The ending of Butterfly in Frost will divide readers. Some will applaud the author for the surprising twist, and delight in re-reading sections to see all the hints she had sprinkled in along the way. Others will feel the twist was wholly unnecessary, and hate the way it ended.
I’m definitely in the latter camp — I was totally into this book up until that twist, and even though I can see the signs Day had left throughout the story, the abrupt shift in tone still felt like a cheat.
To be fair, a lot of my disappointment was because I came into Butterfly in Frost expecting a quick, breezy, sexy romance. I’ve read only the first Crossfire novel, and so am not super familiar with the author’s work, but from what I remembered, I thought I knew exactly what to expect: hot alpha male meets shy female and sparks go flying.
And for a lot of this novel, that’s exactly what I got. Teagan is a plastic surgeon and former reality TV star looking for a quiet life after being with a jerk of an ex-boyfriend. Garrett is her sexy new neighbour, a photographer and an alpha male who basically barrels into Teagan’s life and tells her that he knows she has the hots for him. Both characters are also dealing with past traumas — Garrett with the death of his son and Teagan with her past relationship. Their chemistry is off the charts hot, their emotional connection strong, and I was totally on-board with this story of super hot sex turning into something with more emotional depth.
There was a bit of…not even insta-love, but insta-connection, which felt a bit odd, but I willingly suspended my disbelief to keep enjoying the story. For example, I can buy an immediate physical connection, but there were moments where Garrett and Teagan were able to somehow intuit what the other was thinking or feeling, which seemed pretty sudden given that he’d moved next door so recently. There was also a sex scene where Garrett — despite being a total alpha throughout — seemed oddly hesitant to touch her in certain places. He kept asking for permission to touch her in certain ways, and despite her loud and enthusiastic consent, he still took things very slow. This felt odd, but to be honest, also kinda sweet, and while it took me a bit of getting used to, I kinda liked the unexpectedness of a total alpha male in real life wholly handing the woman the reins in bed. All the odd points eventually make sense by the end, but I also wonder how much more they would have meant if we readers had known the twist much earlier.
One minor quibble is how Teagan’s best friend reacts to learning that Garrett’s a grieving parent. Suddenly, she stops inviting him over to dinner and feels super uncomfortable talking to him at all, because she no longer knows how to act around him. That seemed a bit extreme, and outright unbelievable. I can understand feeling awkward at a child’s funeral, or not knowing how to comfort a parent immediately after their child’s death, but Garrett was hardly still in the throes of grief. He was very matter-of-fact in telling them about his son, and then moved on to talking about other things, so Teagan’s best friend suddenly no longer wanting to hang around him just made her seem like a real jerk.
Overall, I think readers will definitely have strong feelings about this book. I loved the relationship between Teagan and Garrett, but the twist just didn’t work for me. I found it gimmicky and wish we’d just been told about it from the start. As well, given the first person narration, having it under wraps for so long just raised more questions that the book didn’t really answer. (Was the narrator lying to us, and if so why? Or did the narrator not know / not remember the twist herself, in which case, yikes, and that’s a whole novel in itself.)
Thank you to Thomas Allen for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.