Sunday, 14 August 2016

Review: The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans

Title: The Butterfly Summer
Author: Harriet Evans
Publisher: Headline Review
Pages: 448
Genres: Family Saga, Women's Fiction
Source: ARC

The Butterfly Summer
What magic is this?

You follow the hidden creek towards a long-forgotten house.

They call it Keepsake, a place full of wonder ... and danger. Locked inside the crumbling elegance of its walls lies the story of the Butterfly Summer, a story you've been waiting all your life to hear.

This house is Nina Parr's birthright. It holds the truth about her family - and a chance to put everything right at last.
This book sneaked up and got to me, right in the soft gooey centre of my heart. It was completely unexpected. When I first started reading The Butterfly Summer I honestly was not sure if this was my kind of book but the writing was so compulsively readable and the plot became so intriguing, that I found myself being pulled into it.

Firstly, the reader is introduced to Nina Parr who resides in London. She is turning 26, has an underwhelming job and recently went through a divorce. Her father died on an expedition to study butterflies abroad when she was a baby, and she grew up quite poor with her American mother who found herself alone and adrift after his death. The story is essentially about Nina discovering who her mysterious father was and learning about his side of the family.

I instantly liked Nina, I really related to her and I really enjoyed untangling her heritage with her. There are many time jumps from present to past as the story unfolds and new characters related to Nina emerge. I think this is a book that is best to go into without too much knowledge of what it is about as there were some fantastic plot twists that surprised me.

Lots of themes were explored in this book and lots of interesting questions arose. Butterflies and the study of them are of a course a big part of the story, butterfly imagery is everywhere often connecting characters to each other in surprising ways. I also found the idea of history repeating throughout the generations of the same family intriguing because of the legacies parents (often unwittingly) pass on to their children. I loved the ending, it felt realistic and poignant. I shed a few tears.

A beautiful summer read, I would highly recommend.

I received a free proof from the publisher, I was not required to give a review. All opinions stated are entirely my own.

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