The Butterfly Garden
By Sophie Anderson
Today I am pleased to present my review of The Butterfly Garden, a book with poignancy and new found friendship from a stranger, secrets, and a beautiful garden with butterflies and more… Thanks to the publisher – BookOuture for inviting me on the blog tour and for gifting me the book.
Discover more in the blurb and my review and about the author.
I blamed my son for the death of my daughter….
When 25-year-old Erin flees London for Cornwall and takes a job at Hookes End, a huge house clinging precariously to the Cornish cliffs, all she knows about it are the stories people tell. The owner, reclusive novelist and butterfly enthusiast Maggie, has kept the curtains of her dusty house drawn for many years. But now she is dying, and Erin, seeing the shadows that cross Maggie’s face, wants to help in any way she can.
Years ago, Maggie’s only son Lucas ran away to the other side of the world and the searing heat of the Costa Rican jungle. Maggie is desperate to see Lucas again – there is something she needs him to know.
Erin wants to help Maggie find peace. But when she travels to the warm white sands and tropical butterfly gardens of Costa Rica to find Lucas, it becomes very clear that he is hiding something too.
As Erin unravels the webs of deceit entangling mother and son, she learns about the terrible tragedy that changed their lives forever: the night when a little girl in a fairy nightdress went missing. But with Maggie’s time fast running out, is it too late for them to find the forgiveness they need to move on?
Set against the storms of the Cornish coast and the silvery sands of Costa Rica, The Butterfly Garden is a story of love, loss, and letting go. Fans of Jojo Moyes, Harriet Evans, and Lucinda Riley will be gripped.
Lansdown Place 1986 to Porteal 2017 is how readers will travel. I had to think about who was the narrator in 1986, so I’ll tell you now, that it is Maggie. Carrying on though, it jumps to 2017 and readers meet Erin and Mrs Muir (Maggie). Maggie is a recluse and the descriptions sho this well. All is not lost. My attention is then fully in and I want to read on. The writing is beautiful and somehow with heightened senses of how things sound, look, smell etc, that draws you in further, as does the mysteriously hidden away – Maggie Muir. I was intrigued to find out more and more as the story went on and whole pictures emerged in writing. So, what started out as frustrating, quickly evaporated.
The year 1986 is where Lucas is also met, in manuscript/diary form, aged 5 and likes Gerald Durrell’s Zoo in Jersey, which sounds fun! It’s like a bit of an insight into life before Maggie was dying and also part of her doing as she was asked by Dr Sham, who she saw at this time. Between this time frame, you’ve got 1986 being quite illuminating and yet the start of something quite claustrophobic, which becomes more so in 2017, with Maggie being as reclusive as she is. It has believability and so much sadness, especially for Maggie. It shows how life can seem one way, or assumed, such as her being a really successful writer, but underneath, what might have provided a fabulous life, she is in reality she has so many issues, and now she is dying, you know the inevitable will happen, but there is so much unfinished business in her life, that is uncovered in the book, such as more about Lucas and what happened.
There is poignancy in the use of butterflies and why they aren’t fluttering around. It is often clever how butterflies are used in stories and here it is too, as there is the use of the actual butterfly, which Maggie and in turn, Erin, has an interest in and a place called The Butterfly Garden, but there is also the significance within the symbolism of her life as everything has almost grinded to a halt, except she is writing this manuscript/diary. Yet, at some point there was, like the butterfly, a hub of activity at some point as she wrote detective novels.
Erin has a romance, burning brightly with Simon, which gives her a life outside Maggie’s life and it is also heartwarming to see unfold. Erin isn’t without her own concerns in life as she worries about her brother who has Downs Syndrome and where he may be.
Lies and coverups are later revealed and explosive emotions come to the fore. It is however, heartwarming to see the development of the relationship between Maggie and Erin, an element of trust emerges, that you can’t help but smile at. It also drives the story further forwards, until the end, which at the start you know how it will end, but it’s the journey to there that matters and will seep into your heart and emotions.
About the Author