Review: The Butterfly Garden – Dot Hutchison

My rating: 5/5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The FBI discover a garden filled with “butterflies”.  These “butterflies” are all girls that have been kidnapped and beautifully tattooed by the Gardener.  The FBI agents are tasked with piecing together what happened to these girls and what happened within the garden.  One of their witnesses is Maya who reveals her story to the agents, but they are sure she is hiding something from them. Can she be trusted?

My thoughts

This book is truly like no other I have read.  From the moment I bought it on a whim on my New York trip I almost couldn’t wait to get on to the plane to read it.  From just reading the synopsis I was drawn in and couldn’t wait to uncover what had happened in this mysterious garden.

The plot was enthralling from start to finish, I was honestly gripped.  The use of narration was completely brilliant, switching between the past, the present FBI interview and her time in the garden flawlessly but still creating more questions.  As Maya recounts her story it is clear that she is keeping something from the agents and this small element of mistrust really kept me on my toes, reminding me constantly that she may not be a reliable narrator.

The characterisation throughout this novel is second to none.  Dot Hutchison had such a beautiful way of creating her characters, making every single one count.  I can’t say that a single character was wasted, they were all so complex and had such purpose and individuality.  All of the “butterflies” that were met throughout the novel were expertly layered and thought-provoking.  The characterisation alone would award this book 5 stars in my opinion.

However, if I was to have one criticism of the book, it would be that there was never a clear description of how the garden looked.  Different elements and parts of the garden were described with such skill, yet I could never have a good picture in my head of how the garden looked as a whole.  This wasn’t a problem while reading the book, just something looking back on that wasn’t consistent for me, I think every time it was mentioned I had a different image in my head.

There is so much more I could say about this book but in the interest of not revealing anything I can’t say too much.  This book is filled with expertly navigated twists and turns and I honestly couldn’t put it down.

This chilling mystery/thriller will honestly stay with you for a long time after reading it.  If you are looking for a fast-paced page-turner I would definitely recommend this book for you.  Even if this genre isn’t usually for you I would still say that this book is worth a read as it is such a refreshing take on a mystery/thriller without being so terrifying you can’t sleep!

Do you have a suggestion for the next book to add to my bookshelf? Let me know in comments.

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