I should preface this by saying that I randomly picked out this audio book as my credit for the month on Audible and I listened to all NINE hours of it in two days! I was so entralled, I could not stop.
The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison is a modern day psychological thriller. On a large estate there is a vast greenhouse. This greenhouse is tended by a Gardener who believes that beauty if fleeting, so he fills his garden with beautiful butterflies all of whom have an expiration date. But these aren’t just butterflies, these are teenagers and young women who the Gardener has kidnapped and tattooed with wings. The Gardener kidnaps women, traps them in his greenhouse, uses them, rapes them and if they are bad or get too old he kills them and preserves their wings.
This story starts at the end, the police have just rescued upward of 20 butterflies and now they are trying to figure out what happened. Maya, a butterfly that has been in the garden for almost 3 years, has all the answers but this is her story to tell and she plans to tell it in her own way.
Warning, this book is not for the faint of heart. It isn’t overly graphic but for those sensitive to rape, it does happen a lot. That being said, it happens almost abstractly; you know it happens, you know it is happening but you are sort of on the outskirts of the scene. You don’t feel as present for it as you do in some of the things you read or watch. Just thought I should throw that out there.
As an audio book, I was skeptical at first. There is two narrators, one for the detective and one for Maya. At first the quality of the recordings felt like they were at odds but I have to say, I got so sucked into the story that after the second narration switch I thought I must have been making it up.
It’s hard to say what exactly it was that caught me about this book. It wasn’t overly suspenseful or graphic, the format wasn’t new, the characters were interesting but nothing I can pinpoint. If I had to pick something, I’d have to say the story itself just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Maybe it was the craziness of turning the girls into butterflies; maybe it was the mystery of Maya; or maybe it was “watching” the whole thing unravel piece by piece. I’m not sure but it is days later and I am still thinking about The Butterfly Garden.
This book should get 5 stars, it should. But I just can’t do it. The whole thing was masterful, except the ending; the ending just didn’t feel as polished (for lack of the right word) as the rest of the book. Don’t get me wrong, it was a satisfying ending but it just didn’t feel right to me. Because of that, I have to give it 4.5 stars.
That’s all for now!