Book Review: THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN

Imagine a peaceful and serene garden, sheltered by big, green trees, colored by flowers, carpeted with moss and grass, home to a gentle stream to doze beside. Now imagine that garden encased in a giant dome, keeping everything inside it hidden from the outside world. Imagine instead of insects and birds, women are kept there, prisoner to The Gardener.                                                    

Welcome to The Butterfly Garden
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“The girls in the glass were all preserved at the peak of their beauty, the wings on their backs brilliant and bright against young, flawless skin.”

Dot Hutchison paints a beautifully tragic and terrifying thriller, from two different view points. Victor Hanoverian, an FBI Agent, engulfs himself in the case, getting short answers from Maya, one of the kidnapped girls. She is one from a collection of young women who are taken from their lives. They are raped and imprisoned in the Garden. Each girl is branded with an intricate tattoo of butterfly wings, matching the names The Gardener gives them. The Gardener doesn’t allow the girls to live past their 21st birthday. Instead, he preserves them, like a lepidopterist pins dead butterflies to a wall. The Gardener has his own ways of showing off his collection. And to whom does he show it off to? Well, he does have two sons.

However, no matter the grotesque situations the girls find them in, they fight back. Rather than sitting idly by, they do something to change their fates.

Throughout the story, Hutchison weaves the connections the girls have made with each other, the self-discoveries they experience, and the blurry lines of family love and doing the right thing. Switching back from the interrogation room and the Garden, Maya tells her story, albeit begrudgingly (she still has secrets of her own), an Agent Hanoverian tries to connect all the dots of the most gut-churning case of his career. Who are these women? Who is The Gardener?

Join Maya and the other girls in the Garden in a story so sick and twisted that you’ll find yourself feeling pity for a murderer, love for a confused son, and impatience with lawmen. There are moments that will make your skin crawl. You will want to finish this book in one sitting, chewing your nails the whole time.

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