Title: The Butterfly Garden
Author : Dot Hutchison
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 06/01/16
Dates Read: 02/16/18 – 02/22/18
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
* This review is specific to the Audible audiobook version of this title.
This audiobook has two narrators, a male and a female. The male is narrating the current story line, where two FBI agents are interviewing Maya, a victim of the Gardener–a man you quickly find out is a serial killer who dubs his girls as ‘butterflies’ and tattoos them as such. The female narrator is representing the voice of Maya, only in flashback form, as she recounts the memories of her life before the Garden and the atrocities that occurred inside the “Garden”.
The character development in this novel was very strong. I was so invested in the lives of not just our main character, but several others, including the Gardener and his family. The details of the novel are very character-centered and background-information-heavy, which can sometimes slow down the pace of a novel, but this one did not seem that way at all. I usually complete audiobooks in small sprints– small listening sessions during my drive to work, while getting ready in the morning, or cooking for my family. But this novel was a totally different story. I didn’t want to stop! I had a work-day last Friday (educator) and listened to this for almost 5 hours while I cleaned my classroom, filed papers, graded papers, etc.
One thing that you have to do before you enter into this novel is suspend a lot of belief. If you have ever watched Criminal Minds and seen some of the far-fetched but super interesting serial killers they portray, this novel is very similar. The ways in which the gardener both treated and killed his victims was… not on the realistic side of crime. And the almost-immediate development of Stockholm Syndrome in these girls was a little questionable… and frustrating at times. But neither of these things really took away from my enjoyment. It’s fiction and it’s creative–that’s enough for me!
As far as the audio version of this title goes… the male narrator was absolutely terrible. The way that he performed the female voice was ridiculous and almost degrading at times.. he made her sound very unlikable. The female narrator did a fantastic job in my opinion… the way they both presented her speech should have matched up a little better, or they should have allowed the female narrator to do ALL of the speech for Maya’s character.
My biggest issue with this novel was the ending… I felt like this was such a unique concept and intense read and honestly, the ending that I was predicting in my head was actually much more interesting than the actual ending. It felt a little rushed. There were so many great things that could have been done with the ending of this story and I just felt like it fell short of the rest of the novel’s intensity.
**This title is also available via an Amazon Unlimited subscription.