Book Review: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

{BOOK REVIEW}
Title: The Butterfly Garden
Author: @DotHutchison
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Length: 286 pages
Rating: 4.25 Stars

Synopsis

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding.

Grace Review

 

In many cultures, butterflies represent endurance, change, hope and life.  That is not this story.  This is one where a man takes the beauty of butterflies and captures it to extinguish all the hope and life it used to represent.

This story is told in the past and present, the past, from Maya’s POV, the present in third person.  Given that the narrator is in both timelines, there is at least hope for her.  In the present, she tells detectives the tale of how she ended up in the garden and what took place there.  In the past, we learn of the everyday horrors she faced at the hands of the Gardener.

It’s pretty clear early on what gets the Gardener excited.  It’s also clear, this man has a warped sense of right and wrong.  And how he only settled for perfection.  God forbid a girl cry too much or have a breakdown.  That usually marked the beginning of the end for them, and not in a HEA type of way.

While it was twisted and perverted, I liked the parts of the story that took place within the Garden.  Learning how the girls dealt with their new fate day to day, led primarily by Maya, was fascinating, in a creepy way of course.  I would have preferred that the story not flip back and forth so much from past to present.  I felt like it took away from the momentum of the story.  And any present scene just seemed boring in comparison, whereas the Garden was full of trauma, new life, and sadly, deaths.

Beautiful things are short-lived, he told me the first time we met.  He made sure of that, and then he strove to give his Butterflies a strange breed of immortality.

One of the most intriguing parts of the story was the dynamics between the Gardener and his sons, Avery (total psycho) and Desmond (who had potential, but fucked up).  It would have been great if one of the three male POVs was shared.  Maya showed you the side of the story that drew sympathy, it would have been interesting to see how twisted the men viewed things.

The one part of the story that bothered me was that the detectives were not very trusting of Maya, convinced that maybe she was involved in the Garden more than she admitted.  This mistrust is also alluded to in the synopsis.  When the truth came out, the secret seemed so small compared to the buildup.  So that twist, while a little surprising, fell flat for me.

This is a messed up story that gave me goosebumps at times, but didn’t get my heart racing.  If you are looking for something on the darker, creepier side, this story has those elements in spades and is worth checking out.

– Grace

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