My enormous thanks to Love Reading for an advanced reader copy of The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans in return for an honest review. The Butterfly Summer is published Headline Review on 19th May 2016 and is available from Love Reading, direct from the publisher, from Amazon UK, Waterstones and all good bookshops.
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.
My Review of The Butterfly Summer
When Nina Parr meets a curious old woman in the London Library, little does she realise how this meeting will reverberate through her future – and her past.
I loved The Butterfly Summer. It’s a curious book in that it seems quite straightforward initially and then it twists and turns back in time to ensnare the reader in the narrative history and the characters’ lives, almost against their will. There’s a dual story that is completely absorbing so that all the characters, even the more minor ones like Malc, are gradually uncovered and emerge rather like the butterflies from their chrysalises in an iterative image that weaves throughout. I had to concentrate to start with to keep up with all the characters and the timescales, but once I got into the rhythm of the narrative and its various layers I couldn’t tear myself away from The Butterfly Summer.
It might sound mad, but reading The Butterfly Summer made me think of a DNA strand because everything was so beautifully linked but at any point a lie, a coincidence, a choice could affect the future outcome in the same way a chromosome might affect a person.
Harriet Evans’s writing is just perfect. There’s such atmosphere that is so mesmerising. She has an eye for detail that brings alive every nuance of feeling and every image of setting in vivid relief. Her themes are universal and personal so that she lays bare sexuality, power, control, nature, happiness, selfishness, grief and, especially, family relationships, in a complex and intricately well plotted read.
All I can say is thank goodness for the epilogue, which, whilst I sobbed my way through it, made me thoroughly happy. You’ll have to read the book to find out why!
About Harriet Evans
Harriet Evans is the author of eight previous novels, Going Home, A Hopeless Romantic, The Love of Her Life, I Remember You, Love Always, Happily Ever After, Not Without You and A Place for Us.
There are more reviews from other Love Reading panel members here.