Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to be included on the blog tour for this sweeping, delightful debut novel from Sophie Anderson. Do seek out the reviews from the other lovely book bloggers taking part.
About the book
I blamed my son for the death of my daughter…
When twenty-five-year-old Erin loses the man she loves, she flees London for Cornwall and takes a job at Hookes End, a huge house clinging precariously to the Cornish cliffs. The owner, frail reclusive novelist and butterfly enthusiast Maggie, has kept the curtains of her dusty house drawn for many years. But as she and Erin spend evenings together by the fireside, sharing stories of the past, Erin feels her shattered heart begin to heal. In return, Erin agrees to help Maggie find her long lost family before it is too late.
Years ago, Maggie’s son Lucas ran away to the other side of the world after the death of her daughter ripped the family apart. Maggie is desperate to see Lucas again – there is something she needs him to know.
Erin wants to help Maggie find peace, so she vows to track down her lost son. But when at last she finds Lucas, in a far- away place of searing heat and pearly sands, it becomes clear that he is hiding something too.
As Erin grows closer to Lucas and unravels the webs of deceit entangling mother and son, she learns about the terrible tragedy that changed their lives forever: the night when a little girl in a fairy nightdress went missing. But with Maggie’s time fast running out, is it too late for them to find the forgiveness they need to move on?
A heart-wrenching page-turner about a family ripped apart by guilt and lies. Set against the storms of the Cornish coast and silvery tropical sands of a distant paradise, The Butterfly Garden is a story of love, loss and letting go. Fans of Jojo Moyes, Harriet Evans and Lucinda Riley will be gripped.
What I thought
I loved this book from beginning to end. It’s written with quite short chapters which I like because it’s easy to spare another 5 minutes for just one more chapter. Erin is the main protagonist and there were times when I didn’t like her that much. She sometimes came across as quite self absorbed and perhaps a little judgemental but she’s young as well as an only child. This makes it so reflective of real life because as 25 year olds who haven’t seen that much of the world, we do tend to be quite selfish in our outlook on life.
Erin has returned to her family home in Cornwall after leaving for London to be closer to her artist boyfriend who just happens to also be a married man. Her parents begged her not to go but being a headstrong young woman she thought it was love and that the man of her dreams would eventually leave his wife for Erin.
After answering an advert for help required for a reclusive novelist living in a large crumbling house, Erin meets Maggie. At first she doesn’t know what to make of Maggie and her somewhat unkempt house. But she agrees to work for her and help her finish her memoir before she dies. Maggie has been diagnosed with a brain tumour and is gradually losing her sight, but is adamant that she must finish writing her story for her son to read. A son she hasn’t seen for over 30 years – Maggie needs to make amends and for him to know the truth before she dies.
After a serious fall out with her parents after she is given some shocking news, Erin moves out of her family home and goes to live with Maggie. From here and via the entries into Maggie’s memoir we learn of Maggie’s life. The deep sadness that she has lived with for so many years. We also learn of Maggie’s estranged son Lucas who left for Costa Rica aged 18 and who Maggie has neither seen nor heard from since. Eventually the story moves from Cornwall to Costa Rica when Erin travels there to find Lucas. So many beautiful descriptions here bring the place to life in the book, so much so that it made me want to go there.
It’s a wonderful sweeping story of grief, regrets and hidden secrets. It’s not just Maggie who’s been hiding the truth, Lucas and Erin’s parents have their own truths to tell too. It’s an intriguing book that will keep you hooked, with some very poignant and emotional parts that’ll have you reaching for the tissues. I loved it. A fabulous debut novel and I look forward to reading more from this author.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
Sophie Anderson enjoyed a career in TV production in London before working with her husband to set up an online software business where she wrote the marketing content. But neither scratched that creative itch to tell a story, so she enrolled on a writing course and wrote her first novel The Butterfly Garden. She lives in Sussex with her husband, four children, a cocker spaniel and two cats.
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