Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Butterfly Sister” as Want to Read:
The Butterfly Sister
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt

The Butterfly Sister

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  2,707 Ratings  ·  476 Reviews
"My past was never more than one thought, one breath, one heartbeat away. And then, on that particular October evening, it literally arrived at my doorstep."

Eight months after dropping out of Tarble, an all-women's college, twenty-two-year-old Ruby Rousseau is still haunted by the memories of her senior year-a year marred by an affair with her English professor and a deep
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Butterfly Sister, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Butterfly Sister

Divergent by Veronica RothThe Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil GaimanLamb by Christopher MooreA Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
Tea Time: July 24th
14 books — 10 voters
Wings by Aprilynne PikeThe Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. PearsonTithe by Holly BlackEmma by Jane AustenThe Declaration by Gemma Malley
234 books — 130 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Diane S ☔
Jul 18, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
For a first novel this was very evenly paced, and the writing is amazingly reader friendly.Takes place at a small women's college near Chicago and features a college professor who takes advantage of his students, in more ways than one. He is your typical disgusting cad, one readers just love to hate and hope that he gets his in the end. Many twists and turns as we get near to the end of the book, a few I did not see coming.

My favorite parts though featured Plath, Sexton, Woolf and Perkins, the d

This story sounded so unique but turned out to be uninteresting and farfetched. I stared to lose interest early on shortly after the suitcase was delivered to Ruby. Most of the plot was about Ruby's past professor-turned-boyfriend Mark from a year before. She goes to a college reunion and we, the reader, get dragged through implausible situations, right until the end. I was really annoyed at all the suicide/attempted suicide attempts revolving around Mark. It's was overkill and made me roll my e
BBMoreB ~
Jul 23, 2013 BBMoreB ~ rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
The ideal summer read.

This author’s debut strikes at the sensitivity often surrounding feminist literary classics. This first person account is an eloquent mix of past indiscretions, present mysteries, and potential future decisions. Ruby’s journey is a fast-paced, emotional, and mysterious. It left this reader with a powerful lasting impression and a deep need to reread the works of Woolf, Plath, and Gilman – something I’ve not felt in years.

Disclosure: This ebook was provided to me free of c
Aug 19, 2013 Betsy rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I would prefer to give this book 3 1/2 stars. Somewhere between good and really good. I purchased a copy of "The Butterfly Sisters" on Amazon after seeing it advertised on Goodreads. It's an easy book to read. I liked the author's writing style and the story was well-paced (until the end). I also liked the themes of women's literature, creativity, suicide, madness, New Orleans, ghosts, and the bittersweet angst of college romances. It even reminded me a bit at the beginning of "The Bell Jar," a ...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On Ageless Pages Reviews!

I liked this quite a bit. I didn't love it, but Amy Gail Hansen pulled me into her story easily and early. The mystery is intriguing, the characters are well-drawn, and the writing itself is sold. Part mystery, part thriller, the author blends together the various aspects of The Butterfly Sister into an interesting and compulsively readable novel. Fast-paced, with several, unexpected twists and turns, readers will find themselves drawn
Jul 21, 2013 Chelsey rated it it was amazing
Amy Gail Hansen and her leading character, Ruby Rousseau, spin in a tale that hooks you after the first sentence and doesn’t let loose until you have turned the last page. This is a twisted, dark tale of a girl and an old college acquaintance of her hers that goes missing. Ruby had an awful experience at Tarble, the women’s college that she attended all the way up until her senior year. Ruby had a horrifying experience there and is now suffering the depression and aftermath of it; a broken affai ...more
Rob Slaven
As usual I paid nothing for this book but also as usual I'll review it candidly anyway. I received this book through the kind consideration of a GoodReads giveaway just as I have so many others.

Our protagonist is a broken woman, the victim of a spurned and ill-advised love. She revolves in her sad and wounded orbit until one day a suitcase shows up on her doorstep that belongs to an old acquaintance from her former college. From there the story twists mercilessly and unexpectedly to its whiplash
Book of Secrets
Sep 02, 2013 Book of Secrets rated it it was ok
THE BUTTERFLY SISTER had a strong beginning, but somewhere around the half-way point, the story derailed and had trouble recovering. The book presents an intriguing mystery. The suitcase of a missing woman is delivered to Ruby Rousseau, and it turns out the two lived in the same dorm at Tarble College. Ruby is still shattered by the fact that an affair with her married English professor ended badly, with Ruby being dumped and then trying to kill herself. In the suitcase, Ruby finds clues to what ...more
Jul 26, 2013 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2013, wom-2013
This is one of the better debuts I have read this year.
I could not put the book down I started it yesterday morning and finished it early this morning.
It was dark but not overly dark, it also had a gothic feel to it
and major twist at the end that kept me reading. add in the way she used Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Charlotte Perkins with the main character Ruby and you have the makings of a good book. She kind of lost me at the end and I am wondering how she will feel about it after she has
Sep 05, 2013 Cari rated it it was ok
An utterly predictable and incredibly light read. In the author's notes, she mentioned writing this book because she finished reading a novel that had just been released as a major motion picture and thought, "I could have written that." I had the same feeling reading this book.
Johannah Gage
** [This review contains plot hints and quotes but no spoilers.] **

I started "The Butterfly Sister" at 11:30pm Saturday and finished it at 3am Sunday. I simply was unable to put it down. I even felt guilty about a bathroom break. The writing was smooth and comfortable, the story compelling, and the themes all too close to home. I'd call this one a "light literary thriller for women" but wouldn't banish it to the labels of "chick lit" or "beach books" as some reviewers have. Sure, it's a story ab
Aug 16, 2013 Tammy rated it it was amazing
WOW...Complex....and Twisted
The past,to quote the book, " Nature's most underestimated ghost." Within this book most individuals will find someone from their past that is replicated with one of these characters. It seems everyone Hansen's characters has a flaw that holds them at bay. Ruby is smart creative, and seemed to be adjusted (when her first entered college) then come the albatross around her neck. Mark,(albatross), flawed from the get go, brings out the insecurity within Beth. Beth's dow
Aug 11, 2013 BlueStockingBrat rated it really liked it
I honestly don't believe that this book deserves the three-star ratings that I saw on here. It's not my thing, really. Most of my personal collection is comprised of fantasy, steampunk, horror, and the like. Maybe that colors my opinion but I don't think this was a bad book, I wouldn't say it was watered down as I read in one of the reviews. All in all, I liked it. It was sad, it kept me reading, and I did really like it. I also wouldn't have guessed the end until I finally came to it. So I real ...more
May 16, 2016 Colleen rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, audiobook
I got a little past half way through listening to this book but I just can't take it anymore. Ruby is such an unlikeable, self-centered, bundle of issues that if this were a physical book - I'd hurl it at the wall in disgust.
But apparently she's "so special" and has "secrets" and "people won't understand" so she won't tell anyone anything - even though someone's life may be at stake.
Miscommunication - my least favorite trope or plot device - EVER. Books should come with a warning label so
Ruby Rousseau can't seem to get past the memories of Tarble. Even with counseling she is still struggling with the events that had her leaving the college ten months earlier. When an unexpected delivery of a suitcase from a former classmate arrives, everything around Ruby shifts. Ruby is thrust into a mystery surrounding Beth and forced to face everything she ran away from. In a journey that reroutes Ruby's life, you are swept into a mesmerizing story about betrayal, a puzzle that needs to be so ...more
Jul 27, 2013 Margi rated it liked it
The story is relevant, professor dating students. I was very intrigued through most of this novel. Then the last few chapters....ugh. Terrible ending. Sorry. Just thought it did not live up to the great beginning. If it could of kept going with the great mystery of the suitcase and the missing girl it would have been great. Just "eh" for me.
Sep 17, 2013 Asagao rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2013 Anna rated it it was ok
I've had a run of books that start very interesting but get boring pretty quickly. This was one of them
"Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."- A Room of One's Own

Setting:New Orleans, Louisiana; Kenosha; Illinois; Oak Park, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 2012-2013

Coverly Love?:No; it's a lock.

Plot:It's been one year since Ruby Rousseau has tried to commit suicide. After dropping out of the prestigious Tarble Women's College, she is living with her mother and writing for the local paper. Her mundane life will
Sep 13, 2013 Louise rated it really liked it
Story Description:

Harpercollins Publishers|July 29, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-223462-9

The past just arrived on Ruby’s doorstep…

To uncover the truth about a friend’s disappearance, a fragile young woman must silence the ghosts of her past in the moving debut tale that intertwines mystery, madness, betrayal, love, and literature.

“My past was never more than one thought, one breath, one heartbeat away. And then, on that particular October evening, it literally arrived at my doorstep.”

Rosy M.
Sep 23, 2014 Rosy M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Ruby Rousseau di nome e di fatto: Rubino come i capelli dai riccioli tramonto, Rubino come l’incarnato da bambola imbellettata. Una studentessa modello dalla spiccata intelligenza, e con la smodata dipendenza da libri. Una donna come tutte le altre, vero? Decisamente NO, perché Ruby ha provato su di sé il piacere della morte indotta. Sì, proprio così. Un amore sbagliato (forse contorto e autolesio
Kaleena Melotti
Sep 07, 2013 Kaleena Melotti rated it it was amazing
Wow! If you're looking for a slightly romantic thrill ride that makes you question your own sanity, let alone the characters, then this is the book for you!

I can hardly believe this is Hansen's debut novel, as the writing style is so spectacular. (Not that debut authors aren't capable of spectacular novels, but as with any case, everything gets better with practice, and this seems so seasoned already!) It's safe to assume that I'll be checking out any of Hansen's future work.

Ruby Rousseau is hau
Erik Cedillo
Oct 25, 2014 Erik Cedillo rated it really liked it
For a debut novel, I say that this was an excellent book. Even though I do not necessarily connect emotionally to any characters of the story, I appreciated their development all through out the rising action. Every twist in the plot towards Ruby's investigation had me surprised and excited to turn the page. Ruby is not your conventional girl, I'd like to say that she is very eccentric. She is the type of person who is always thinking and reasoning in every situation she is in. This comes in han ...more
Jul 31, 2013 Lectus rated it liked it

Ruby's acquaintance, Beth, disappeared, the odd thing is that Ruby received Beth's suitcase. For once, our main character doesn't embark in a journey to find out what happened. Well, she does go here and there kind of snooping around, but not for that reason. What is eating Ruby inside is that she wants to know if Beth had an affair with Ruby's ex-boyfriend.

But even worst, Ruby can't stop wondering "did he dumped me for Beth??

Arrrggghh, I've been ther
Luanne Ollivier
Aug 07, 2013 Luanne Ollivier rated it liked it
The Butterfly Sister is Amy Gail Hansen's debut novel.

Ruby Rousseau left Tarble College one credit short of her degree. A failed affair with one of her professors led to a suicide attempt and her decision to not return.

But when a suitcase she had borrowed from Beth, one of the women on her dorm floor, is mistakenly returned to her at her mother's home, the past won't stay buried. For Beth is missing and notes scribbled in the margins of a book found in the suitcase lead Ruby to believe that B
Apr 13, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 because there was no one thing I could really put my finger on that I hated.

This is your basic, watered down contemporary mystery with a bit of a Gothic vibe. Ruby Rousseau dropped out of college a semester shy of graduating. She has several ghosts in her closet, so to speak, and she hasn't been in contact with anyone from Tarble College since she left. The mistaken delivery of a missing girl's suitcase to Ruby leaves her with many questions, inciting her return to Tar
Sep 18, 2013 Dana rated it really liked it
"The Buttery Sister" was really a gem!  The book was described as "a moving Gothic tale that intertwines mystery, madness, betrayal, love, and literature."  That description was dead on.  This was an unexpected mystery coupled with literature and suicide- perfect for me!  Ruby fell in love with her college professor and when he ended the affair she attempted suicide.  One year later, she was suddenly drawn back to the college when one girl attempted suicide and another was missing.  What was so ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Ariel rated it liked it
Shelves: womens-fiction
Thank you to Jen over at Book Club Girl for the book and opportunity to participate in a chat with author Amy Gail Hansen. Click here to listen to the blogtalk radio show.

This was promoted as a Gothic mystery but I didn't really see the Goth influence. The story centers on Ruby, a student at an all girls college, who has a penchant for women writers who killed themselves, i.e. Sylvia Plath. Ruby embarks on an affair with her professor and when it ends
Aug 06, 2013 MissSusie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a different story than I expected, it turned out to be a darn good thriller and Amy Rubinate's narration just made it all the better!

Ruby is a much damaged woman after a bad affair she drops out of college and moves home when one day a delivery is made to her house of a suitcase belonging to her former roommate Beth but when Ruby sets out to find Beth she instead finds out that she is missing. This mystery takes her back to the scene of her heartbreak, Tarble College, where she finds an
Jun 17, 2013 Sherri rated it really liked it
I received The Butterfly Sister as an Early Review book. I glanced at the other reviews before I started and saw the 1st review was not so positive so I didn’t finish reading any of the reviews so I would not be biased. As I started reading I did keep looking for something to not like. The story is about a young woman who dropped out of college her senior year because of a disastrous relationship with her professor, a failed suicide and then a friend goes missing. The author Miss Hansen includes ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: #64 - The Butterfly Sister 1 1 Nov 06, 2013 06:10AM  
  • The Widows of Braxton County
  • The Animal Hour
  • That Summer in Cornwall
  • The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge (Liberty, #5)
  • Sleepy Hollow (Sleepy Hollow #1)
  • Fiona
  • Cover of Snow
  • Love and Lament
  • Vets in Love (Talyton St George, #6)
  • Equilibrium
  • Never Come Back
  • Still Time
  • Twelve Hours (Dan Morgan #4)
  • Sleeping in Eden
  • The Skull and the Nightingale
  • Race Across the Sky
  • Crime of Privilege
  • The Law of Loving Others
Born in the Chicago suburbs, Amy Gail Hansen spent her early childhood near New Orleans. She holds a BA in English from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A former English teacher, she works as a freelance writer and journalist in suburban Chicago, where she lives with her husband and three children. The Butterfly Sister is her debut novel.
More about Amy Gail Hansen...

Share This Book

“Ah, that is the miracle of the written word. It beckons our unconscious out of hiding. It tells us things we need to know, sometimes things we don’t want to know.” 6 likes
“The past is a funny thing, Ruby. It is nature’s most underestimated ghost. It is still very much alive. Its heart still beats, it haunts. And it is always impacting, always dictating the future, which eventually becomes the past. You see, it multiplies, this enigma. It grows larger and larger until at the end, it swallows your entire life. Every day, every moment becomes the past.” 1 likes
More quotes…