The Butterfly Garden by Sophie Anderson

Published June 21st 2021 by Bookouture

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.

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Butterfly Garden is a story about Maggie Muir, a recluse and author, who has a brain tumour. Ter tumour is taking her eyesight, so she places an add in the local paper stating, “Eyes Wanted”. It is also the story of Erin Turner, a young woman who has just returned to Portheal. She had left home six months ago to follow her married lover to London and returned with her tail between her legs. No one will hire thie “homewrecker” so applies to Maggie’s ad, not knowing what it is all about. Maggie hires her to type up her latest manuscript as her sight will no longer allow her to read what she has written. Through Maggie’s manuscript form, alternating with conversations and Erin’s point of view, we learn about Maggie’s past and what she is dealing with in the present. These two characters form an unlikely pair and a deep and loyal friendship develops, as Maggie races to finish her story.

This was a story full of secrets, lies of omission and guilt. Maggie’s story is heartbreaking. She had so much sadness in her past and she was not able to forgive herself for her actions and at times inaction. She has some mental health problems along the way and was angry at her husband for not being there for her. Erin has her own guilt and is not sure what she really wants out of life. She eventually finds Maggie’s son, Lucas, and heads to Costa Rica to try and convince him to come and see Maggie before she dies. She learns more about herself on this trip, but is also able to make decisions about her life and what she wants to do when she returns home. There are not a lot of characters in this story, but the main ones are very well developed. Their relationships are not perfect, but I loved seeing how they changed and developed.

This is a 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 as well. So much happened in this story because of these secrets, and I was glad that things do work out in the end. It’s an intriguing book that will keep you hooked, with some very poignant and emotional parts that had me reaching for the tissues. The writing is descriptive and I could smell, hear and see what Maggie experienced in Costa Rica, I really want to visit now. I also liked that the chapters were not too long and it was easy to read just one more chapter before I had to do something else, like sleep. I really enjoyed this story, from cover to cover. This is a wonderful debut novel and I look forward to seeing what is next for Sophie Anderson. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

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About the Author: 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.