Author: Maureen Lang
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Published Date: June 22, 2012
Format: Paperback & Kindle
Buy on Amazon: Paperback or Kindle
Author Website: www.maureenlang.com
Synopsis from Back Cover:Raised at an exclusive boarding school, Meg Davenport has everything she needs but none of what she’s wanted most—like the love of a family, or a future not dependent on following etiquette and marrying well. So when she receives shocking news of her father’s death, Meg seizes the chance to break every rule that has governed her life. Especially when she learns John Davenport wasn’t the wealthy businessman she thought, but one of the Gilded Age’s most talented thieves.
Ian Maguire knows that John—his mentor—would never have wanted his beloved daughter to follow in his footsteps. Yet she is determined to carry on his legacy, and her talent for garden design has earned her an invitation to stay with one of Fifth Avenue’s wealthiest families. With friends like those, Meg could help Ian pull off his biggest heist yet.
But living in both worlds is more treacherous than Meg imagined. And as Ian’s concern for Meg turns to love, he finds himself torn between greed and guilt. Can they find the legacy they both long for, or in trying to gain everything, will they end up losing it all?
My Thoughts:Maureen Lang's, Bees in the Butterfly Garden, is Book One in the Gilded Legacy Series. It takes place in the middle of New York High Society during the Gilded Age (i.e. 1883). Meg, a graduate of the prestigious Madame Marisse's School, finds herself at a crossroads when the truth of her lineage is uncovered. Her options become clear: return to Madame Marisse's to teach, find a suitable husband, or prove that her father was wrong to distance himself from her by following in his footsteps. Meg, against the urgings of her father's closest friends, decides to jump head first into the 'family business.'
Ian has been intrigued by Meg since he was a small boy. While Meg's father, John, sent her away to become a true Lady, he took orphaned Ian under his wings and taught him all he knew. After John's death, Ian finds himself trying to both protect and distance himself from Meg. When she comes up with a risky, yet brilliant, scheme, Ian has to decide if he will go along with it. If he partners with Meg, her future could be at risk, however if he opts out it would allow Meg to follow through with her idea by partnering with a dangerous con man.
Bees in the Butterfly Garden has many interesting characters. My favorite was Evie, the teenage daughter of the family Meg decides to con. Evie is not the well mannered, proper lady of the time. She is instead a rebellious prankster who has a love for revenge. However, she isn't an evil person, just a lovable character, flaws and all. From getting kicked out of Madame Marisse's School, to having a crush on her older neighbor, the story is never boring when Evie is present.
Lang did a great job of painting the visual of New York in the late 1800's. She had the language down, as well as the dress and etiquette. At the start of every chapter, Lang included a quote about the rules of the time period. More times than not, Meg would then turned around and do the opposite of what the quote had eluded to. I think my favorite was the very first quote at the start of the Prologue, "A young lady of impeccable decorum never appears outside her home unchaperoned, uncoiffed, ungloved, or unhappy. (Lang, xiii).
I really enjoyed Bees in the Butterfly Garden, however it was hard for me to believe that Meg really could turn her back on the friends she had stayed with all summer and betray them. She found herself integrated into their household and for the first time in her life it felt like she was a part of a family. For her to then turn around and stab them in the back seemed very out of character. However, this was Meg trying to find out if she was truly her father's daughter. I was glad to find that she was contrite when all was said and done.
The chemistry between Meg and Ian was great. When they were in a scene together, I found myself hanging onto their every word. I wish that they had more scenes together. Little snippets and here there were not enough for me. I'm hoping that I get more of these two in the 2nd book of the Gilded Legacy Series.
I definitely recommend Bees in the Butterfly Garden, by Maureen Lang. It is a smart and fast read. If you enjoy reading historical fiction then this is especially for you.
Tyndale House Publishing has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, Bees in the Butterfly Garden, for the purpose of review.