March 9, 2016

The Butterfly Summer. Harriet Evans.

book cover
Published:Hachette NZ
Date: 9th February 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 435
Genre: Historical/Contemporary Fiction
Source: Thanks to Hachette NZ
4.5 stars              Add to Goodreads
A compulsive tale about forbidden and enduring love and the secrets we keep that somehow grow beyond all proportion. '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 is Nina Parr's birth right. It holds the truth about her family - and a chance to put everything right at last.'

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When we first meet Nina Parr she seems a contradiction in terms. She is highly educated and intelligent yet she is in a low key job in a solicitor's office. Not only that she is making mistakes in typed letters that seem so much what you would not expect.

Read on a little further and there just seem to be more and more questions mounting. My head was filled with What? Who? How? Why? There is a strange woman that Nina meets with in the library, what kind of message does she want to get to Nina?

Gradually we learn of the strange house Keepsake and the microclimate there that favours butterflies. We learn of the family that has lived there for generations, each one as strange as the one before it. What does it mean for Nina, who has only a mother and who has been told her father is dead and never really known what it means to belong to family?

We are taken back two generations to another Parr woman's life and experience, and I begin to understand the power of this family, its flaws and and horrors. This one -Theodora has had a strange upbringing, has done some seemingly innocuous things that have led to very sad consequences. Will she ever redeem herself?

The Butterfly Summer is like putting together a large jigsaw with no picture to guide. As a reader I had to pick up each piece of information, see how it would fit and it is not until the last piece is in place that the full picture emerges!

If you like a slow paced, well written book full of mystery set in London and the English Cornwall countryside then its for you. I had to read it slowly, wait upon it, and in the end I could say - I felt for these characters, especially Nina and Theodora and loved how they interconnected. The final revelation and jigsaw piece was indeed a very satisfying ending.

well written new to me author thought provoking book icon British Author
About the author:
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. She lives in London with her family.
Website: Harriet Evans

Lastly watch these five bloggers who were given the book early to read and see their reactions and how they respond to the ending. They read it silently and don't give away the ending in case you are worried!


  1. Ohh I wonder what's going on there now

    1. Yes that little surprise at the end, always good!

  2. Wow, this one sounds like my kind of read! Thanks for sharing...I love butterflies, secrets, and mysterious houses.

  3. Ooh great review I love novels filled with family secrets, it sounds a little noirish to me Kathryn. Great review thanks.
    I see Emilie Richards When We Were Sisters, I just finished it, I'm reviewing it for RT magazine. Can't wait to see your thoughts!

    1. Definitely noirish! So looking forward to When We Were Sisters. Have over committed myself so won't get to it till nearer the time of it being published. :( Unless I fast forward it of course! Look forward to your review in the RT Debbie.

  4. Good to know that you have to wait for the story to come. Love stories about families and secrets.

    1. Yes one you have to hang in with Nise, it challenged me, wasn't just an easy read.

  5. I saw this book on The Book Depository recently, and I was curious about it. Your great review makes me want it now! :-)

  6. I love books where you can't guess what is going on right away. Sounds like a good one!

  7. You have me very curious about this one, and I love solving a puzzle


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