Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen, A Review


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I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Description

"My past was never more than one thought, one breath, one heartbeat away. And then, on that particular October evening, it literally arrived at my doorstep."

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.


I checked this book out from my local library (based solely on the title). When I started reading it, I had the synopsis confused with another book so it took me a little bit to get into the book. I really enjoyed this story of friendship and inner strength. 

Ruby is a young woman who has been crippled by worry over what other people think or would think of her if they knew about some of the choices she has made. I found her incredibly easy to identify with. 

Hansen did a remarkable job portraying young college students being charmed by a college professor. In Ruby's case, his love and then sudden withdrawal have very serious repercussions as she deals with a drug overdose, although it is never clear whether it was intentional or accidental. The plot twist was completely unexpected - I thought I had figured out who was responsible for Beth's disappearance but I was completely wrong. That is always nice to have happen in a book!

One of the things I enjoyed most was Ruby's relationship with her best friend: she was such a great example of a true friendship that loves in spite of our foibles and offers forgiveness and acceptance without hesitation. 

I found this book to be beautifully written and look forward to future offerings from Ms. Hansen.

I gave this book:  

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

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