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The Butterfly House (MIRA) [Paperback]

Marcia Preston
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 2006 MIRA
“I was fifteen when my mother finally told me the truth about my father. She didn’t mean to. She meant to keep it a secret forever. If she’d succeeded, it might have saved us all. ” Roberta and Cynthia are destined to be best friends forever. When both your fathers are missing you have a lot in common. Unable to cope with her alcoholic mother, Roberta finds Cynthia’s house the perfect carefree refuge. Cynthia’s mother keeps beautiful, rare butterflies in her sunporch and she’s everything Roberta wishes her own mother could be. But just like the delicate creatures they nurture, the women are living in a hothouse. Years later, a hauntingly familiar stranger knocks on Roberta Dutreau’s door, forcing her to begin a journey back to childhood. But is she ready to know the truth about what happened to her, her best friend Cynthia and their mothers that tragic night ten years ago?

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA (1 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778301168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778301165
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 566,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual, beautiful examination of relationships 19 Aug 2006
"The Butterfly House" is a delicately written, enthralling book, and its occasional small downfall does not hide the originality and beauty of the story and writing.

Roberta Dutreau grows up with an alcoholic mother, but her friendship with Cynthia and Cynthia's mother ensures that she is not without love and affection. However the intricacy of the relationships, the insecurities of the women and Roberta's sudden exposure to her father and his past sets the stage for an ultimately tragic result. Years later, the sudden reappearance of Cynthia's father means that all three have to examine what really happened on a night which affected them all forever.

Preston's characterisation is good, and she also spends time on the minor characters which ensures the story 'breathes' and the reader believes in it. A few small details (any more news of Roberta's father, for example?) are missed out but these don't detract from the power of the story. Mother/daughter relationships, as well as friendships, are well examined and each character is well-written so there isn't really one you dislike, or can't feel some empathy with. Roberta's relationship with her husband is in particular perfectly written, and there are no saccharine or false notes in Preston's gentle observation: these characters are human, and the reader aches for them.

"The Butterfly House" isn't perfect - the denouement towards the end of the book is a little rushed and I'm not sure I believe that such a judgement would be made in court - but it is a very good read and I look forward to more of Preston's work appearing on my bookshelf very soon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB!!! 27 Aug 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had never heard of either Marcia Preston or 'The Butterfly House.' I chanced upon it while browsing Amazon's listmania. I was frustrated because I seem to have read a few lemons lately and was desperate for a good read.

What a wonderful piece of storytelling! Within a few pages I was caught up in the story of these four compelling women.

It is a story of love, yet not in the conventional sense of the word, jealously, forgiveness, friendship, and much, much more. I rooted for all of these richly drawn characters from the start, and finished the novel with a tear in my eye, sorry to leave them all behind. I don't really want to go into details of the plot, Amazon's synopsis will tell you all you need to know, but if you're looking for a good read, and not sure what you want, go ahead and buy it. You'll NOT be disappointed.

This book has restored my belief that there are good books out there and I will be looking up other titles by this talented author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book i've read so far this year... 18 Jun 2006
Haunted by her difficult childhood, Roberta Dutreau is trying to put the past behind her. Then a familiar face appears, forcing Roberta to embark on a life changing journey and discover the truth about her mother.

I loved the way this book switches between telling the story of Roberta's childhood years and the present day.

This is a beautiful, although sometimes sinister, novel which focuses on mother-daughter relationships, friendships and self discovery.

Cleverly written it is the perfect book for anyone who likes to be able to build their own image of each character throughout the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a story of love and sacrifice 20 Jun 2008
"The Butterfly House" is beautifully written story exploring the complicated dynamics in the relationships between 4 women (two young girls and their mothers) and the men that `frame' their lives - the joy of feeling loved, the pain of growing apart and the lengths they'll go to to protect each other. Ultimately, it is a story of love and sacrifice.

The characters are un-clichéd and deeply human and you can't help but feel for them.

All in all, an absorbing read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Discovery 15 Jun 2007
I had never heard of this book or its author when somebody passed on a copy of it to me. It lay around for months until finally, needing something to read one night, I decided to try it. Other readers have given enough detail of the story and commented on how compelling it is. It's also strangely beautiful, highly original and very moving: one of those books you feel you've 'discovered' for yourself and feel possessive about, but thrilled to share the discovery. I think there will be very few readers who fail to respond to Marcia Preston's novel without enthusiasm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 5 April 2014
By Amanda TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Living at home with an alcoholic mother is hard for Roberta, thankfully she has her best friend Cynthia. Both girls have a special bond, the fact that they have grown up without a father figure.Finding it hard at times to cope at home Roberta takes solace at Cynthia's house where she spends many hours with both her friend and her mother Lenora who treats her like her own daughter.
However a tragedy strikes which changes all their lives,and ten years later it is up to Roberta to set the record straight.
An enjoyable read with interesting characters and an excellent insight pertaining to friendship, love and loyalty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER
What a little gem of a novel. I really enjoyed this one!

Primarily centred around mother/daughter relationships (or lack thereof) and friendships, this is a tale that jumps between past and present, recapping the traumatic events that transpired at Rockhaven (The Butterfly House) during Roberta's (Bobbie's) childhood in Oregon. Her entire childhood was marred by an alcoholic mother and a largely absent father and set the scene for her later life when still she struggles to trust and love. Now in her mid twenties and in a failing marriage of her own, Bobbie tries hard to forget the night that ruined everything for her and her best friend Cynthia when they were teenagers, but the sudden emergence of an unexpected visitor threatens to destroy everything for her once more...

A brilliant turbulent tale of secrets and damaged relationships, I have to admit that this took a couple of chapters to get fully into, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. The characters are well developed and the plot is fast-paced enough to keep the reader turning the pages. You will alternatively feel both sympathy and irritation with Bobbie but love Leonora, Cynthia's vibrant, intelligent mother who takes Bobbie in as her second daughter. A brilliant story of growing up, jealousy and how one split seconds decision can change everything.

Highly recommended for fans of Anita Shreve and Jodi Picoult. Four stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Gift
This was a great gift for a female relative. She said it was a great read and would definatley recommend
Published 19 months ago by Y. Sargent
5.0 out of 5 stars Discovered a writer with true depth
There is a simplicity and a depth to the writing that hooks you in, certainly a book that I was sorry to finish and I don't think I have ever been so enthralled by a writers skill.
Published on 18 Jan 2012 by Coco
4.0 out of 5 stars The Butterfly House
I've not heard of this author before, but I really enjoyed this book. It explores young girls growing up and how experiences effect them. I found in very moving in places. Read more
Published on 22 Feb 2011 by Bookie
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written book
An amazing well written book. The bond between these women is fantastic. I was so sad when I closed the book for the last time, although the book couldn't go any further I do... Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2009 by Miss Victoria Jane Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars where will you fly?
It is very, very rare that a book makes me tear up, but this one did. This is a very well-written story about love, friendship, and mother/daughter relationships.. Read more
Published on 27 July 2009 by Matilda Wormwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this book - it was given to me as a gift and sat on my shelf for months before I got around to reading it. Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2009 by Atheana
5.0 out of 5 stars Blew me away
Wow, I have just finished this book and I have a tear in my eye. What an impact it made on me - I feel like I have just left friends behind. Read more
Published on 24 July 2008 by Boof
4.0 out of 5 stars Relationship Insecurities
The main theme of this novel is the love and friendship in the complicated relationship between four women. Read more
Published on 24 Nov 2007 by LindyLouMac
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading.
This is the first of this author I have read. Having joined a bookring for this via Bookcrossing, I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this captivating story. Loved the book. Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2007 by DE Will
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