Review: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Print Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (June 1, 2016)

From 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...


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I finished this book today - and I'm still having a variety of conflicting emotions about it. 

On one hand I really enjoyed this novel. I finished it in just under two days being that I was unable to put it down. I enjoyed the way the story was written (going from present time to events that had unfolded previously). The author's style of writing gave the reader a break from the more horrific parts of the story in her choice to alternate between Maya's current situation where she is being interviewed by the FBI, and her story as she tells it to the detectives. You can see her life as it unfolds in the garden - in fact I think this would make a good movie. 

Yes, I will admit that this story was disturbing in that girls were able to be kidnapped, used and murdered and no one found them when these events took place over 30 years (not all those years are covered in this story). I think what I found most disturbing about this story wasn't the kidnapping, imprisonment or rape of these girls. In a twisted sort of way "The Gardner" seemed to love these girls, and could rationalize what he was doing. What I found most disturbing is when people in a position to help - who know what is happening - choose to look the other way and do nothing instead. 

It was obvious that the author put a lot of time and effort into these characters, as I not only felt as though I got to know the different "butterflies", but the other characters as well.  Each one that we are introduced to has a reason for acting the way that they do, and each one brings something unique to the overall story. 

I do think that the ending could have been "more" than what it was. Considering the buildup that this story had - and the incredible way that I was drawn in and made to care about these girls - the way the garden ended and the "surprise" twist thrown in - those things seemed rushed and honestly not fitting for the novel. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a well-written story (even if the subject matter is disturbing). I will definitely read more from this author!  

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

The Butterfly Garden is available from

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