Lady of the Butterflies is about a woman who really existed: Eleanor Glanville, who was a Entomologist in the 17th century who studied butterflies. The book was part historical fiction, part romance, with Eleanor falling deeper and deeper in love with Richard Glanville, best friend of her husband Edmund.
Another relationship that this book focused on was Eleanor's friendship with James Petiver, who she corresponded with about the study of butterflies. Out of all the characters in this book, James was my favorite. I loved his passion for learning, he won my heart right away.
Of course, this being the 17th century, the term 'witch' was thrown about and anyone (especially a woman) who did anything out of the ordinary was labeled one. All it took was one person to start the rumor and it took off like wildfire. Unfortunately, this happened to Eleanor, all because of her love of butterflies and nature. It made me mad that a woman couldn't take up an interest without people thinking she's batty.
The book dragged in places, but I never lost interest. By the end, I was sobbing like a baby by a absolutely heartbreaking scene. I was content with the ending, which was both happy and heartbreaking.
Historical liberties were taken, such as the character of Richard - which from my brief research - who was abusive and out of his freakin' mind, but in the book he was a more romantic character who had bouts of a dark personality. That seemed to be the only thing that bothered me, but I managed to focus on this fictional version of Richard.
Very satisfying historical fiction book about a very strong and intelligent woman.