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review 2018-07-16 14:09
The Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Garden - Dot Hutchison

A serial killer called the Gardener captures young women, tattoos intricately detailed butterfly wings on their backs, gives them new names, keeps them in a secluded, secured location with a lovely garden and their own personal rooms. He clothes them, feeds them, rapes them and on their 21st birthdays, does something completely horrific to them.

 

The only other person who knows of this place of horrors is his son, Avery. Avery is allowed access to the girls and may come and go as he pleases. He is not kind to the girls at all, and enjoys causing pain and torturing them. This is a disturbing story told from the point of view of one of the surviving girls as she reveals to two FBI agents all that happened from beginning to end. Maya's depictions are not overly graphic despite all she had to endure, but explained in a matter of fact manner.

 

The biggest issue that I had with this book was being unable to understand why none of the girls attempted to escape. Not a real attempt outside of trying to peek at the door's security code. It is explained that they were afraid that if they failed and were caught, the Gardener would murder them sooner. Each of the girls seemed to be resigned to their fates, and even when they were taken off to be killed, they were terrified, but never put up much of a struggle.

 

I cannot imagine knowing that a psychotic man was taking me off to end my life and not fight tooth and nail! Not once did he use any sort of weapon. If they were going to die anyway, why not die fighting? Not only did the Gardener come to the garden alone, he was an older man and grossly outnumbered by the girls. I felt that the girls had so so many options and opportunities, but didn't even try.

 

They had a cave they could talk privately and devise a plan of action, they had access to the kitchen, they had trinkets and things given to them by the Gardener, surely they could have used something as a weapon. One girl was even granted a pair of scissors which had only been used for embroidery and to cut the hair off another woman for the sake of revenge.

 

There was a woman who had gained the Gardener's trust to the point where he did not kill her, instead he stopped visiting her bed, and even allowed her to come and go as she pleased. This woman was loyal to the Gardener and not once so much as considered going to the police to save the rest of the girls! In fact, she envied the girls and wanted the Gardener to love her.

 

The book, for me, had a satisfying ending. The twists and turns were interesting and despite the frustration of all the wasted opportunities to escape (many of which I am not even discussing in this review due to spoilers), kept me invested. Due to the subject matter, I would not recommend this book to everyone. It is a story that will stay with you long after you've finished reading it.

 

 

-Shey

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-07-07 03:43
The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
The Butterfly Garden - Dot Hutchison

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

He's accurately named the "Gardener", as in his possession is a most enchanting garden, with its own collection of delicate butterflies. He cares for them; feeds them, grooms them, even mourns them when they perish, but he's also the reason they expire, for he is their captor. Taken from their lives and branded as property, the young women must endure their time as a beloved butterfly.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

Well, at least I more or less knew what I was getting into, as it was abundantly clear from the synopsis that this book would be chock-full of disturbing content. I mean, there was obviously going to be sexual abuse, right? However I can’t say that preparing myself for the inevitable made it any easier when it came around - the discomfort I experienced during some scenes was fierce, but I think it was worth it overall. I really enjoyed the format of the plot; the interview process and the accounts of certain events that took place within the garden. It was much of a beautiful nightmare; I say beautiful because the garden itself was a green thumb’s paradise. The writing clearly did well in expressing how exquisite the surrounding flora was - I would absolutely adore living somewhere like that, only of my own free will, of course. The darkness that lurked behind its exterior brought up the topic of ugly secrets hiding behind attractive fronts, which I believe can apply to a lot in today's world.

I found Maya to be extremely difficult to comprehend at times, and even like in some instances. Sure, I understood her hardships in life and the resulting effects on her mental state, but emotionally detached characters are generally harder for me to relate to. Her behaviour didn’t make much sense, even with the inclusion of the lacklustre twist at the end. I mean, you’d have to be a machine to just accept the fate of suddenly being a prisoner, and Maya was the definition of the perfect captive. This leads me to my biggest gripe that I couldn’t ignore about this book - the complete lack of self-preservation. The women were young and fit, and they never considered working together to overpower their much older captor? They even had access to a multitude of items that could have been used as weapons, such as sculpting tools and the likes. It does bother me when I need to question the plausibility of a story, as it’s the authors job to sufficiently build up a believable, consistent narrative. My suspension of disbelief can only go so far.

It's because of the absurdity of the characters that I didn't particularly favour any of them. Sure, one or two were likeable enough, just like the clear-cut villains were dislikeable, but none made their way into my heart. It was too bad, to say the least, that there was this constant barrier of doubt and incredibility that I couldn't bypass.

I need to mention the ending, or specifically, the attempt at a last minute revelation. I’m an enormous fan of plot twists, of those moments that force me to rethink, or surprise me to a large degree, but not every book needs one. In fact, I believe that, in this case, it was shoehorned in as a poor effort to try and explain Maya’s bizarre behaviour. In no way, shape, or form did it thrill or even interest me, and I considered it having little value. I won't outright state the details, but it was the wrong direction for the story.

This review reads significantly more negative than what my final rating displays. I think I should be clear that I was gripped, and it was difficult to tear me away from Hutchison’s grim tale despite the issues I had. I'm fond of dark fiction that touches upon horror aspects, and this really did tick a lot of boxes in that regard; there were many taboo themes, and the writing made it simple enough to become quickly absorbed. Perhaps it would have even been a top read, had some aspects been a little more logical.

In conclusion: It was remarkably entertaining, offering a twisted account of one man's obsession with beauty. Not for the faint of heart, as depictions of abuse were plentiful throughout. I had my problems with believability, and whilst I couldn't exactly dismiss those issues, I found it only right that I rated accordingly. Am I going to read further into the series? I can honestly say that it doesn't appeal, as I've glanced over numerous reviews that state it's more police / investigation work, and I'm not into that sort of thing.

Notable Quote:

Like beauty, desperation and fear were as common as breathing.

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/07/07/the-butterfly-garden-by-dot-hutchison
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review 2018-04-30 15:16
3.7 Out Of 5 "demented and twisted" STARS
The Butterfly Garden - Dot Hutchison

 

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~ABOUT THE BOOK~

The Butterfly Garden

Dot Hutchinson

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Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

 

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

 

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

 

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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I hesitated to read this because the subject manner was the sort that I have a difficult time reading…then I saw a review that said it was disturbing but not graphically so…and I thought, maybe I can get through this.  Since Amazon basically gave (I paid $1.99) me a KU membership for the next 3 months, I went for it.

 

The Butterfly Garden is seriously twisted but something about it kept me from investing in the story completely.  I honestly think that was due to the wide-ranging reviews on this book. I think they jaded me right from the start.  I'm not going to get into the details of that because I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone else.  Although, I will say that the twist at the end felt entirely unnecessary to me and it really just left me confused.

 

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

~MY RATING~

3.7STARS - GRADE=B

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

 

 

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4/5

Main Characters~ 4/5

Secondary Characters~ 3.7/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 4/5

Addictiveness~ 4.5/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4/5

Originality~ 4.5/5

Ending~ 2.5/5 Cliffhanger~ Sorta…

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Book Cover~ It's decent

Narration~ 5 -Lauren Ezzo was amazingly good & 4☆ -Mel Foster was decent too.

Series~ The Collector #1

Setting~ The Garden

Source~ KU Read & Listen

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review 2017-10-14 15:06
Flying away here.....DNFing this novel
The Butterfly Garden - Dot Hutchison
I just couldn’t do it. This novel made no sense to me so after 98 pages, I gave up. What frustrated me the most as I read was why no one revolted or tried to leave, it was as if they enjoyed being held captive. This would be all fine and dandy but why make it sound all horrible once they are finally found. It just irritated me. The way Maya described the Gardener and his son, Avery putting their hands on them and so forth and how it disgusted them, I just didn’t understand why they didn’t do something about it. Then, what was up with Maya’s attitude when she was being questioned by the police. I just didn’t understand this. I guess also, I was upset that I was hearing about what happened with the Gardener and the butterflies through the eyes of Maya. I just didn’t think she told an accurate picture of what the other girls might have thought or felt. This just wasn’t a good-fit novel for me.

 

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review 2017-05-05 03:10
The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
The Butterfly Garden - Dot Hutchison

I was intrigued by the initial concept of this book but I wasn’t all that into it. It was okay, but there were too many things that didn’t work for me, although I may have trouble articulating all of them.

 

The premise is that the FBI has caught up with a serial killer who has been imprisoning girls, tattooing them with butterfly wings, keeping them around for a while, and preserving them when they die. Maya, one of the survivors, is set up as an uncooperative victim who tells her story to FBI agents, who question how much of her story they should believe because they think she’s not telling them everything.

 

This isn’t really a novel about FBI agents or a thriller, really. It’s all about Maya, and she’s really not that uncooperative because she talks for pages and pages and pages. The book jumps from the present day (in the present tense, too) to her story (told in the past tense) but after a while her story didn’t seem like she was telling a story. It seemed like what you’d get in a television program where someone is telling a story, then you fade into their flashback and continue to watch the scenes play out rather than actually continue to listen to a story. It was more about Maya’s story than the FBI agents supposedly trying to interrogate her, although some lip service is paid to the device. There was just something off about the whole thing.

 

Hearing about all the different girls and what they were good at or what their personalities were like got tiresome after a while too. And the whole thing with Desmond strained credulity. Finally, for such a dark book, the ending was super fluffy.

 

So I don’t recommend it, but I’m sure some people would really like the book.

 

I read this for the start square (free read) for booklikes-opoly. At 276 pages, this gives me another $3 for my bank, which gives me a balance of $59.

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