the butterfly garden by dot hutchison
published: june 1st 2016
genres & keywords: thriller, dark, mystery
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…
.:: RATING 4 STARS ::.
“Where are we?”
This book fucked me up. Take a look at me anytime while I was reading The Butterfly Garden and you’d find me like this: with a hand over my gaping mouth, eyes bugging out, and a greenish tint to my face. I’m still here like, what the shit did I just read?
Well let me tell you what I just read. A dark, twisted story about girls savaged by a delusional captor who *trigger warning* stamps, rapes, and then kills them (not spoilers). It’s sad, it’s sickening, and it’s utterly… captivating? Fascinating? Engrossing? Despite the horrors that occur, and there’s no shortage of them, I couldn’t tear my eyes away.
The author does an amazing job at storytelling. Not much was sugar-coated and you won’t find beautiful, flowery writing here. Instead, you’ll find a brutally honest account of the atrocities suffered my these girls. It’s still a story, though, and the author knows how to hook you. The narrator is one you can respect. She’s resilient and straightforward, a no-bullshit kind of person and yet still one that inspires sympathy and awe. She’s real and that’s more than I could ask for.
But my wings couldn’t move and I couldn’t fly, and I couldn’t even cry.
All that was left to me was the terror and the agony and the sorrow.
It begins right in the center. You don’t know anything that happened before the main narrator finds herself at the police station and you don’t know anything that’ll go on after. You’re just left plunge in and try to fit all the puzzle pieces best you can. Down the the last page, quite literally, the surprises don’t end.
I’m not sure if this is a story for everyone, and it’s not one I would say was pleasurable to read exactly, but if you like dark tales that’ll give you high blood pressure, then you’ve met your match. Highly addictive and intensely raw, it’s a tale I won’t be sure to forget anytime soon.
I thought how fucking unfair it was that he made us butterflies, of all things.
Real butterflies could fly away, out of reach.
The Gardener’s Butterflies could only ever fall, and that but rarely.