Review: All the Butterflies in the World by Rodney Jones

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Sequel to The Sun, the Moon, and Maybe the Trains

With her senior year looming, Tess McKinnon has two goals: hanging out with her best friend, Liz, and avoiding her judgmental, alcoholic mother. Then yummy John Bartley arrives—to tell Mrs. McKinnon that her daughter is dead. Distinctly still alive, Tess is baffled by John’s tales of 1800s time travel, rewritten lives, and love. She knows she’s never seen him before, but her feelings refuse to be denied.

When Tess and John discover an aged newspaper clipping that indicates John’s uncle was hanged for Tess’s murder in 1875, John decides to return to his time to save his uncle’s life, but when Tess checks the article after John’s departure, she is horrified to discover that John has been hanged instead.

Armed with determination and modern ingenuity, Tess must abandon her past and risk her future for a chance to catch her own killer and find her first love for the second time.

I received All the Butterflies in the World via NetGalley and was pleasantly surprised. The story was rich with something magical that kept me reading on. It’s a book getting very good feedback on Goodreads, so I’ll keep my review short–I agree with almost everyone on GR.

I loved chapters where Tess discovered the truth reading old newspaper articles and letters in a museum. Those are things people don’t pay much attention to when touring a museum, especially small ones–most are dusty and lonely. But this book made me wonder what secrets I could rediscover if I took the time to read a yellowed old newspaper.

The chapters written in the past were easy to read and rich with action. We could relate to or at least understand every character at some point. Even those who only made brief appearances had a small detail, a touch of magic that made them memorable. In fact, many of my favorite characters in this book were those who only had walk-on roles. They appeared quickly but, like a firework or bolt of lightning, were bright and burned themselves in my memory.

I don’t have a complaint for this book. It was well written, perfectly paced, and engaging. But what I liked most about it were the characters, dialogue, and perfect stitching together of past and present.

I will be reading the prequel as soon as I possibly can.

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