New in Christian fiction
Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang
I always say whatever book I'm working on is my favorite, but even though I'm on to a new project I readily admit having had special fun with Bees In The Butterfly Garden.
First, it's set in New York City's Gilded Age—a time easy to romanticize if you stick to those who gilded the era. Lots of wealth to be found amid a developing brand of American aristocracy . . . a world in which a thief's daughter never should have been invited.
That's right, my heroine Meg is the daughter of thief. Only Meg never knew that her father has been a thief since she was a bit older than a toddler, after the death of her mother. He protected her from the truth by sending her to be raised at an exclusive New England school for girls. Living among the rich, trained to be a lady, Meg nonetheless missed the one thing she's never had in her life: a father's love. Little did she know he loved her in the only way he knew how, by shielding her from himself.
So when he dies and his young and handsome protege tries—but fails—to keep the truth hidden from her, she is enraged but determined to prove her father wrong for having barred her from his life.
Although her father had asked Ian, his young protege, to keep an eye on his daughter, Ian was told to do it from afar . . . The message was clear enough: Ian clearly isn't good enough for her. She's a lady and he's a thief, just like her father was.
Meg's determination to prove her father wrong inspires her to become just like him, even posthumously. And Ian is presented with one temptation he can't pass up: not only working with the girl he's secretly loved since he was a boy—but through her gaining access to some of Fifth Avenue's wealthiest residents.
Who will catch them first? The Law . . . or God?
Not only was this book a lot of fun to write, it reminded me of the depth and availability of God's grace. Enough grace to cover a multitude of sins.
Early reviews for Bees In the Butterfly Garden:
Library Journal: This character-driven historical set in the American Gilded Age represents Lang (Look to the East; Whisper on the Wind) at her best.
Romantic Times 4 Stars “Lang’s talent shines through in this first of the Gilded Legacy series. She clearly depicts the difference between grace – an undeserved gift – and mercy – when one is spared a deserved punishment. The grandeur of the era is evident in the story, the charming characters, the beautifully descriptive prose and even the cover!” - Leslie L. McKee, RT Book Reviews, July 2012
Special Bonus Recipe
The fictitious school in Bees In The Butterfly Garden is "Madame Marisse's School For Girls." My heroine, Meg, would have received a special cookie recipe awarded to each graduate, meant to be given to whatever staff the wealthy heiresses would oversee. Although this recipe doesn't appear in the book, this is what I imagine it might have been:
Madame Marisse's Morsels
1/2 Cup Oleo* 1/2 Cup butter 1 Cup Powdered Sugar 1 Egg 1 1/2 teaspoons extract of Almond 1 teaspoon extract of Vanilla 2 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Using a teaspoon, shape 1 inch sized balls and place on baking sheet. Press lightly with thumb. Bake in 375 degree oven for 9 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Dust with more powdered sugar if desired.
*Note from Madame Marisse: although Oleo will be hard for your staff to find, especially without the added unpalatable pink coloring that competing butter manufactures demand must be added, it is well worth the extra tax if your staff can acquire it. If they cannot find Oleo, they may use Lard instead. An entire Cup of butter is discouraged; using half Oleo or Lard along with flavorful butter will allow your cookies to maintain a softer consistency and not entirely flatten.
Note from Maureen Lang: Oleo is margarine and we no longer have any trouble finding it—or any added taxes or coloring other than yellow to make it look like butter. Oleo (margarine) or lard really does provide cookies with a softer consistency than using all butter.
Maureen Lang is a reader who figured out at a very young age how to write what she wants to read. She penned her first novel at age ten, and has been writing ever since. In fact, she’d rather be writing or reading than doing just about anything else—but with a family and a dog depending on her for breakfast, lunch and dinner, she feels like she’s in the kitchen more often than at her desk or in her favorite chair with a book. Maureen is the author of a dozen books and has been nominated for a Christy, Rita and Carol. She’s won a Holt Medallion and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, but none of that compare to the day her daughter told her she was a good writer. Ah, recognition at home is rare indeed. Visit Maureen on the web here.
Bees In The Butterfly Garden can be purchased wherever fine books are sold, or online at:
I got a chance to read an early copy of Bees in the Butterfly Garden, and as with all of Maureen's books, I found the story engaging and enjoyable, and well, as Maureen puts it - fun! A light-hearted story with underlying themes of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Universal needs of us all.