Cover Image: The Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden

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Member Reviews

I loved this story.  I didn't want it to end.  I became so invested in all the characters of the book.  I wanted more and more!  What a lovely story of two women finding each other, and learning for each other's life experiences.
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This book is off to a promising start. It’s still on the go as other books have taken priority with time and interest at the moment but I’m looking forward to picking it back up and getting into the meat of the story.
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TRIGGER WARNING: this book deals with the aftermath of a child's death, and serious mental health issues
Erin returns home after her love affair with a married man collapses. She finds employment with a dying author Maggie Muir, typing up her memoirs into a novel, and discovers the truth behind Maggie's reclusive life. Is it too late for Maggie to reunite with her son Lucas, and can Erin heal her own heart along the way?
The Butterfly Garden is a book which is often heartbreaking but also strangely uplifting.
Each chapter begins with a section of the memoirs which are written in the first person so we get a direct insight into Maggie's life and emotional state. We discover that Maggie had a breakdown following the death of her daughter Skye and blamed her son Lucas. The overwhelming grief and Maggie's descent into despair is utterly tragic to read.
Meanwhile Erin's character arc begins with her feeling at her lowest. Her relationship has fallen apart and now she feels ashamed around her family and community but really this is her own guilt rather than their judgement. Helping Maggie gives her a purpose and in the second half of the book Erin searches for Lucas so that he can be reconcile with his mother.
There is also a secret in Erin's family which Maggie brings to light. I think there is an important message about the danger of keeping things hidden from our loved ones for our own wellbeing. Forgiveness is also a key theme as both families need to move forward from the revelations which develop over the book.
The Butterfly Garden is full of poignant moments and tragedy but also had the warmth of hope for the future. This is a debut novel and I look forward to reading more from Sophie Anderson in the future.
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EXCERPT: Her heart thumped harder, louder in her chest. It was Maggie lying in her daughter's bed, clutching Mr Gilbert, hoping her smell wouldn't fade. Maggie, drunk on the street, banging her front door down. Maggie, hitting her son and hating herself. Maggie who had lost her daughter. And blamed her son? What had happened? Where was he? And Richard? How had she ended up all alone, dying in this huge house on a Cornish hilltop with only Erin for company?

ABOUT 'THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN': When twenty-five-year-old Erin flees London for Cornwall and takes a job at Hookes End, a huge house clinging precariously to the Cornish cliffs, all she knows about it are the stories people tell. The owner, reclusive novelist and butterfly enthusiast Maggie, has kept the curtains of her dusty house drawn for many years. But now she is dying, and Erin, seeing the shadows that cross Maggie’s face, wants to help in any way she can.

Years ago, Maggie’s only son Lucas ran away to the other side of the world and the searing heat of the Costa Rican jungle. Maggie is desperate to see Lucas again – there is something she needs him to know.

Erin wants to help Maggie find peace. But when she travels to the warm white sands and tropical butterfly gardens of Costa Rica to find Lucas, it becomes very clear that he is hiding something too.

As Erin unravels the webs of deceit entangling mother and son, she learns about the terrible tragedy that changed their lives forever: the night when a little girl in a fairy nightdress went missing. But with Maggie’s time fast running out, is it too late for them to find the forgiveness they need to move on?

MY THOUGHTS: I love stories about families, secrets, and relationships, and The Butterfly Garden ticks all the boxes.

Although the plot focuses mainly on Erin, home with her tail between her legs after her relationship with her married lover failed, and Maggie, the elderly recluse with terminal cancer who employs Erin to help finish the book she is writing, it also encompasses Erin's parents, who are hiding a secret of their own, and Maggie's son Lucas, who has exiled himself in Costa Rica, guarding his own secret. An old friend of Maggie's, Fred, also appears and is a stabilizing influence.

The Butterfly Garden is a beautifully crafted story that certainly doesn't read like a debut novel. The characters are well rounded and delightfully human. Maggie, although nearly blind and dying, is not above being manipulative in order to get what she wants. Erin, who is feeling more than a little lost, and who is feeling betrayed both by her parents and her lover, starts out as an easy mark, but slowly the two women develop a mutual liking and respect.

The two separate storylines of Maggie's secret, and the secret that Erin's parents have kept works well. Their secrets are very different, but equally heartbreaking.

This is a touching and unpredictable story, one that surprised and delighted me. I will definitely be at the front of the line for this author's next novel, due to be published in 2022.


#TheButterflyGarden #NetGalley

I: @sophieandersonfiction @bookouture

T: @MSophieanderson @Bookouture

#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #mystery #sliceoflife

THE AUTHOR: Sophie Anderson is an author of contemporary women's fiction. She writes emotional stories about families and their secrets, friendship, forgiveness and personal growth. Her debut novel 'The Butterfly Garden' will be released on June 21st 2021 and she is currently writing her second novel which will be out early 2022. Sophie lives in East Sussex with her husband, four children and several animals. When she is not writing or ferrying her children around the countryside she enjoys travelling, delicious food, yoga, playing the piano, walking in the South Downs, binging on box sets and curling up with a good book! (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Butterfly Garden by Sophie Anderson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publishing house and the author for the opportunity to read an advance reader copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

Such a wonderful book, I devoured it in a weekend.  Maggie Muir is a recluse who lives alone in a secluded house writing mystery novels under a pen name. Maggie Muir is dying, she has a tumour that is causing her to lose her sight and she cannot finish her most important novel, the story of her life. She places an ad and hires Erin, a girl who has come home with her tail between her legs,  after a disgraceful affair with a painter leaves  her heartbroken and alone.  Dreading life back home, she thinks this job is perfect as she can escape to Maggie’s house away from everyone’s prying eyes. The relationship that develops between Maggie and Erin is a slow one that ends in them being closer as Erin realizes the story she is typing up for Maggie is her life story. 

I loved the way this book was written and the storyline was great. It shows that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that Maggie and Erin were more similar than they thought. That everyone makes mistakes but it’s never too late to admit to them and apologize.

A story of secrets and loss of love and forgiveness and an unlikely friendship that is heartwarming. Highly recommended, lovely book.
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Great story and I loved the relationship that formed between Maggie and Erin and how the family secrets started to come out including those of Erin's own family.   The two settings of Cornwall and Costa Rica were also great in their contrast to each other, especially as I love Cornwall and Costa Rica is on my bucket list.   Definitely recommended
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The Butterfly Garden is a story about Maggie Muir, a recluse and author, who has a brain tumour. Ter tumour is taking her eyesight, so she places an add in the local paper stating, "Eyes Wanted". It is also the story of Erin Turner, a young woman who has just returned to Portheal. She had left home six months ago to follow her married lover to London and returned with her tail between her legs. No one will hire thie "homewrecker" so applies to Maggie's ad, not knowing what it is all about. Maggie hires her to type up her latest manuscript as her sight will no longer allow her to read what she has written. Through Maggie's manuscript form, alternating with conversations and Erin's point of view, we learn about Maggie's past and what she is dealing with in the present. These two characters form an unlikely pair and a deep and loyal friendship develops, as Maggie races to finish her story.

This was a story full of secrets, lies of omission and guilt. Maggie's story is heartbreaking. She had so much sadness in her past and she was not able to forgive herself for her actions and at times inaction. She has some mental health problems along the way and was angry at her husband for not being there for her. Erin has her own guilt and is not sure what she really wants out of life. She eventually finds Maggie's son, Lucas, and heads to Costa Rica to try and convince him to come and see Maggie before she dies. She learns more about herself on this trip, but is also able to make decisions about her life and what she wants to do when she returns home. There are not a lot of characters in this story, but the main ones are very well developed. Their relationships are not perfect, but I loved seeing how they changed and developed.

This is a story of grief, regrets and hidden secrets. It’s not just Maggie who’s been hiding the truth, Lucas and Erin’s parents have their own truths to tell as well. So much happened in this story because of these secrets, and I was glad that things do work out in the end. It’s an intriguing book that will keep you hooked, with some very poignant and emotional parts that had me reaching for the tissues. The writing is descriptive and I could smell, hear and see what Maggie experienced in Costa Rica, I really want to visit now. I also liked that the chapters were not too long and it was easy to read just one more chapter before I had to do something else, like sleep. I really enjoyed this story, from cover to cover. This is a wonderful debut novel and I look forward to seeing what is next for Sophie Anderson.
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Erin is a young woman who comes back home to lick her wounds after a relationship gone wrong. The small village she is from are hardly welcoming and her parents are awkward around her as well, so she finds herself a job working for Maggie, who needs someone to type up her notes. Erin gets very involved with Maggie and her story, to the point where she decides to go to Costa Rica to track down Maggie's son. 

This is definitely a bit of an emotional tale - Maggie is dying and she doesn't want to die without revealing how she feels to her estranged son. Erin is hardly in a good place emotionally speaking either, so these two lost and damaged souls help each other out. What Erin doesn't know is that her parents also have been keeping secrets from her. 

Family relationships can be tricky, that is true, and the author covers some thorny subjects very well in this book. The take-home message I got was that it is important to communicate, properly, with your loved ones, before it is too late.

4.5 stars from me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture.
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Lansdown Place 1986 to Porteal 2017 is how readers will travel. I had to think about who was the narrator in 1986, so I’ll tell you now, that it is Maggie. Carrying on though, it jumps to 2017 and readers meet Erin and Mrs Muir (Maggie). Maggie is a recluse and the descriptions sho this well. All is not lost. My attention is then fully in and I want to read on. The writing is beautiful and somehow with heightened senses of how things sound, look, smell etc, that draws you in further, as does the mysteriously hidden away – Maggie Muir. I was intrigued to find out more and more as the story went on and whole pictures emerged in writing. So, what started out as frustrating, quickly evaporated.

The year 1986 is where Lucas is also met, in manuscript/diary form, aged 5 and likes Gerald Durrell’s Zoo in Jersey, which sounds fun! It’s like a bit of an insight into life before Maggie was dying and also part of her doing as she was asked by Dr Sham, who she saw at this time. Between this time frame, you’ve got 1986 being quite illuminating and yet the start of something quite claustrophobic, which becomes more so in 2017, with Maggie being as reclusive as she is. It has believability and so much sadness, especially for Maggie. It shows how life can seem one way, or assumed, such as her being a really successful writer, but underneath, what might have provided a fabulous life, she is in reality she has so many issues, and now she is dying, you know the inevitable will happen, but there is so much unfinished business in her life, that is uncovered in the book, such as more about Lucas and what happened.

There is poignancy in the use of butterflies and why they aren’t fluttering around. It is often clever how butterflies are used in stories and here it is too, as there is the use of the actual butterfly, which Maggie and in turn, Erin, has an interest in and a place called The Butterfly Garden, but there is also the significance within the symbolism of her life as everything has almost grinded to a halt, except she is writing this manuscript/diary. Yet, at some point there was, like the butterfly, a hub of activity at some point as she wrote detective novels. 

Erin has a romance, burning brightly with Simon, which gives her a life outside Maggie’s life and it is also heartwarming to see unfold. Erin isn’t without her own concerns in life as she worries about her brother who has Downs Syndrome and where he may be.

Lies and coverups are later revealed and explosive emotions come to the fore. It is however, heartwarming to see the development of the relationship between Maggie and Erin, an element of trust emerges, that you can’t help but smile at. It also drives the story further forwards, until the end, which at the start you know how it will end, but it’s the journey to there that matters and will seep into your heart and emotions.
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This book was just okay for me. I enjoyed it but it didn't capture me like it might capture some readers. This usually isn't my genre of choice but I'm trying to branch out more this year so it's been kinda hit and miss. For the most part this book was really good, There were just some slower pacing in parts that made it hard for me to keep reading. But take into consideration I'm usually a fast paced thriller reader. For readers of this genre you will love it because it really is a sweet book!
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Such a beautifully written book.  I really enjoyed the characters and story.  I honestly didn't want it to end, I want to know the future of Erin and Lucas.
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Heart-wrenching, beautiful friendships, dark family secrets and dreamy settings. The Butterfly Garden has it all.

When things go wrong with her relationship with a married man, Erin flees back home to her mum and dad in Cornwall. Now she’s the talk of the village with no job to her name. But she sees an advert for “eyes wanted” from recluse Maggie, an elderly detective novelist and butterfly enthusiast who is slowly going blind from her brain tumor. With no other job options coming her way she takes up the post of helping, Maggie with her latest novel.

The novel that Erin is typing up for Maggie is not her usual type of book. It’s Maggie’s life. Erin learns of the dark family secrets and why Maggie is not in contact with her long-lost son Lucas. Who now lives in Costa Rica.

Maggie wants to make amends with Lucas before she dies, and Erin is the one to help her.

Wonderfully written, and touching on difficult subjects the author draws you in emotionally. It’s brilliant and I can’t wait to read another of Sophie’s books!

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The Butterfly Garden is all about family, love, loss, forgiveness and new beginnings. I was hooked right from the beginning not only from the story but the authors way with words  and descriptions. I’ve never been to Costa Rica but the author took me right into the tropical jungle and now I want to go! Such a delightful read! 
Erin takes a job at Hookes End working for a very quiet and recluse women named Maggie. It’s very clear Maggie is holding onto pain from her past and the whole town is whispering about what happened. Maggie is dying so time is running out to get her the answers she needs. Maggie’s son Lucas fled to a remote jungle in Costa Rica to escape the secrets of his sister’s disappearance, but as Erin starts to uncover the truth she finds out both mother and son have secrets. With time running out can Maggie get her answers snd heal her relationship with her son? Erin will do everything she can to help mother and son get answers and closure
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After a relationship has gone wrong, Erin has returned to Cornwall to live with her parents but in need of money, Erin takes up employment with Maggie, a reclusive writer who lives in a remote house  on the edge of the cliffs. Maggie's health is fast deteriorating and she desperately needs Erin's help to finish a very poignant story about a family tragedy which has been hidden away for far too long. 

What then follows is an emotional story which looks, not only at uncovering secrets in Maggie's life but also starts to reveal snippets of information about Erin and her sometimes stifling relationship with her parents. The Butterfly Garden has a theme of forgiveness running through the narrative as not only does Maggie's story dwell on the sins of the past but also Erin's own family have kept things hidden and it is these poignant reminders which act as a focus for what is eventually revealed. 

The Butterfly Garden is a well written and poignant family drama which highlights the destructive nature of keeping secrets hidden for far too long and even though there are some quite emotional issues, the author handles these with compassion, and as the story concludes there is a definite sense of closure.
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This is a new author for me. I thought The Butterfly Garden was excellent. I enjoyed the way the author explores the relationship between Maggie and Erin as Erin ghost writes for Maggie and family secrets and tragedy is revealed. I got swept up in the book after a few pages and didn’t want to stop reading. I found the book incredibly sad at times. I really enjoyed this.
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When Erin looses the man she loves, she leaves London and goes to Cornwall where she takes a job at Hookes End.  Maggie owns the house, is very frail, and has been living a very reclusive life.  She keeps to herself, and is a butterfly enthusiast.  Erin and Maggie quickly become friends, and as they are trading stories of their past, they soon realize the reason they met, to help each other get over past hurts.  Maggie’s son Lucas ran away many years ago after Maggie blamed him for the death of his sister.  Maggie is desperate to see Lucas.  Erin, wants to give Maggie the peace that she deserves, and so she leaves Cornwall and travels to Costa Rica to see if she can find Lucas.  Erin is such a peacemaker, and makes it her mission to help Maggie and Lucas heal as a family.  The plot twists and turns will keep you flipping through the pages at a rapid pace.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story, the well developed characters and the vivid details of Cornwall and Costa Rica.  I loved learning new facts about butterflies.  What a wonderfully written story, this book hits all the emotions and definitely pulls at the heartstrings in a massive way.  

Thank you Sophie Anderson for such a wonderful story.  This story had all the feels of love, family, friendship, family secrets and forgiveness.  I highly recommend this book.
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As soon as I read the description for this book I knew it would be a captivating read, and it certainly did not disappoint.

At the age of 25, Erin leaves her life in London behind after losing the man she loves, and embarks on a journey to start what she hopes to be a new, much happier life for herself in Cornwall. After finding herself a job at Hookes End, a beautiful – and extremely large – house, she gets to know the owner of the property Maggie. Despite her rather reclusive way of life, Erin and Maggie soon become confidents for one another.

As Erin learns more about Maggie and the reasons as to why she lives in such a manner, she takes it upon herself to help her reconnect with the son who left home without a word a year ago, in the hope of repairing the rift that has been created between the family following the tragic death of Maggie’s daughter.

With Lucas’ return comes many hidden secrets and layers of deceit that surround both Maggie and Lucas. It is clear from early on within this book that both mother and son are harbouring their own troubling secrets and worries, and the journey in which they take to finally allowing themselves freedom from these burdens is certainly an emotional one, but one you find truly reigniting your sense of hope and forgiveness too.

I loved how the characters within this novel interact with one another, from the bond Erin and Maggie form, to the romantically charged moments between Erin and Lucas, this story certainly offers the reader a vast array of perspectives and an in depth look into the workings of these very different relationships. Each of the characters are realistic and often relatable at times too, something which really allows you to connect with them on some level.

The storyline flows beautifully throughout, and is laced with the perfect amounts of romance, intrigue and suspense as the story begins to unfold. Sophie Anderson has produced a fascinating story that I found almost impossible to part with.
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This is a debut novel for Sophie Anderson and I wasn't disappointed.

We are introduced to Maggie who is a recluse and an author and her daughter Erin.

I was hooked from the first page and was immersed in the story the while time. I read this in one sitting and will definitely read more from this author in the future.
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Secrets and pain go hand in hand in this emotional story by debut author Sophie Anderson. Erin's troubled life grows even more disconcerting when she takes on a job helping novelist and butterfly enthusiast  Maggie write her last book. Maggie is dying from a brain tumor and this book that Erin is working on is like none other like Maggie had ever written.

Maggie had been living the life of a recluse while penning mystery novels. Erin is taking a risk heading to the house in the Cornish cliffs, but she takes on the job anyway. The more time Erin spends with Maggie, the more drawn in she becomes. Maggie has one final wish. She wants to see her son Lucas one more time. Lucas left home at the age of eighteen after a tragedy, and has taken on the life a a butteerfly expert deep in the heart of the Costa Rican jungle. Maggie may be dictating words to Erin, even recalling truly tragic experiences from her past, but what she wants most is to talk to Lucas just one more time.

Erin does make the trip. She finds beauty and peace unlike anything she'd eveer known. What is more is she sees Lucas and the two share a connection, despite their twenty-year age difference. But, that is not what is important to Erin. What is most important is fulfilling Maggie's wishes. 

Secrets can destroy families. That fact is driven home in this compelling story. This feeds into grief and guilt and can truly remove all hope. This story put a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Along the way Erin learns secrets about her own life. How she deals with these secrets is a true test of her character. This book made me think about what could have happened and how things were left as this touching story came to a close.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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Family drama is great when it isn’t your own. And in The Butterfly Garden, we have double the drama as we delve into both Erin’s and Maggie’s family secrets.

I will admit that the blurb does give away a good chunk of what happens in the book, although it doesn’t reveal the secrets. However, The Butterfly Garden is more than just drama. It is about unlikely friendships and coming together when it is needed the most.

Maggie was likable at times but frustrating at others, yet I felt a connection to her. She reminded me of a friendship I had with a much older women. They weren’t alike personality wise but it reminded me of a nice period of my life and the value of friendships with all kinds of people.

I also enjoyed seeing Erin develop as a character. When she first meet her she is young, making lots of mistakes, but she grows into a strong woman who learns how to deal with her feelings and emotions.

The Butterfly Garden is emotional at times but also leaves you with a warm feeling in your tummy. However, it wasn’t as gripping as I thought it would be, at least in terms of the family secrets. Still, an enjoyable read and one to add to your list.
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