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…
Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.
I feel I must start with a bit of a warning about this book. It has some disturbing content and may be a little bit unsettling for some readers. It will most definitely not be for everyone.
Aside from the blurb, I knew nothing at all about this book and hadn’t read anything by Dot Hutchinson before. After reading the book, this will very likely change.
The story is dark and twisted in a way I’ve not come across since reading Karin Slaughter’s Blindsighted. However I felt compelled to keep reading.
The story is told from two points of view. Firstly there is Maya, a former captive from the garden, who is retelling her story and refuses to be rushed. Secondly there are the FBI agents in charge of the case. The book alternates between past as Maya recounts her horrifying tale of captivity and the present as the FBI conduct their interview with her.
This type of storytelling worked really well within the book as it allows the reader time to process what had happened to the girls in the garden without becoming too overwhelming. In my opinion, it helped to add a little suspense to the story and kept you hanging on as each little mystery was revealed.
The character development is good. However, I found the overall storyline little lacking in places and the ending twist didn’t quite deliver the sharp intake of breath I expected after reading the rest of the book. Nevertheless I’m not going to let a slightly lacklustre ending spoil what was one of my favourite reads this year.
Title: The Butterfly Garden
Author: Dot Hutchison
Page Count: 288