This isn't an easy book to read, and I'm not talking about the quality of the writing. Told in alternating first person between Rose, a young woman trying desperately to regain control of her life and emotions after escaping a brutal past in a church cult, and Colin, the music therapy student who falls in love with her, it's a romance but in no way is it a 'light and fluffy' one. The author warns in the synopsis that graphic descriptions of abuse are contained in the book that may distress some readers, and readers with triggers for sexual or physical abuse should probably avoid.
Rose is very believable as she seesaws between wanting to be normal and knowing for certain that the secrets of her past mean she never will be. I found Colin a little bit too good to be true, though being a psychotherapy student himself and the son of a survivor who became a therapist, he was undoubtedly the best possible person to help Rose learn to love herself and rise above her past trauma.
I actually think I would have enjoyed the book more if it had been told solely from Rose's point of view. Colin's sections just re-told what we already knew had happened from his point of view, and it was obvious from early on that he was such a goody two-shoes that a nasty thought would never so much as cross his mind. Rose's parts were much more compelling to me.
This is an inspirational tale of one young woman finding a way to rise above her past with the love and support of quite a number of people, not just Colin. There was no tropey Magical Healing going on, and the therapeutic aspects of Rose's treatment were realistically handled and very believable.
I think the book could have used a professional edit and I feel like Colin's PoV could have been done without, maybe replaced with some flashbacks from Rose to her past, but I did very much enjoy it. Four stars.
Butterfly Serenade is available now on Amazon.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through ReadingAlley.