Maxine (Booklover Catlady)'s Reviews > The Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
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The Gardener likes to collect butterflies for his collection...

This book left me speechless! One of my favourite reads of 2016 so far and a book I will never ever forget reading. The synopsis just sucked me in and from reading the very first paragraph I knew my choice to delve into this novel was a good one. Time just flew by and I lost track of my life as I read this exceptional novel. This one got me on so many levels. I can't rave enough.

Let's have a taste of what pulled me in:

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding...

Maya is one of The Gardener's collected butterflies, young women "collected" and kept by him to admire, touch and "love". None of that in a healthy way. Nope, not at all. Each woman is chosen for her beauty and receives her "wings" after joining the other butterflies. He tattoos huge wings on the back of each young woman, each one a different type of butterfly, each woman given a new name. What happens to these women will break your heart into a million pieces, a trillion pieces. I felt SO many emotions reading this book and found the plot absolutely fascinating yet disturbing at the same time.

The Gardener has been honing his collecting skills for a very long time. When May wakes up in The Garden it's not long before she takes on a role of helping and caring for the other girls/butterflies, especially his newly collected ones who are of course totally horrified when they realise the situation they find themselves in. Captive, free to roam but within The Gardeners limitations.

He truly believes he loves and cares for his specimens. He wants to look at them forever. Forever.

The book cleverly switches timeline between Maya's story IN the garden and her telling the FBI her story and the story of the other butterflies. So the synopsis does alert you that Maya obviously finds her way out, but we don't know how. I kind of wished that the freedom element of the book was a surprise twist but can see why the book was written as it was.

It has some quite disturbing scenes in it, but it utterly fascinating and the pace is consistent, ensuring you don't have a moment of boredom. You will be drawn in to the story before you know it. The book has some strong characters and quite a lot of them as we get to know the other butterflies, what is done really well is that you don't lose track of any character despite their being a few. Each is done with clarity and each I will remember as a distinct individual in fiction.

This book absolutely must be made into a movie, it would be utterly spectacular! This one gets 5 stars from me and goes straight to my long-list for my Top Reads of 2016 and will be a hot contender. I can't recommend this one enough. Go grab it readers! Beautifully disturbing.

I received a copy of this novel thanks to the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a professional and honest book review, many thanks.

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Reading Progress

May 8, 2016 – Shelved
May 8, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
June 13, 2016 –
5.0% ""Why do you mark us?" "Because a garden must have it's butterflies." "Any chance we could leave that metaphorical?" I'm really into this book already. The synopsis really hooked me."
June 13, 2016 –
June 14, 2016 –
77.0% "Incredible book. Really enjoyed this one."
June 14, 2016 –
84.0% "Oh God, totally heartbreaking and disturbing."
June 15, 2016 – Started Reading
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: net-galley-reviewed
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-reading-challenge
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-five-star-books
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: abuse-themes
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: could-not-put-down
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: creepy-books
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: disturbing-moments
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: dysfunctional-people
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: longlist-top-reads-2016
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: maxine-favourites
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: crime-books-read
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: serial-killer-at-work
June 15, 2016 – Finished Reading
January 5, 2017 – Shelved as: 2016-top-ten-reads

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)

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message 1: by Supratim (new) - added it

Supratim Great review, Maxine :)

Maxine (Booklover Catlady) Supratim wrote: "Great review, Maxine :)"

Thanks so much, totally loved this book.

Tammy another to add to the list.

message 4: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Just requested it on NetGalley, Maxine. Looks great! Super review!

message 5: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Fantastic review, Maxine. Love the inclusion of all the butterfly wing tattoos - they're rather spectacular. Definitely poaching this one for Mount TBR!

message 6: by Joy (new) - added it

Joy Thanks for the rec - looks good!

message 7: by Joy (new) - added it

Joy Excellent review, by the way!

message 8: by Yodamom (new)

Yodamom Wonderful review. The book sounds fascinating but not a subject I think I can handle.

message 9: by Jan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jan Great review, and thanks for the recommendation! I requested and already received a copy from NG :)

Maxine (Booklover Catlady) Thanks so much everyone! For those of you getting the book I can't wait to see your reviews!

message 11: by Christine (new)

Christine Nice review, Maxine! Love the graphics. Thanks for the xcellent recommendation.

message 12: by Dia (new)

Dia I will definitely try to read this one.
As it is one of your top-reads :)

message 13: by Joodith (new)

Joodith This sounds very much like a rip off of John Fowles book "The Collector", his first novel written in the early 1960's about a man who goes from collecting butterflies to collecting a girl.

Maxine (Booklover Catlady) Joodith, I've read both and this is very different. In Fowlers book he doesn't build an entire colony nor does he do what The Gardener does with the girls. They are like chalk and cheese except they call their captives butterflies.

message 15: by Sally (new)

Sally Nemenyi Sounds amazing but also not sure it's a subject I can handle either (Yodamom)

message 16: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Great review! I have this one to read, as well. :)

message 17: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa great review have this one to read in a little bit

message 18: by Angela (new) - added it

Angela DeSilva Awesome review Maxine!

Nenia ⭐ Literary Garbage Can ⭐ Campbell OMG great review. And yes, this would totally make a great movie!

Maxine (Booklover Catlady) Thanks so much. I do hope many of you get to read it. I really liked it.

message 21: by Elke (new) - rated it 3 stars

Elke Great review - I immediately went to get it myself!

Maxine (Booklover Catlady) I hope you love it Elke!

message 23: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill Kupersmith Just finished myself & trying to write my review. As you'll see, I'm not quite so enthused, An excellent read, but not quite @ the level of real tragedy that I'd hoped for.

Maxine (Booklover Catlady) Looking forward to reading your review Bill.

Bettye McKee Maxine, your photos just added a new layer or dimension to this book. The horror is low-key and creeping, and I like that it builds throughout the story.

Philomena Callan Cheekypee Oh I like the sound of this one. Great review

Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin I loved this book =)

Glynis Love the photos. The sequel though is poor.

Maxine (Booklover Catlady) I've started it Glynis but finding it slow and nothing like this. I will read it and see.

message 30: by Aneela (new) - added it

Aneela ♒the_mystique_reader♒ Sounds very disturbing. I have this on my tbr but I haven't read it yet. Great review though.

message 31: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Senteney There is an old movie called The Collector, maybe from the 60's I have seen it here on you tube, Must be the story this one based theirs on. May be the same book, idk. The Collector was a man who won the lottery and buys a mansion with a storage house he kidnaps girls and locks them in, maybe a Jacqueline Bisset film

message 32: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Senteney Joodith wrote: "This sounds very much like a rip off of John Fowles book "The Collector", his first novel written in the early 1960's about a man who goes from collecting butterflies to collecting a girl."

Same thing I said, but Stephen King says there are only so many storylines, the difference is in the telling. It sounds similar, but very different

Maxine (Booklover Catlady) In The Collector he only takes one and its a very different plot. After reading both they have more differences than similarities. The Collector is nowhere near as dark or complex.

message 34: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Senteney Yes it was written a long time ago, so there are no so many technical advances, and I think people were reluctant to write to dark during that time. I enjoyed the collector, I see that it is very different, but the basic plot is the guy collects them like butterflies, so they have similarities. I love dark tales.

message 35: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill Kupersmith Fowles was concerned with philosophical concepts in vogue @ the time, like Existentialism. Even then I found it bogus (collecting birds’ eggs doesn’t have to lead to collecting girls) whilst Butterfly Garden is more pure thriller and misses the moral and spiritual issues , which is why I’ve skipped the sequel.

message 36: by Dustin (new) - added it

Dustin GASP!!!

Sarah Grey Was this a paid review? Genuinely curious, since you've included a link to your book promotion services in the post.

Maxine (Booklover Catlady) No. I don’t get paid for any of my reviews. My publicity services are for authors requiring book launches, social media promotion and bespoke full book publicity campaigns. I’ve done thousands of book reviews, all for the love of it. My personal reviews are separate from my business and each review is honest and unbiased (as you’d see if you come to read reviews of books I don’t like). I’m proud to be Publicist to many bestselling and independent authors but book reviewing is my private passion.

Felicia Spectacular review. adding to my TBR

message 40: by Dustin (new) - added it

Dustin Terrific review, as always! This waz actually my second time reading it, and I found it just as fascinating, if not more so.:))

message 41: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Senteney I read the original story, I can tell from your review it is taken to a much darker deeper level, I love a good horror story. Authors used to hold back from fear of not getting published, things are much easier now, not so much censorship. I hope to run across a copy soon, currently I am reading The Collector by Nora Roberts, and it's good, but not so dark. I do enjoy a good dark tale, blame it on the Brothers Grimm

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