Can prostitution save you? Kathryn Harvey's novel focuses on three patrons who frequent Butterfly and the club's mysterious founder. Harvey's extremely satisfying story untangles some of the struggles that ensnare women today and in doing so reveals how while women have made strides, sex and desire may be linked to deep-seated instincts. Additionally, the story addresses how women can find their sexuality and, in doing so, find themselves. But the real story throughout Butterfly is Rachel Dwyer's, the brothel's founder. Her heartbreaking — though vindicating — history spans the second half of the twentieth century, commenting upon cultural touchstones along the way. Seemingly an erotic tale of a modern day brothel, Butterfly is truly an epic novel of sin, revenge, and redemption.

Housed above an exclusive men's store in Beverly Hills is Butterfly, a modern-day brothel where rich and powerful women have free rein to indulge in their fantasies. Patrons are guaranteed anonymity and secrecy, allowing members like Jessica, a lawyer to the stars with a domineering husband, or Linda, a surgeon who needs to cover up past scars with masks, to reclaim their sexuality. Most secretive of all is Butterfly's founder, a woman who has erased her history to avenge a past betrayal. But will her revenge sate her or endanger her entire empire? Originally released in 1988, Butterfly has been reissued for modern-day readers. (TURNER PUBLISHING, May 2012, dl., $7.99)

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Reviewed by: 
Veronica Knoll