After reading (and obsessing over) The Butterfly Garden earlier this year (you can check out my review of that one here), I was elated to find out that this book would be a part of a “collector” trilogy. The Roses of May, by Dot Hutchison, is the second novel in this trilogy. Not knowing whether or not this one would start where the first novel left off or if it would focus on a new set of “collections”, I was eager to find out.
The novel did have some reoccurrences of original characters from The Butterfly Garden but also has a whole new serial killer and new female lead.
The novel opens and dives right into the story. Taking place a few months where the first novel left off but in an unconventional way. The Butterflies are awaiting the trial of the Gardener and a few of the girls, unable to handle the trauma of the garden, have completed suicide. The police officers from the original case are dealing with this and also find themselves being pulled back into a different investigation involving a serial killer who murders girls and adorns them with flowers. When a sister (Priya) of one of the victims’ finds herself a target, the investigators must use their knowledge of the past and what they learned from the garden to find the perpetrator before he collects around victim.
My favourite part of The Butterfly Garden was the narrative style and the creepy events that took place in the garden; I found that this one read more like a police procedural. Instead of being character driven, this one focused more on the police investigation and the officer’s relationships to the victims.
Initially, I was slightly confused by what was going on and there were moments throughout the plot where I found myself not fully understanding some of the plot’s importance or struggling to understand the relationships between some of the characters. I feel like someone who hasn’t read The Butterfly Garden would feel completely out to lunch. Although it is not a direct sequel, it still relies heavily on the basic knowledge of characters and plot points from the first novel to drive the story.
Although I appreciated The Roses of May for what it was, it was completely not what I was expecting. I will absolutely continue to read other books in the series, but I absolutely found this one less addicting than the first.