The Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden

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 discove...

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Title:The Butterfly Garden
Author:Dot Hutchison
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Butterfly Garden Reviews

  • Emily May

    was a book I knew nothing about. I haven't been highly anticipating it for months and it only made it on to my "to read" shelf a few days ago. But it popped up in my GR feed and everything about it called to me. It exuded a

    that drew me in. It promised a story of beauty and horror. And my instincts were right -

    was a book I knew nothing about. I haven't been highly anticipating it for months and it only made it on to my "to read" shelf a few days ago. But it popped up in my GR feed and everything about it called to me. It exuded a

    that drew me in. It promised a story of beauty and horror. And my instincts were right -

    .

    Oh, where to start with this book.

    It's set in the present with two FBI agents trying to uncover the truth behind the crime scene they have just discovered. What they know is that they have found "The Garden", a prison where the psychopath known as "The Gardener" has kept young women trapped for decades. He calls them "Butterflies", tattooing wings on their backs before renaming them, raping them and letting his violent son terrorize them.

    Yes, they know this. We know this. But it is the witness they are interviewing - known only as Maya - who really knows what it was like behind the garden walls. The horrors that occurred. The truth behind what happens to the girls when they turn twenty-one.

    . As she recounts her tale of life as a captive, it becomes clear that she is hiding something, and the agents begin to question what part Maya played in these crimes.

    It is a

    , and yet it is so beautifully told. The perfect balance of ugliness and beauty.

    And Maya is the perfect narrator. Mysterious, cynical, sympathetic. Full of secrets that keep us reading, but likable enough for us to be pulled along for the ride on an emotional level too. The author doesn't shy away from grotesque details, but it is so

    , each character so well-crafted, that it never feels gratuitous or deliberately sensational.

    But, perhaps the thing that makes

    stand out so much from other thrillers that contain tension, mystery and psychopaths, is the relationship between the young women. The intricate friendships and different personalities. There are no throwaway characters and the author portrays each victim as an important individual in her own right.

    The depth of the characterization is fascinating. The straight-talking, spirited Bliss who never knows when to shut her mouth. Zara the bitch who is mean to everyone and yet still claims our affection in the end. Lyonette who is the mother hen to the other girls. And aging Lorraine who is so far gone that she craves love and approval from the Gardener.

    .

    is somehow both a horrifying thriller and the tale of the friendships and rivalries between young women. It's a strange combination that leaves the reader with a bittersweet aftertaste. I doubt I will ever forget it.

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  • Chelsea Humphrey

    I feel confident stating that this book will not be for everyone; I even feel fairly confident that this book won’t be for most people. It is dark, graphic, twisted, and touches on almost every taboo subject I can think of. Not since I read Karin Slaughter’s

    last year has a book disturbed me so completely.So why in the world would anyone want to read this book might you ask? This was the most uniquely crafted story I think I have ever read. Honestly, if I had based my review on the

    I feel confident stating that this book will not be for everyone; I even feel fairly confident that this book won’t be for most people. It is dark, graphic, twisted, and touches on almost every taboo subject I can think of. Not since I read Karin Slaughter’s

    last year has a book disturbed me so completely.So why in the world would anyone want to read this book might you ask? This was the most uniquely crafted story I think I have ever read. Honestly, if I had based my review on the first 25% of the book it would have been a 5 STAR read for me, no brainer. It completely sucked me in and gripped me; as much as I wanted to put this book down at times, I just couldn’t. I would recommend taking a long, hard look at how sensitive a human being you are before picking this one up, but if this type of dark book is your read, I think you’ll be highly impressed.

    Like I stated earlier, the format in which this book is told is one of it’s strongest attributes. Here we have a former captive and victim of The Butterfly Garden in the care of the FBI. We know that somehow The Garden has been raided and emptied; some of the “butterflies” are dead and some are recovering in the hospital. What we don’t know is how our characters were brought to that point, which is told in three separate acts. There are breaks that allow for the jumping back and forth in time; at times we are in the present while “Maya” is talking with the agents in charge and there are also times where she has gone back to memories that she is relaying to bring us up to speed on what these poor girls have gone through. The time jumps and POV changes were not difficult to follow at all and only added intrigue into the story; many times in a strange, twisted way it left me craving more.

    I feel Like I could write a 10 page review on this book, but it would be too spoilery and ruin everything for the reader. This is one of those books (gosh, do I only read books like this? I feel like I have this sentence somewhere in every review!) that you don’t want to know all the twists and dark surprises ahead of time; a good bit of the books appeal is in the grotesque shock. Part of the reason I didn’t give this a full 5 stars was due to the fact that I felt the first 25% of the book was punch after punch of nasty, scary, twisted, disturbing revelation about The Garden, and after that it just sort of tapered off. Sure, it held my attention throughout the entire book, but it felt to me as though it would have been more effective to have spaced out some of that terrifying content in a more even pace. There was an extremely disturbing account nearing the end involving a child which is a major trigger for lots of people, so there’s your fair warning.

    I definitely felt the author did a fine job of developing her characters; I felt apprehensive once I’d finished the book because I was worried about leaving these characters behind, almost like they wouldn’t be ok on their own without my watching over them to recover from The Garden, which I think is remarkable for a book under 300 pages. It felt so odd to be reading a book about abuse, kidnapping, and murder where I felt so disgusted but also intrigued by the bond these girls had with each other and how, while horribly wronged in most ways, these girls seemed treated as princesses in others. It really made me sit back and think about how many similar scenarios there have been in real life kidnapping/abuse cases.

    The other reason that I didn’t give this 5 STARS was the ending. Dear God, you gave me this whole fantastic book and ended it like that? I completely respect that the author was trying to whip out an unexpected twist at the end, but it just didn’t make sense. I kept scratching my head at her explanation of some things and it was like drinking a fine, expensive wine with a burger from McDonald’s. What. The. Heck. Other than that, this book was severely addicting and definitely more shocking than most I’ve read, which really says a lot because I read a lot of twisted crap. If you feel you can stomach it, this book is definitely recommended! I’m interested to see where this author goes with her next story.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    Suppose you woke up and wasn't at home? You are in a very strange new place. You are disoriented from being drugged and then a girl with a huge butterfly tattoo on her back tells you that this is your new home. A garden that is overseen by The Gardener. The Gardener has chosen you to be one of his "Butterflies."

    Before we go farther let's discuss what exactly that means. The Gardener is a sick, sick man. He captures women and brings them to this garden so that he has his own little weird harem. H

    Suppose you woke up and wasn't at home? You are in a very strange new place. You are disoriented from being drugged and then a girl with a huge butterfly tattoo on her back tells you that this is your new home. A garden that is overseen by The Gardener. The Gardener has chosen you to be one of his "Butterflies."

    Before we go farther let's discuss what exactly that means. The Gardener is a sick, sick man. He captures women and brings them to this garden so that he has his own little weird harem. He rapes them whenever he feels like it, tattoos their backs as another way of making them his, oh and as an added bonus? If they piss him off, get pregnant, turn the age 21 or any other multitude of sins...he kills them and places them is a resin case so that he can still admire his butterfly collection.

    Now the FBI has came in and stomped his little dream life. The story is told by one of the "Butterflies" as she is being interrogated about the whole shebang. The girl Maya grew up pretty rough so the FBI agents aren't exactly sure how much truth they are getting from her especially as she seems to like provoking one of them. She does tell her story though and this part of the book is fascinating.

    Her voice tells her story even before the garden and I became attached to her character. The author makes you become attached to all of these girls and their stories. Even my cold heart hurt at some of their fates.

    Then the Gardener's two sons get involved with play time. One is a nutjob and one is a bit more sensitive. I thought they both were jerks and had a hard time finding any belief in the good one especially after the way he wanted to be daddy's boy.

    Daddy is a turd.

    There is soooo much to discuss in this book but I don't want to spoil. It's very readable since I've been book slumping and haven't wanted to read a thing for weeks. I finished this in almost one sitting.

    But.

    There were some things that just didn't add up. I usually don't post any spoilers for books intentionally but this one is driving me batty. I wanted to give this sucker all five stars just because it made my dark heart beat faster..but some funky stuff happened.

    Don't hit the spoiler thingie if you are going to whine about me spoiling.

    I want people to read this one and discuss..because I'm frustrated and have some blue balls! (That does NOT mean I want trolls to come here and tell me how stupid I am.)

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  • Lola  Reviewer

    Hallelujah! I’m done! I’m done!

    I finally finished reading this book. Finally.

    I thought it would never ever ever end.

    First things first. The author does create an original story with a one-of-a-kind world-building and type of narration.

    I’ll let that sink in, because it’s true and not to be overlooked.

    AND. The beginning and ending are extremely thrilling. This author sure knows how to wrap up a story. I was especially happy to have all of my questions (or so) answered. We still don’t know what w

    Hallelujah! I’m done! I’m done!

    I finally finished reading this book. Finally.

    I thought it would never ever ever end.

    First things first. The author does create an original story with a one-of-a-kind world-building and type of narration.

    I’ll let that sink in, because it’s true and not to be overlooked.

    AND. The beginning and ending are extremely thrilling. This author sure knows how to wrap up a story. I was especially happy to have all of my questions (or so) answered. We still don’t know what will happen with some characters, but we can just assume, and that’s okay-ish with me.

    BUT. My problem was with everything in between the beginning and ending.

    You have no idea how painfully slow this book is. Who said this was a thriller? Who? Who? I want names. Right now.

    There is little that will thrill you except for, like I said, the beginning with its multiple revelations and ending for similar reasons.

    But you know what really happens in this book? We get to know people. A lot. Girl after girl. I’m probably shaking my brain out of its resting place wondering why the hell did the author not provide a glossary with the names. After a while of getting to know kidnapped girl after kidnapped girl, 1) I didn’t care about them anymore and 2) I lost track of who was supposed to be who (except for the main ones).

    The thing is, I didn’t care about personally knowing kidnapped girls! I didn’t care about why they died or why they lived! I just wanted them all to get the hell out of that monstrous place!

    Sigh. I guess you could say that I didn’t like the execution.

    And I’m sorry but Desmond never warmed up to me, so I don’t see how he could have warmed up to Maya.

    Anyway, my rant is over. I wish I had known this was going to be so slow and uneventful (unless you call getting to know person after person eventful) and repetitive.

    I never would have read this if I had known.

    Just ugh.

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  • Leah Bayer

    This is the stupidest goddamn book. If you can suspend every inch of disbelief in your body and go into

    accepting that it's in some kind of alternate fantasy world where women lack free will of any kind then maybe it's an okay book. Let's take a brief quiz to see how you'd do!

    You wake up in a garden prison constructed by a madman who kidnapped you and is going to kill you on your 21st birthday. Do you (a) try to escape or (b) passively accept your fate and go make ~best frie

    This is the stupidest goddamn book. If you can suspend every inch of disbelief in your body and go into

    accepting that it's in some kind of alternate fantasy world where women lack free will of any kind then maybe it's an okay book. Let's take a brief quiz to see how you'd do!

    You wake up in a garden prison constructed by a madman who kidnapped you and is going to kill you on your 21st birthday. Do you (a) try to escape or (b) passively accept your fate and go make ~best friends~ with your fellow captives.

    You realize that your captor is middle-aged, never brings any weapons into the Garden, and is outnumbered 21 to 1 by young, strong women. Do you (a) organize the girls and fight back or (b) throw tea parties and perform plays for him.

    Your captor provides you with tools that could be used as weapons--scissors and sculpting tools. Do you (a) attack him with them or (b) use them for your super cute embroidery.

    You are a Butterfly who has escaped from the Garden. Do you (a) immediately go to the police and free your fellow Butterflies from rape, torture, and certain death or (b) just go back to your normal-ass life.

    You are the Gardener. Your son is a deranged psychopath. You are convinced you "love" your Butterflies and never want to hurt them. Your son wants to torture them to death, and you do not approve of this. Do you (a) prevent him from visiting your Garden or (b) build him a fucking torture playroom.

    Your husband builds a giant fucking greenhouse in your backyard, is gone for several hours a day doing god knows what in there, seems to need an endless supply of formaldehyde and resin, and is obviously cheating on you. Do you (a) get the fuck into this mystery garden and find out wtf is going on or (b) just ignore it and live your stupid rich life.

    You are a nice, normal kid. Your brother is a psychopath. You find out that your dad is kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering very young girls, and your brother is in on it. Do you (a) go to the police immediately or (b) preserve your family name and just chill with these poor victims like it's a giant sleepover.

    You are a girl in the garden. The Gardener's nice, normal son somehow gets into your prison. Do you (a) immediately tell him what is happening and beg for help or (b) willingly sleep with him and then play some sweet piano tunes together.

    You're a detective who has been tipped off to kidnapped girls possibly being in a strange, giant greenhouse on some secretive rich dude's property. Do you (a) do everything you can to investigate this or (b) look around for 5 minutes, shrug, and give up.

    If you picked (a) then congratulations, you're a real human! If you picked even one (b) you might want to consider that you are possibly a character in this stupid-ass book who has the intelligence of a concussed donkey.

    Seriously, literally everything in this book is stupid. Nothing makes sense. Not ONE GIRL out of OVER A HUNDRED ever tried to fight back against the Gardener. Not. One. Girl. They all, like, get Stockholm Syndrome in 2 fucking days?? They're so stupid not one of them tries to do anything about their situation? It makes literally no sense.

    The characters are thinly constructed and tropey. The plot is full of so many holes it's practically swiss cheese. The "twist" actually made me laugh out loud it's so bad. It's going for shock value but ends up being a stupid head-stratcher instead of an "oh my god I can't believe the author came up with something this twisted!!!!" type scenario that they obviously want. It's not disturbing. It's not upsetting. It's fucking stupid and I really, really hated it. Just why.

    [arc provided by netgalley in exchange for an honest review]

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