In a beautiful garden, luscious flowers grow and a man, known as the Gardener, tends to his precious “butterflies”; young women who have been kidnapped and tattooed to display intricate and exotic wings. These women are captured and preserved by the Gardner until their twenty-first birthday when they are “preserved” for the Gardener to enjoy forever. After the garden is discovered, a survivor, known as Maya, is brought in for questioning. As she explains the Butterfly Garden, detectives are forced to hear the horrors and to question her involvement….what could Maya be hiding?
The Butterfly Garden, the completely twisted thriller by Dot Hutchison, had all of the components that I love in a thriller. Creepy plot? Check. Psychopath? Check. Twists and turns? Check, check. Captivating narrative? Check. This novel was dark, graphic and completely messed up. I was completely consumed through the first 250 pages of this book.
The premise of the novel is completely original; it opens immediately after the discovery of “the garden” and Maya is brought in, by detectives in charge, for questioning in relation to the kidnappings and captivity of the girls. The novel (mostly narrated by Maya) flashes between the present and the past, as Maya delves into her initial kidnapping, settling into to the garden and the eventual explanations of what happened there. I was HOOKED by this narrative style; I needed to know everything about this garden and what happened there. Hutchison does an awesome job at setting the stage and allowing the reader bits of information that made me NEED to read more.
The characters were well developed and easy to connect with; I found myself genuinely caring for the girls in the garden and worrying for their plights. I also loved the familial twists; I won’t say anything more (as to avoid spoilers) but Hutchison does an amazing job at getting the reader to become immersed in the story and builds a seriously complex plot with complex characters. Throughout my reading, I kept imagining this book as a film adaptation; it really read like one. It had a Silence of the Lambs vibe; that sort of ominous creepiness.
Now down to the nitty gritty, if my review were based on the first 90% of the book, this would have been, hands down, a five-star rating from me. But the ending fell completely flat for me. I hated it. I hated the random and unnecessary twist. I hated how fast it ended. I don’t really know what I would have been happy with, but I know that I was left disappointed.
Even with the lackluster ending, I did enjoy the rest of the book and I would recommend this one for someone who likes a dark and twisted read; be warned, this one is graphic so if you like something lighter, this would not be for you! I, for one, will be waiting to see what Dot Hutchison comes out with next because there is one thing I cannot deny, this woman writes a seriously addicting read!