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Lady of the Butterflies

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  845 Ratings  ·  182 Reviews
In a tradition which stretches from Daphne du Maurier's The King's General to Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn and Alison Weir's Innocent Traitor, this glorious historical novel is based on the life of the great 17th century entomologist, Eleanor Glanville.

On the ancient marshlands of Somerset -- a place of mists and magic -- a girl grows up in the shadow of the English
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Paperback, 528 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Preface Publishing (first published July 16th 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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El
First of all, a complaint regarding so many reviews I've seen about this book in which the protagonist's name is spelled incorrectly. Did you seriously even read the book? Did you miss the fact that this book is based on a real person? Hello, it's Eleanor Glanville. How do you read an entire book about someone and then misspell the main character's last name? Glanville. Say it with me. It's not Granville. I'm embarrassed for you.

Moving on.

I don't often do the whole historical romance thing becau
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Sheri
Jun 18, 2010 Sheri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lady of the Butterflies (Fiona Mountain)
This is the story of Eleanor Granville, daughter of a Puritan Nobleman on the marshlands of England. Set in the 17th century, it chronicles her life, from childhood to adulthood.

Family tragedies, war, betrayals & passion occur. Eleanor is not the average woman, she is a woman "before her times". She has an obsessive interest in science, particularly that of butterflies. This causes the town people to think her, mad, crazed, even a witch. She is a passi
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Brenda
Jun 19, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! I read this book in two days! I couldn't wait to get started on it as soon as I read the book description and found out I was getting an advance reader copy. I opened the front cover when I got it and couldn't put it down.

This author was such a fabulous writer!!! She based the book on fact, filled it with such rich history, facts on the study of butterflies and how it came about that the women in the book started studying them. You felt as if you were there with the characters and the desc
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Amy Bruno
In Lady of the Butterflies, author Fiona Mountain tackles the life of the spirited and tenacious Eleanor Glanville. Known today as one of the pioneer entomologists of the 17th century, Eleanor was an anomaly among the women of her day and her personal life was no less captivating.

Raised by her staunch Puritan father after the death of her mother and sister, Eleanor’s childhood was sheltered and lonely. For a child whose very soul craved fresh air, freedom and nature, she found it difficult to a
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Orsolya
Jun 29, 2011 Orsolya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beauty AND brains. That is the ideal combination to a man, right? If so, then Eleanor Glanville had it all. Class, as the daughter of a nobleman and intelligence with a love and knack for science. As a female who graduated college with a 4.0 GPA, I welcome ANY book telling the tale of a strong, intellectual female.

Fiona Mountain truly wrote a beautiful work with Lady of the Butterflies. Combining elements of dedicated intelligence with obessesion (Eleanor tends to pick science experimentation o
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Daniel Lee
Dec 31, 2009 Daniel Lee rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: not to kids
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kimmel Tippets
Jul 27, 2011 Kimmel Tippets rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was never one for science so I was unfamiliar with Eleanor Glanville, but I was intrigued with the idea of who she was. I also love historical fiction, and it did not disappoint.
Ms. Mountain does an outstanding job of creating seventeenth century London. I could easily picture the filthy streets of London and the beautiful moors of Tickenham. She paints a picture so clearly with words. I found myself looking forward to picking up the book again so I could enter the beautiful world again. But d
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Deborah Swift
Dec 02, 2010 Deborah Swift rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best pieces of historical fiction I have read in a long time. Impeccably researched and beautifully written, the metaphor of the butterfly is applied brilliantly to this tale of Eleanor Glanville, a woman scientist ahead of her time. Mountain does a very good job of using the available facts (it is a true story) to make a compelling narrative. From the opening where Nell is a misunderstood child, through the trials of war and rebellion, her turbulent love life, and her tussle ...more
Jae
Jun 04, 2013 Jae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engrossing story of passionate relationships, of scientific discovery and of a turbulent period in English history. Add to this a woman fighting for her rights against all the odds made this a winner for me. Based on the factual story of Eleanor Goodricke, a woman born ahead of her time, fearless in her search for knowledge, love, happiness and fulfilment, this book is well-written and excellently researched. I gave it four stars because I thought it perhaps a little too long, but wouldn't he ...more
Tara Chevrestt
Aug 06, 2010 Tara Chevrestt marked it as dnf
Recommended to Tara by: Irene
Just didn't grab me. Lovely writing style if a bit too descriptive at times.. Author obviously has talent. The problem for me is: I'm not interested in the draining of England's swamps and rivers or Puritans. For me to spend 4 days reading a 500 page novel, it must GRAB me and hold me. This particular tale is too slow for my taste. If was cropped to 300 pages or thereabouts and got to the point, I would probably love it. Thus, DNF.
Barb
Author Shows Promise But This Novel Is Inconsistant

This is the first novel I've read by Fiona Mountain and it started out well enough. I enjoyed the many details of the period; the story begins with a prologue set in 1695 then starts in earnest in 1662 when Eleanor Goodricke is a nine year old girl growing up in the village of Tickenham, England.

Mountain does an excellent job setting the place and the politics of the period with details about Roundheads, Cavaliers, Puritan values and prejudices,
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Jackie
2 1/2 stars-
I hate it when I have a love-hate relationship with a book. It makes deciding to keep reading or dump difficult. It also makes rating difficult. I’m going with 3 stars, but my real rating is like 2 stars . I usually round up if I think a book is worth checking out and even though I found some parts of this book irritating I do think it is worth looking into.

The beginning parts were interesting. Eleanor’s relationship with her father was rather fascinating to me. While he was a stri
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Allyson
WARNING: SPOILERS!

I enjoy historical fiction, and having read quite a bit set during this time period (mid to late 17th century), and having some experience reenacting this time period with my geeky husband and friends, I found this novel especially fun. I also really enjoyed the fact that our heroine--a real historical figure--was ahead of her time. But at the center of this novel is a love triangle that really didn't do it for me. Eleanor falls in love with two men: One is Edmund Ashville, a k
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Annie
Although this author is classified as a Romance writer, I hesitate to limit this book by calling it a romance novel. It is definitely a cut above the average historical romance in that the romance is inherently used to illustrate the role of women at the time and it manages to deal with a number of themes not usually addressed in a romance. The obviously extensive and well done research alone set it apart. Based on an historical character, it is a well and believeably imagined story of how a wom ...more
Debbie Maskus
Apr 04, 2010 Debbie Maskus rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Lady of Butterflies for allowing me to view the world of a female scientist in the 1680's to 1700's. At times, I felt the story line to be bland with too much of the day-to-day living, but then I decided that Fiona Mountain wanted the reader to see that in spite of all her accomplishments, Eleanor Granville lived a simple life that centered on her children and the butterflies. The novel inspired me to research Eleanor Granville and to learn that Fiona Mountain fo ...more
Julie
May 20, 2011 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I think a more accurate description of this book would be historical romance rather than historical fiction. I loathe historical romances, but kept reading this one because of the interesting portrayal of cultural oddities of the time period; origin of marriage contracts, the superstitious belief that butterflies are the souls of the dead, discovery of metamorphosis, explanation of the political climate, etc, but somehow the writing seems to slip back and forth and can't decide what kind of book ...more
Liza
Jul 21, 2013 Liza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hi-fi, religion, uk
Bonus points for being based on a true story. I didnt realize that this was an actual unsolved historical mystery until I was done with the book. Knowing that this was based on a true story made me appreciate the characters so much more. I love reading about progressive, independent women, and even more so when they its based in truth. Such an interesting portrayal of a woman balancing religion and science, her traditional duties and progressive ideals.
Ape
At a little over 650 pages, it's a long book, but as this is essentially the tale of a person's life, you can't expect it to be short. I did really enjoy this book although I've got to admit that I got to a certain point and I just wanted to be finished reading this book, so I ploughed on through it this morning so that I got to the end.

Set in the late 1700s after the English civil war, this is the fictionalised account of a real person's life - Eleanor Goodricke. She was born to a small estate
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Sarah
Oct 17, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
"What was the point of living if it was not to learn? There were things I wanted to know, that I couldn't live without knowing, couldn't die not knowing, or not at least without trying to find out." - Eleanor Glanville, Lady of the Butterflies

Fiona Mountain's debut novel Lady of the Butterflies is based around the life of entomologist Eleanor Glanville.

Eleanor grew up on the moors in Somerset, and was made heiress of Tickenham Court at her Puritan father's death. Eleanor was educated by her fat
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Shawn
Oct 17, 2010 Shawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-book
This book is based on the true story of Eleanor, a woman in the late 17th century that was fascinated by entomology and butterflies. She was considered to be somewhat of a witch during those days and totally ostrasized by her community and family. I was excited to learn more about the history of this science and how much was pure speculation at that time. It was also interesting that Nell, as she was called, was the only woman that had any interest in this science. That part was very fascinating ...more
Rusty
Mar 21, 2013 Rusty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the background about the heroine prior to beginning the novel. What an amazing woman! The story begins with Eleanor outdoors where she longs to be. She loves studying the insects, the animals and birds but most especially she loves butterflies. Her mother and sister have died and she has only her father who cultivates and encourages her love of the outdoors and studying all things scientifically. When he becomes ill with ague (malaria), she is devastated. He dies and she grows up studying ...more
Shannon
Jun 24, 2010 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: early-reviewers
"Lady of the Butterflies" is the story of a woman, Eleanor Glanville, whose love for butterflies an all things beautiful ultimately causes trouble for her.

It’s amazing how many topics this book touched on. I enjoyed the description of the development of science (insects), the belief of spontaneous generation, the brief history of being a physician versus an apothecary, the treatment of malaria, marsh drainage, the process of declaring someone insane, religions of the time, etc.

I found the book
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Christy B
I've been wanting to read Lady of the Butterflies for about a year and was afraid that I had built up the book too much in my head. When I finished reading, I realized that it was well worth the wait.

Lady of the Butterflies is about a woman who really existed: Eleanor Glanville, who was a Entomologist in the 17th century who studied butterflies. The book was part historical fiction, part romance, with Eleanor falling deeper and deeper in love with Richard Glanville, best friend of her husband E
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Suzanne Moore
Lady of the Butterflies tells the story of Eleanor Glanville, the first female etomologist. Taking place shortly after the English Civil War, Eleanor is orphaned and heir to a grand estate. As a child she loved studying nature while exploring the moors, in particular butterflies and their life cycle. In those days butterflies were thought to represent souls of the dead, and because of her fascination with the winged insects, she was rumored to be a witch. Throughout her life she marries and is w ...more
Romancing the Book
Mar 06, 2012 Romancing the Book rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Reviewed By~April
Review Copy Provided By~Publisher

Historical Fiction beautifully brought to life through the eyes of a lovely and talented author, Fiona Mountain. Ms. Mountain takes the true life story, struggles and discoveries of Eleanor Glanville and brings forth an epic story that will mesmerize many, in Lady of the Butterflies.

To be honest, I did not even realize this was a true story based novel until the very end. That knowledge added an extra depth and appreciation to my perception of th
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Wanda
Jan 27, 2014 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Bettie
27 JAN 2014 -- recommended by Bettie. This is right up my reading alley and is available to me from Barnes & Noble. I will purchase/download for reading in the very near future. Many thanks, Bettie!
Debbie
Nov 25, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was very interesting learning that this story was loosely based on real people and events. The story, though lengthy, is an easy read in that the dialogue flows very naturally and the characters are pretty well developed. I liked the path the story took as it neared its ending. My only complaint is that it may have been a little wordier than really necessary. It started to drag at various points. But I never stopped reading, because each time it slowed down, it wasn't too long before somethin ...more
Jo Barton
Jan 18, 2010 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing
Eleanor Glanville brought up in the remnants of a Puritan household is considered fey, and slightly odd by the people in her village. She runs through the marshes like a wild child and is fascinated by all she sees, but it is the attraction of butterlies that will have a lasting hold over her life. Set against a backdrop of superstition and with some lively characters this is a wonderfully evocative book, which captures the essence of the restoration period perfectly.

After the first few chapter
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Tracy
Mar 28, 2016 Tracy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a shame and disappointment..Historical fiction genre ruined by the bodice ripper or "romance" genre.

There is enough historical information to fill a decent sized novel and would have been very readable as there are not many novels out there in this time period. Lots of key issues arose in the Restoration period for women, science etc....

I believe that she has made a very ambitious attempt to combine a interesting woman in history with a woman who enters a co-dependent relationship with a b
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Emily Crow
I really liked the protagonist, Eleanor Glanville, an actual historical figure who was accused of lunacy because of her passion for nature studies, especially involving butterflies. The story also showed how difficult it was to be an unconventional woman at the time, even one who had some money and a bit of independence. Despite these obstacles, the historical person even has a butterfly named after her, the Glanville fritillary. Way to go, Eleanor!

I also liked the descriptions of the marshes a
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 11, 2015 03:02PM  
Historical Fictio...: July 2013- Lady of the Butterflies 27 185 Aug 29, 2013 01:17PM  
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Fiona Mountain grew up in Sheffield and moved to London aged eighteen where she worked in the press office for Radio 1 for ten years, handling the PR for presenters including John Peel, Mark Radlcliffe and Steve Wright and traveling with the Radio 1 Summer Roadshow.

Her first novel, Isabella, tells the haunting love story of Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian and his cousin, Isabella Curwen. It was
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More about Fiona Mountain...

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“It is well known that lust brings madness and desperation and ruin. But upon my oath, I never meant any harm. All I wanted was to be happy, to love and to be loved in return, and for my life to count for something.
That is not madness, is it?”
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