The Butterfly Garden **** 4/5
Dot Hutchison - Thriller / Suspense
While reading "The Butterfly Garden," I really wasn't sure how I felt. There were several moments when I simply closed the book and took a moment to gather my thoughts. It's a very dark novel, written eloquently but with dark undertones.
The Gardener's obsession with one of natures most beautiful creations, butterflies, is carried to a new extreme when he starts to collect young women. He names them, tattoos intricate wing designs onto their backs and forces them to live in a preservation jar of his own creation; a garden so beautiful, yet so terrifying. He feeds them, clothes them and cares for them deeply, but on the night of their 21st birthday he preserves them with Formaldehyde and places them in a tomb of glass, displaying their wings in a hallway of eternal beauty...and death.
"The Butterfly Garden" was certainly a book I found hard to stop reading. The plot and characters are well developed and unique in their creation, but the ending left a bit to be desired. While I understand the thought behind the closing of the book, it felt a little underwhelming. A long, twisted climb up a mountain side only to find there wasn't much of a view at the top. I think the ending could have been a bit more dramatic and deserving of the text that came before it.
Overall all, darkness and anti-climatic ending aside, I really did enjoy "The Butterfly Garden" and would recommend it.
"The Butterfly Garden" was my KindleFirst selection for May! Check out the other books in the program this month HERE.
Orphan Train *** (3/5)
Christina Baker Kline - Fiction
Orphan Train was an interesting read and definitely kept me engaged through to the very end but I found Molly, a teenage girl trapped in the shuffle of the foster care system, to be very flat and one dimensional. Totally an unnecessary character to the story as a whole.
While I see the connection Baker created between Molly and Vivian, I think Vivian's story itself is more than enough to sustain an entertaining and meaningful experience for the reader. I just didn't see any added value to Molly's character, especially not the back and forth between Vivian's life and Molly's. The ping-ponging between characters was not only a bit cumbersome to follow, but it could easily cause someone to put the novel down without really getting a true feel for the book.
Orphan Train portrays a period in history that I am so thankful to have not experienced first hand. The reality that children were treated like cattle, boarded onto trains, lined up and picked for their working features rather than to become members of a family is beyond me. Children no older than 10 forced to work as farm hands doing manual labor and sleeping on hay bales along side cattle is absurd and heartbreaking.
It's an emotional read for sure, but I really did enjoy learning about Vivian and her journey right up until the very end. I just wish Molly's character had been less prominent and more of Vivian's story had been told.
Other Books By Christina Baker Kline
Me Before You **** 4/5
Jojo Moyes- Realistic Fiction / Romance
I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that I am not, and never will be, a hopeless romantic, nor will I ever find chick-lit books enjoyable. In fact, if the synopsis on the back of book eludes to anything remotely romantical, I’ll likely make a ridiculous face while in the process of placing it back onto the shelf or table form which it came.
I don’t like books that blatantly try to toy with or evoke certain emotions, nor do I like books that are just over-the-top, ridiculously sappy. Despite the brash assumption I made of this book based on the movie adaptation cover, it wasn’t overly romantic at all. In fact, there really wasn’t any romance through the entire book and the emotions Ms. Moyes evoked were pure and poured effortlessly from my feelers.
You Before Me is about finding a connection where you didn’t think there could ever be one. It's about living life the way you want to, doing things, going places that make you happy. You Before Me is about sincerely making an effort to live life, a different kind of life; a life filled with adventures and experiences.
Louisa and Will are extraordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstance and the relationship that blossoms and blooms between them is not only beautiful, but its devastatingly moving.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and though the ending is sad, I’m happy Ms. Moyes didn’t go with a more cliché ending. She stuck to her guns and it really brought the book full circle. There isn’t a thing I would change about any piece of this book.
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An avid reader with a thirst for knowledge, and adventure through words printed on paper.
Books Read in 2020
*The Tattooist of Auschwitz