The Butterfly Sister

The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen - 320 pages
Book Blurb:
Eight months after dropping out of Tarble, an all-women's college, twenty-two-year-old Ruby Rousseau is still haunted by the memories of her senior year-a year marred by an affair with her English professor and a deep depression that not only caused her to question her own sanity but prompted a failed suicide attempt.
And then a mysterious paisley print suitcase arrives, bearing Ruby's name and address on the tag. When Ruby tries to return the luggage to its rightful owner, Beth Richards, her dorm mate at Tarble, she learns that Beth disappeared two days earlier, and the suitcase is the only tangible evidence as to her whereabouts.
Consumed by the mystery of the missing girl and the contents of the luggage-a tattered copy of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, the book on which Ruby based her senior thesis, and which she believes instigated her madness-she sets out to uncover the truth, not only about Beth Richards's past but also her own. In doing so, Ruby is forced to reexamine the people from her past: the professor who whisked her away to New Orleans and then shattered her heart and the ghosts of dead women writers who beckoned her to join their illustrious group. And when Ruby's storyline converges with Beth's in a way she never imagined, she returns to the one place she swore she never would: her alma mater.
My Review: 4 stars
I really enjoyed this book. This author took on the dark subject of suicide and made it highly readable from both the character’s point of view as well as through the several women authors that she referenced. This book has prompted me to now read A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf as well as some others. With an easygoing and likeable voice, the author took us on a mystery with many characters that all fit nicely together at the end. Although the believability of the end could seem farfetched to some, it didn’t bother me at all; I liked it. The setting was well portrayed in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin and New Orleans, LA and had me hankering for a beignet. Grief (in its many forms) is a central theme in this book and overall it would make an excellent choice for discussion.
Quotes I liked:
- “It seemed a reason to believe Beth was still alive. The words she scribbled there still had a pulse.”

- “They say that time heals all wounds, but I beg to differ. It seems time only deepens the scars.”

- “Anger isn’t such a bad thing, Ruby. It moves obstacles. Nothing would happen without anger. It’s the catalyst of change.”

- “The past is a funny thing, Ruby. It is nature’s  most underestimated ghost. It is still very much alive. Its heart still beats. It haunts. And it is always impacting, always dictating the future, which eventually becomes the past. You see, it multiplies, this enigma. It grows larger until at the end, it swallows your entire life. Every day, every moment becomes the past.”

Tags: 2013, Fiction, Mystery,

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