Stacie's Reviews > Lady of the Butterflies

Lady of the Butterflies by Fiona Mountain
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's review
Mar 25, 2010

really liked it

Admittedly, I was a bit timid of this book set in the late 1600's. Since it is not a time frame that I usually read about I was worried about not understanding things and was afraid I couldn't make it through the 527 pages. But, I was mistaken. I fell in love with this book in the first 20 pages and if time would have allowed me, I could have read it in a few days.

I found this story fascinating and enjoyed reading about a time so different from anything I have ever known. The author described the land, the people, the homes, the clothing, nature, and the butterflies so completely and expertly that I had no trouble at all imagining the places and the people. The story involves death and grief, family, love, hardships, parenting, nature, war, and everything in between. There was joy and drama, happiness and sorrow, laughter and sadness throughout the whole story. Every chapter kept me turning the pages rapidly to see what Eleanor would say or do next. There were several characters in the story, but I didn't have any trouble keeping them all straight. Again, the author's descriptions and how they were introduced helped to keep everyone in your mind.

I loved all the references to God and creation in the story. The science of the 1600's was something I had never thought of before and found all the research and sharing of knowledge very interesting. I had never thought about the great fear that science must have been those 300-400 years ago. Thank goodness for all those who blazed trails and sought the knowledge so that today we can have all the medicines and treatments we use today. I will never again look at butterflies the same.

Eleanor Glanville was the feminist of the 1600's. When she was to be learning embroidery and her only focus was to have a "fruitful womb" she was instead reading books and studying the nature around her. She is definitely a woman to be studied and learned about and I thank the author for sharing Eleanor's story with us.

As a mother who has gone through labor three times I found the labor and delivery process described in the most interesting. To be closed up in a room for days/weeks before and after the labor and to have numerous women from your community present at your birth was just fascinating to me. I can't imagine having all my friends in my community sitting around my bed on stools chatting and gossipping while I am in labor screaming out in pain. After Eleanor became a mother, her struggles were much like any struggle of moms today...."If I wanted to be a good mother, I could not be a good scientist. If I wanted to be a good scientist, I could not be a good mother." Much like the mothers today who want the career and the life of motherhood, knowing that it is a tough balance to combine the two and one will always suffer at some point.

This was such a fascinating book and one I will likely read again. Fiona Mountain obviously did her research and I am certainly glad that I am now aware of the Lady Eleanor Glanville and the Glanville Fritillary butterfly. If you would like to know more about Fiona Mountain or more information about Lady Eleanor Glanville, check out

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