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Lady of the Butterflies [Paperback]

Fiona Mountain
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 July 2009
On the ancient marshlands of Somerset - a place of mists and magic - a girl grows up in the shadow of the English Civil War, knowing that one day she will inherit the rich estate which belonged to her late mother. Her father, a stern but loving Puritan, once a distinguished soldier in Cromwell's army, fears for his daughter in the poisonous aftermath of the war,and for her vulnerability as an heiress. But above all he fears and misunderstands her scientific passion for butterflies. Eleanor Glanville was in fact destined to become one of the most famous entomologists in history, bequeathing her name to the rare butterfly which she discovered, the Glanville Fritillary. But not before she had endured a life of quite extraordinary vicissitude. Two marriages and an all-consuming love, which proved her undoing, a deep friendship with one of the great scientists of the day and finally, a trial for lunacy (on the grounds that no sane person would pursue butterflies) are all played out against the violent events of the Monmouth Rebellion and the vicious controversy over whether or not to drain the Somerset marshes. Now, if you drive down the M5, you will cross Kings Sedgemoor Drain - one of the first great ditches which reclaimed the land for farming and destroyed the precious habitat of the Glanville Fritillary


Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Preface Publishing (16 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848091648
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848091641
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.2 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 419,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"It is a rare talent in an author to be able to mix rigorous historical research with the narrative energies and imagination of a true novelist. Fiona Mountain brings all of these skills to her entrancing Lady of the Butterflies. A vivid and fascinating novel about an extraordinary woman, I was gripped from beginning to end." (Katie Hickman)

"Fiona Mountain is a major new talent in the field of historical fiction. This is history told with integrity, with an authentic feel for the period and vividly rounded characters. All the colours and textures of the seventeenth century are eloquently realised here, in wonderful detail, and against this backdrop is set a haunting and tragic narrative. I have come away from this book having learned much about Lady Eleanor Glanville, and butterflies, in the most entertaining way possible. I eagerly await Fiona Mountain`s next book" (Alison Weir)

"A fascinating story ... richly and brilliantly detailed and full of love" (Elizabeth Buchan)

"My heart ached as I read this book because I knew at some point I would have to finish it. From the very first sentence I was caught by this wonderful and enchanting story, with a heroine you fall totally in love with and a world that I wish I could live in myself. It is as bewitching and wondrous as butterflies themselves and will be treasured as a read I will never forget." (Emilia Fox)

"Lady of the Butterflies is an enjoyable, dramatic and intriguing tale that I found almost impossible to put down. It has a wonderful sense of period and well-observed, compelling characters who I really cared about. Love and passion, in their many forms, are at its heart and as an actress I was particularly drawn to Eleanor Glanville, a strong and emotional woman whose many joys and hardships I fully shared" (Thelma Barlow) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

Fiona Mountain is a major new talent in the field of historical fiction. This is history told with integrity, with an authentic feel for the period and vividly rounded characters. All the colours and textures of the seventeenth century are eloquently realised here, in wonderful detail, and against this backdrop is set a haunting and tragic narrative. I have come away from this book having learned much about Lady Eleanor Glanville, and butterflies, in the most entertaining way possible. I eagerly await Fiona Mountain’s next book. - Alison Weir

A fascinating story … richly and brilliantly detailed and full of love and heartbreak - Elizabeth Buchan

It is a rare talent in an author to be able to mix rigorous historical research with the narrative energies and imagination of a true novelist. Fiona Mountain brings all of these skills to her entrancing Lady of the Butterflies. A vivid and fascinating novel about an extraordinary woman, I was gripped from beginning to end. - Katie Hickman

My heart ached as I read this book because I knew at some point I would have to finish it. From the very first sentence I was caught by this wonderful and enchanting story, with a heroine you fall totally in love with and a world that I wish I could live in myself. It is as bewitching and wondrous as butterflies themselves and will be treasured as a read I will never forget. - Emilia Fox

Lady of the Butterflies
is an enjoyable, dramatic and intriguing tale that I found almost impossible to put down. It has a wonderful sense of period and well-observed, compelling characters who I really cared about. Love and passion, in their many forms, are at its heart and as an actress I was particularly drawn to Eleanor Glanville, a strong and emotional woman whose many joys and hardships I fully shared. - Thelma Barlow

Rich and brilliant ... Fiona Mountain is an extraordinary talent, an impressive writer and an exceptional storyteller. - The Lady

Fiona Mountain has written a powerful and sexually charged novel set in the shadow of the English Civil War. Lady of the Butterflies is a fascinating historical novel capturing the life of Eleanor Glanville, a woman of terrific scientific discipline and worldly passion. Eleanor's life is one of personal upheaval and her story is set in the Somerset Marshlands that face social and agricultural revolution. Mountain's novel describes Eleanor's discovery of the Glanville Fritillary, a rare butterfly that reflects Eleanor's immense strength, beauty and frailty. It's a brilliant historical novel filled with fascinating detail and stunning imagery. - The Bookseller

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not miss this book!! 29 July 2009
Format:Paperback
The curious customs and beliefs of people, from all walks of life during the 17th century, which emerge during the course of this book give the reader a real sense of how it would be to live during these times. Fiona Mountain's writing is so descriptive you get pulled into this book without realizing it and it is impossible not to feel for Eleanor Glanville, a woman who was truly ahead of her time, while she struggles to conform to her expected place in society and still pursues her love of nature and science in the face of scorn and ridicule. For me the characters in this book are no longer merely names from the past, they have become full of life and I have been left with a longing to learn more about this period in history! Eleanor Glanville is an inspiration for us all and the author tells such a beautiful story I would be surprised if you will be able to put it down - I know I couldn't!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read! 28 July 2009
Format:Paperback
I was enthralled from start to finish. A wonderfully atmospheric book with a great storyline and very well-written characters. Set in the 1600s and based on fact it has much relevance today as it touches on wetland destruction and flooding and gives fascinating insights into the way butterflies and science were viewed in those early days. Above all though, it is a captivating love story. If you like historical fiction (and even if you don't!) you will love this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Stunning 31 July 2009
Format:Paperback
"All I ever wanted was to be happy, to love and to be loved, and for my life to count for something." If this resonates with your own journey through life then you will love Fiona Mountains latest bestseller Lady of the Butterflies. The book centres on Eleanor Glanvilles life as she struggles with the messages the world reflects back to her about who she is, it is a story of love, lust, longing,loss and triumph over adversity and I couldnt put it down. One of my favourite books of all time.
If you are looking for a book to take on holiday or curl up with during those autumn evenings by the fire I would throughly recommend this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea for a book, shame about the writing. 21 Oct 2009
By J. Cook
Format:Paperback
Once again I find myself in the minority by not liking a book everyone else loves. I think I would feel more comfortable awarding it two and a half stars, as I'm not writing this review to say this is a bad book - I can't say, as I didn't get very far. The thing that was immediately noticeable was the overuse of adjectives. However, I carried on reading until eventually I started getting that 'sinking heart' feeling that descends on me whenever I know I'm not going to like a book. There is some clunky writing, pretty much from the word go, but the final straw came when I read - 'It was not wrong to want to be happy, to want all the things I badly wanted'. Others might think that I'm making a fuss, but of course it's just down to personal taste and what you find acceptable when reading a book. It's a bit of a shame, as I think there is probably a good story in there somewhere - it just wasn't for me. Don't let me put you off reading it as other people have given it glowing reviews, as with everything in life it is always best to make your own mind up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Reserve judgment until the truth is compelling." 30 July 2010
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
As the story begins, Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians are out and Charles Stuart is in. Eleanor is the daughter of Major William Goodricke, a strict Puritan and former soldier in Cromwell's army. Her father dies, leaving the family's estate in Somerset, Tickenham Court, to a very young Eleanor. Her ward-ship is given to a like-minded associate of her father's and he eventually marries her off to Edmund Ashfield. Eleanor loves her husband (so she thinks) but what about Edmund's great friend, the dashing and ever so charming cavalier Richard Glanville who sets her heart a-flutter?

Eleanor settles into married life and motherhood, but the lure of the butterflies sends her flitting about the countryside in chase of them. Tragedy strikes, leaving Eleanor widowed - can she resist the charms of the oh-so-hunky Richard Glanville or will she keep her independence and control of her property? Well you know I'm not going to tell you but let's just say that events start taking a dark turn and her fascination with the butterflies has spooked the superstitious country folk and leaving her vulnerable to accusations of madness and witchcraft. Can she hold onto her property and her freedom? Or will she lose it all?

"no one who was not deprived of their senses would go in pursuit of butterflies"

This was a beautifully written novel, and one I had a hard time putting down. A lot of time is spent on Eleanor and her beloved butterflies, as well as the debates over whether or not to drain the fens (a very hot issue among the commonors) and may not suit readers liking their books action packed with heroines leaping tall buildings in a single bound, but for those who want to sit back and savor some lovely prose with a glass of red wine or a box of chocolates (or both!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This was my new favourite historical novel. Fascinating story, and I couldn't put it down. Beautifully written. Eleanor Glanville is such a wonderful character.
But why Mountain has decided to change the title to 'Rebel Heiress' I do not understand. This is a terrible decision. 'Lady of the Butterflies' was a strong, beautiful title that perfectly suited the magical story. Now it just sounds like every other historical novel. Anyway, Eleanor is not a 'Rebel'! - this gives the completely wrong idea of her character. In fact I don't believe this could have been Mountain's choice - because this is not how she has written Eleanor.
The new title just sounds sounds so dull and takes away the essence and soul of the story. Change it back! I'm sure many original fans of the book agree?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars New Title for Lady of the Butterflies
This is actually a great book but I bought the kindle version just because i like the author and didn't have this title so I didn't read the reviews. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Mary
4.0 out of 5 stars None
very good story well written but the butterflies came second to a love story so a missed opportunity but would still recomend it
Published 14 months ago by Ms Judith Connett
4.0 out of 5 stars For butterfly enthusiasts everywhere
I stumbled across this book under the title of Rebel Heiress but I must say I far prefer the title Lady of the Butterflies. Read more
Published 16 months ago by kat j
5.0 out of 5 stars A good holiday read
I have said that I would only rate a book 5 stars when I have found the ultimate book, however, on reflection I feel that although this is not THE book, Im also not sure really... Read more
Published on 17 May 2012 by Nelly
1.0 out of 5 stars A struggle
I feel awful giving this book only one star, but after two false starts I still failed to get into it. Read more
Published on 4 April 2012 by SFlanary
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
This is an absolutely wonderful book. I was totally consumed by the characters, particularly the beautiful Richard Glanville. Fiona Mountain is a most brilliant story teller. Read more
Published on 14 Jan 2012 by Christine
4.0 out of 5 stars A woman ahead of her time
I was given this by a friend and was pleasantly surprised to see it was written by Fiona Mountain, whose Natasha Blake books I have enjoyed. Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2011 by soffitta1
5.0 out of 5 stars Rebel Heiress
Absolutely outstanding writing, one of the best books I have ever read. Fiona Mountain writes in such a wonderful way, very comforting but enticing, some parts made me cry,... Read more
Published on 22 Dec 2010 by SassySassenach
4.0 out of 5 stars `..as far back as the Ancient Greeks, it has been believed that...
This novel is based on the life of Eleanor Glanville who, in the aftermath of the English Civil War, devoted much of her life to the study of butterflies. Read more
Published on 18 Nov 2010 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Georgette Heyer
Great title - made me buy the book - so I can see why they changed it.

The story of a woman fighting for her rights in post civil war England is great - it almost,... Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2010 by London Matron
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