EXCERPT: Her heart thumped harder, louder in her chest. It was Maggie lying in her daughter’s bed, clutching Mr Gilbert, hoping her smell wouldn’t fade. Maggie, drunk on the street, banging her front door down. Maggie, hitting her son and hating herself. Maggie who had lost her daughter. And blamed her son? What had happened? Where was he? And Richard? How had she ended up all alone, dying in this huge house on a Cornish hilltop with only Erin for company?
ABOUT ‘THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN’: When twenty-five-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?
MY THOUGHTS: I love stories about families, secrets, and relationships, and The Butterfly Garden ticks all the boxes.
Although the plot focuses mainly on Erin, home with her tail between her legs after her relationship with her married lover failed, and Maggie, the elderly recluse with terminal cancer who employs Erin to help finish the book she is writing, it also encompasses Erin’s parents, who are hiding a secret of their own, and Maggie’s son Lucas, who has exiled himself in Costa Rica, guarding his own secret. An old friend of Maggie’s, Fred, also appears and is a stabilizing influence.
The Butterfly Garden is a beautifully crafted story that certainly doesn’t read like a debut novel. The characters are well rounded and delightfully human. Maggie, although nearly blind and dying, is not above being manipulative in order to get what she wants. Erin, who is feeling more than a little lost, and who is feeling betrayed both by her parents and her lover, starts out as an easy mark, but slowly the two women develop a mutual liking and respect.
The two separate storylines of Maggie’s secret, and the secret that Erin’s parents have kept works well. Their secrets are very different, but equally heartbreaking.
This is a touching and unpredictable story, one that surprised and delighted me. I will definitely be at the front of the line for this author’s next novel, due to be published in 2022.
Thank you Carla Johnson-Hicks, whose wonderful review inspired me to read this.
I: @sophieandersonfiction @bookouture
T: @MSophieanderson @Bookouture
#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #mystery #sliceoflife
THE AUTHOR: Sophie Anderson is an author of contemporary women’s fiction. She writes emotional stories about families and their secrets, friendship, forgiveness and personal growth. Her debut novel ‘The Butterfly Garden’ will be released on June 21st 2021 and she is currently writing her second novel which will be out early 2022. Sophie lives in East Sussex with her husband, four children and several animals. When she is not writing or ferrying her children around the countryside she enjoys travelling, delicious food, yoga, playing the piano, walking in the South Downs, binging on box sets and curling up with a good book! (Amazon)
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Butterfly Garden by Sophie Anderson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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