his father. Now Sara has help with the children and can do her midwife duties without worrying about the children. However, Adam, Lena, and Emma have much to resolve. Sara must teach everyone in her new home that there is a time for everything under God's heaven. Now is the time for healing. Yet as Sara teaches those she loves to bloom, they teach her much more in return.

***** Fans of the TV show "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" will adore this novel! Sara came across to me as almost a mirror image of Dr. Quinn. She is strong when need be (stubborn), stands up for those in need (sharp tongued), and has much love to give everyone. She also must deal with the Amish ordnung (rules) which makes everything near impossible. I found myself cheering her on to victory.  The author, Annette Blair, has a real writing talent. She inserts tiny things that the reader does not immediately notice, but makes the reader come to care for the characters as if they were kin. You may need tissues nearby at some points of the story. Another award winner that I cannot recommend highly enough. *****  Detra Fitch

The Library Journal

"Answering gruff Adam Zuckerman's summons, Amish midwife Sara Lapp assumes that she is to assist in the birth of Abby Zuckerman's latest child. She arrives to find Abby dead, the baby already born, and Adam determined to give his four young daughters into her care. Spinster Sara agrees to take the girls--for a time. Then Adam is injured in a drunken fall, and Sara and the girls move in to care for him, prompting the Amish elders to insist that they marry or be shunned. The results are predictable, but it takes Adam a long time to come to terms with his reservations. A giving, intelligent heroine, a conflicted hero, and a quartet of adorable girls will charm their way into readers' hearts in this heartwarming, leisurely paced story, one of several romances featuring the Amish to hit in recent months. With a goodly amount of cultural but not necessarily religious detail, this story will appeal to historical and some inspirational fans who like their romances sexy and romantic but with a gentle, introspective touch. Blair (The Kitchen Witch) is a seasoned writer of both historical and contemporary romance; she lives in New England."

Harriet Klausner--Amazon

  In 1883 Walnut Creek, Ohio, partially ostracized midwife Sara Lapp rushes to help Abby Zuckerman give birth for the fourth time in four years. However, Abby's spouse Mad Adam refuses to allow her to see his wife. Instead he tells her to take his four daughters with her. Adam believes that his children would be better off with Sara, who agrees to temporarily watch the children once she learns that Abby died birthing their fourth daughter.

A few weeks later, Adam falls hurting himself. Sara and his four children move in to nurse him over his protestations. Adam fears that he will hurt his daughters just like his father abused him. As he begins to meet his children and become acquainted with Sara, he falls in love with the five females who have disrupted his life. When Bishop Weaver insists they marry, Adam wonders if Sara could learn to love him, which has already happened now that she knows he is not mad or a beast as he cherishes his children.

Annette Blair writes a wonderfully insightful Amish historical romance starring two intriguing lead characters and four precocious little girls. The story line focuses on relationships as Mad Adam fears that he will prove a chip off the old block and abuse his daughters while Spinster Sara courageously confronts him and his phobia. Fans who appreciate a deep look at a different lifestyle will enjoy THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN and THEE, I LOVE for their deep look at the Amish through the eyes of the key cast members. Harriet Klausner

ROMANCE REVIEWS TODAY

THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN - Annette Blair
Five Star
ISBN: 1-59414-314-5
April 2005
Historical Romance

Walnut Creek, Ohio, 1833

Spinster Sara Lapp's acceptance by the Amish community teeters on shaky ground. Because her one-room cabin lay on the outskirts, she was incorporated into a new community when the old one was divided, and that doesn't help matters at all. She's too outspoken and bossy for potential suitors, and the elders disapprove of her studies with the local English (non-Amish) doctor. At fifteen, Sara lost her whole family. Her mother and brother died in childbirth, and her father was killed in an ice storm while going for a doctor. Sara's one ambition is to become a midwife and learn everything there is to know to save babies and mothers. It's the only thing that will give meaning to her lonely life.

Sara made one friend since the division, a sweet woman named Abby, married to Mad Adam Zuckerman. Abby once assured Sara that Adam is a different man inside from the one he shows the world with his stern face and gruff behavior, but Sara is the only one in town who dares to stand up to him. Abby is close to term with her fourth child in as many years when Adam calls Sara to the farm. She berates Adam for risking Abby's life with too many children too close together with words that will haunt her for a long time to come. It's already too late to try to save Abby, and only she and Adam knew it was Abby who insisted on trying again to give Adam a son, and only they knew the terrible way Adam was raised and his fear of being like his father. Sara has no idea why Adam insists on giving her Lizzie, Katie, Priscilla, and the new baby Hannah to raise.

Sara agrees to take the children for a short time, hoping her heart won't break when she has to give them back. Adam spends his time alone trying to drown his grief in alcohol, but then he falls from a ladder and breaks an arm, some ribs and his thighbone. Sara and the girls move in to nurse him. There follows a battle of wills between two individuals well matched in stubbornness, not to mention the battles they wage against their own feelings. Adam wants to drive Sara and the girls away -- they are tearing him up inside -- while a part of him wishes Sara would come closer. Sara's goal is to make Adam love his children. So the days go on with both tempers bristling, but sometimes Adam is tempted to do what he never has in his life...to laugh. Then the bishop gives Adam and Sara an ultimatum, get married or be shunned by the community.

THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN tells an exceptionally moving tale of life and love in a community apart from the mainstream but with humanity in common with the rest of us. Sara is totally sympathetic as a heroine; who could help but love her with her feisty, yet caring and giving nature. Adam, on the other hand, evokes as much or more sympathy, but you'd still like to give him a good shaking. Two characters from the past show up that test him even more. Yet, when faced with emergencies, Adam rises to true heroism. The two protagonists face many conflicts, internal and external, that give richness and suspense to THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN.

Adam and Sara are the subjects of deep characterizations surrounded by other folk who add greatly to the success of THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN. The children are much like children anywhere in their individuality, a mix of seriousness, high spirits, and whining. They are the occasion of many heartwarming scenes. Adam manages to have one good friend in Roman Byler who, along with Doctor Marks, is instrumental in bringing Adam and Sara together. I hope to see them both again.

I've enjoyed Annette Blair's other books, especially her Rogues Club trilogy in her Regency Historicals, but for heroic, meaty fare, I strongly suggest you try her American Amish works, THEE, I LOVE (still available) and THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN. They aren't connected in any way other than their settings and by their excellence.  Jane Bowers, RRT

 A ROMANCE REVIEW

Those of you who are fans of either Annette Blair or of Amish romances will be thrilled with her newest book! It seems like forever since Blair’s first Amish romance Thee I Love was on the shelves. Her second Amish romance, set in Ohio this time, is every bit as good as her first.

Sarah Lapp has spent months learning how to be a midwife under the guidance of the local “English” doctor. She has no idea that her first call will be for her best friend Abby, or that when she arrives she’ll find another new Zuckerman baby, but that dear Abby didn’t survive.

Adam Zuckerman has a reputation among his people as being mad and certainly hard to get along with. Adam knew beyond a doubt that his wife had not survived her most recent labor however he had another reason entirely for calling Sarah to the house. He wants her to take his daughters and raise them as her own.

Sarah has no way of knowing the secrets in Adam’s past that have made him afraid to love even his own children, but she does know that it’s about time he learned how. Sarah reluctantly gathers up the girls and takes them with her. Under her loving care, the children seem to blossom and Sarah becomes more attached as each day passes.

Before Sarah can return the children to Adam on Christmas day as originally planned, Adam falls drunk from the barn loft and is seriously injured. Once again, Sarah is called to the home. Only this time instead of just helping with the girls, she is needed to stay and care for Adam. However it isn’t long before the bishop steps in and tells them they will be shunned unless Sarah agrees to marry Adam.

A few words spoken in front of a congregation however doesn’t a marriage make and in the weeks that follow, Sarah and Adam will find themselves not only tested but tempted as they adjust to married life. Yet it is obvious that Adam still plans on being an absentee father in his children’s lives. It is only when some unexpected guests arrive that the truth will be told, and Adam will be forced to face the demons of his past in order to be free to love.

Being a huge fan of the Amish and their lifestyle, I was overjoyed to be given the opportunity to review The Butterfly Garden. As I turned the pages, I found myself transported to that simpler life where homemade quilts hang on lines; horse and buggies are the mode of transportation and children in their simple clothes chase after butterflies. I was also quickly caught up in the lives of Sarah and Adam and praying that each of them would be able to put aside their own stubbornness and come together with Adam's girls to form a family.  Shelby

Romance Reader at Heart

RRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS:

THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN boasts a love story as memorable as the two characters who share it.

Ms. Blair not only captures the essence of a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love, she delves deep into the romantic couple to create two full-bodied, multi-layered, unique characters.

Pit a spunky, determined, passionate heroine with a gruff, cantankerous, emotionally crippled hero and the sparks are guaranteed to fly. Add a heavy dose of sexual tension and fireworks erupt. For all their bickering and the obstacles placed before them, Sara Lapp and Adam Zuckerman are perfect together—two halves of a whole. Adam might not recognize Sara as the wife of his heart, at first, but the reader will.

Ms. Blair writes beautiful, richly detailed characters. THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN's two lead characters practically leap from the pages of this Amish romance. This fast moving story works so well, for the most part, because these two fit together so
well—despite their different temperaments. Or maybe because of their differences.

Warm and witty, THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN is a wonderfully touching story. I hesitate to call any story sweet—because of the sappy connotations—but this story is sweet. Without being sappy.

Beautifully written, this more-often-than-not amusing story is one I'd highly recommend. A top-notch read. A gifted writer.

This character-driven story is also peppered with some nicely sketched, interesting secondary characters. Two, maybe three, are just begging for their own story. Debbie Jett

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