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Displaying 1 - 30 of 16,177 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
June 24, 2016
At night the Garden was a place of shadows and moonlight, where you could more clearly hear all the illusions that went into making it what it was.

The Butterfly Garden was a book I knew nothing about. I haven't been highly anticipating it for months and it only made it on to my "to read" shelf a few days ago. But it popped up in my GR feed and everything about it called to me. It exuded a dark creepiness that drew me in. It promised a story of beauty and horror. And my instincts were right - I was enthralled from page one.

Oh, where to start with this book.

It's set in the present with two FBI agents trying to uncover the truth behind the crime scene they have just discovered. What they know is that they have found "The Garden", a prison where the psychopath known as "The Gardener" has kept young women trapped for decades. He calls them "Butterflies", tattooing wings on their backs before renaming them, raping them and letting his violent son terrorize them.

Yes, they know this. We know this. But it is the witness they are interviewing - known only as Maya - who really knows what it was like behind the garden walls. The horrors that occurred. The truth behind what happens to the girls when they turn twenty-one. And maybe, just maybe, she knows something more. As she recounts her tale of life as a captive, it becomes clear that she is hiding something, and the agents begin to question what part Maya played in these crimes.
During the day there was conversation and movement, sometimes games or songs, and it masked the sound of the pipes feeding water and nutrients through the beds, of the fans that circulated the air. At night, the creature that was the Garden peeled back its synthetic skin to show the skeleton beneath.

It is a chilling, terrifying thriller, and yet it is so beautifully told. The perfect balance of ugliness and beauty.

And Maya is the perfect narrator. Mysterious, cynical, sympathetic. Full of secrets that keep us reading, but likable enough for us to be pulled along for the ride on an emotional level too. The author doesn't shy away from grotesque details, but it is so well-written, each character so well-crafted, that it never feels gratuitous or deliberately sensational.

But, perhaps the thing that makes The Butterfly Garden stand out so much from other thrillers that contain tension, mystery and psychopaths, is the relationship between the young women. The intricate friendships and different personalities. There are no throwaway characters and the author portrays each victim as an important individual in her own right.
“Honestly? I don’t think I know what that kind of love is. I’ve seen it in a few others, but for myself? Maybe I’m just not capable of it.”
“I can’t decide if that’s sad or safe.”
“I can’t think of any reason it can’t be both.”

The depth of the characterization is fascinating. The straight-talking, spirited Bliss who never knows when to shut her mouth. Zara the bitch who is mean to everyone and yet still claims our affection in the end. Lyonette who is the mother hen to the other girls. And aging Lorraine who is so far gone that she craves love and approval from the Gardener. All of them complex, layered and thought-provoking.

The Butterfly Garden is somehow both a horrifying thriller and the tale of the friendships and rivalries between young women. It's a strange combination that leaves the reader with a bittersweet aftertaste. I doubt I will ever forget it.

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Profile Image for Leah Bayer.
567 reviews215 followers
June 23, 2016
This is the stupidest goddamn book. If you can suspend every inch of disbelief in your body and go into The Butterfly Garden accepting that it's in some kind of alternate fantasy world where women lack free will of any kind then maybe it's an okay book. Let's take a brief quiz to see how you'd do!

You wake up in a garden prison constructed by a madman who kidnapped you and is going to kill you on your 21st birthday. Do you (a) try to escape or (b) passively accept your fate and go make ~best friends~ with your fellow captives.

You realize that your captor is middle-aged, never brings any weapons into the Garden, and is outnumbered 21 to 1 by young, strong women. Do you (a) organize the girls and fight back or (b) throw tea parties and perform plays for him.

Your captor provides you with tools that could be used as weapons--scissors and sculpting tools. Do you (a) attack him with them or (b) use them for your super cute embroidery.

You are a Butterfly who has escaped from the Garden. Do you (a) immediately go to the police and free your fellow Butterflies from rape, torture, and certain death or (b) just go back to your normal-ass life.

You are the Gardener. Your son is a deranged psychopath. You are convinced you "love" your Butterflies and never want to hurt them. Your son wants to torture them to death, and you do not approve of this. Do you (a) prevent him from visiting your Garden or (b) build him a fucking torture playroom.

Your husband builds a giant fucking greenhouse in your backyard, is gone for several hours a day doing god knows what in there, seems to need an endless supply of formaldehyde and resin, and is obviously cheating on you. Do you (a) get the fuck into this mystery garden and find out wtf is going on or (b) just ignore it and live your stupid rich life.

You are a nice, normal kid. Your brother is a psychopath. You find out that your dad is kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering very young girls, and your brother is in on it. Do you (a) go to the police immediately or (b) preserve your family name and just chill with these poor victims like it's a giant sleepover.

You are a girl in the garden. The Gardener's nice, normal son somehow gets into your prison. Do you (a) immediately tell him what is happening and beg for help or (b) willingly sleep with him and then play some sweet piano tunes together.

You're a detective who has been tipped off to kidnapped girls possibly being in a strange, giant greenhouse on some secretive rich dude's property. Do you (a) do everything you can to investigate this or (b) look around for 5 minutes, shrug, and give up.

If you picked (a) then congratulations, you're a real human! If you picked even one (b) you might want to consider that you are possibly a character in this stupid-ass book who has the intelligence of a concussed donkey.

Seriously, literally everything in this book is stupid. Nothing makes sense. Not ONE GIRL out of OVER A HUNDRED ever tried to fight back against the Gardener. Not. One. Girl. They all, like, get Stockholm Syndrome in 2 fucking days?? They're so stupid not one of them tries to do anything about their situation? It makes literally no sense.

The characters are thinly constructed and tropey. The plot is full of so many holes it's practically swiss cheese. The "twist" actually made me laugh out loud it's so bad. It's going for shock value but ends up being a stupid head-stratcher instead of an "oh my god I can't believe the author came up with something this twisted!!!!" type scenario that they obviously want. It's not disturbing. It's not upsetting. It's fucking stupid and I really, really hated it. Just why.

[arc provided by netgalley in exchange for an honest review]
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,487 reviews79.1k followers
February 10, 2017
I feel confident stating that this book will not be for everyone; I even feel fairly confident that this book won’t be for most people. It is dark, graphic, twisted, and touches on almost every taboo subject I can think of. Not since I read Karin Slaughter’s Pretty Girls last year has a book disturbed me so completely.So why in the world would anyone want to read this book might you ask? This was the most uniquely crafted story I think I have ever read. Honestly, if I had based my review on the first 25% of the book it would have been a 5 STAR read for me, no brainer. It completely sucked me in and gripped me; as much as I wanted to put this book down at times, I just couldn’t. I would recommend taking a long, hard look at how sensitive a human being you are before picking this one up, but if this type of dark book is your read, I think you’ll be highly impressed.

“They had gone unto wars, trusting to the mild-eyed stars, nightly, from their azure towers, to keep watch above the flowers’…”
– “The Valley of Unrest” by Edgar Allan Poe

Like I stated earlier, the format in which this book is told is one of it’s strongest attributes. Here we have a former captive and victim of The Butterfly Garden in the care of the FBI. We know that somehow The Garden has been raided and emptied; some of the “butterflies” are dead and some are recovering in the hospital. What we don’t know is how our characters were brought to that point, which is told in three separate acts. There are breaks that allow for the jumping back and forth in time; at times we are in the present while “Maya” is talking with the agents in charge and there are also times where she has gone back to memories that she is relaying to bring us up to speed on what these poor girls have gone through. The time jumps and POV changes were not difficult to follow at all and only added intrigue into the story; many times in a strange, twisted way it left me craving more.

“Yet if hope has flown away in a night, or in a day, or in none, is it therefore the less gone? All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
– “A Dream Within a Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe

I feel Like I could write a 10 page review on this book, but it would be too spoilery and ruin everything for the reader. This is one of those books (gosh, do I only read books like this? I feel like I have this sentence somewhere in every review!) that you don’t want to know all the twists and dark surprises ahead of time; a good bit of the books appeal is in the grotesque shock. Part of the reason I didn’t give this a full 5 stars was due to the fact that I felt the first 25% of the book was punch after punch of nasty, scary, twisted, disturbing revelation about The Garden, and after that it just sort of tapered off. Sure, it held my attention throughout the entire book, but it felt to me as though it would have been more effective to have spaced out some of that terrifying content in a more even pace. There was an extremely disturbing account nearing the end involving a child which is a major trigger for lots of people, so there’s your fair warning.

I definitely felt the author did a fine job of developing her characters; I felt apprehensive once I’d finished the book because I was worried about leaving these characters behind, almost like they wouldn’t be ok on their own without my watching over them to recover from The Garden, which I think is remarkable for a book under 300 pages. It felt so odd to be reading a book about abuse, kidnapping, and murder where I felt so disgusted but also intrigued by the bond these girls had with each other and how, while horribly wronged in most ways, these girls seemed treated as princesses in others. It really made me sit back and think about how many similar scenarios there have been in real life kidnapping/abuse cases.

The other reason that I didn’t give this 5 STARS was the ending. Dear God, you gave me this whole fantastic book and ended it like that? I completely respect that the author was trying to whip out an unexpected twist at the end, but it just didn’t make sense. I kept scratching my head at her explanation of some things and it was like drinking a fine, expensive wine with a burger from McDonald’s. What. The. Heck. Other than that, this book was severely addicting and definitely more shocking than most I’ve read, which really says a lot because I read a lot of twisted crap. If you feel you can stomach it, this book is definitely recommended! I’m interested to see where this author goes with her next story.

* I received my copy via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
July 12, 2022
criminal minds s11e14 in a nutshell
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,608 reviews5,999 followers
August 12, 2016
Suppose you woke up and wasn't at home? You are in a very strange new place. You are disoriented from being drugged and then a girl with a huge butterfly tattoo on her back tells you that this is your new home. A garden that is overseen by The Gardener. The Gardener has chosen you to be one of his "Butterflies."
Before we go farther let's discuss what exactly that means. The Gardener is a sick, sick man. He captures women and brings them to this garden so that he has his own little weird harem. He rapes them whenever he feels like it, tattoos their backs as another way of making them his, oh and as an added bonus? If they piss him off, get pregnant, turn the age 21 or any other multitude of sins...he kills them and places them is a resin case so that he can still admire his butterfly collection.

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Now the FBI has came in and stomped his little dream life. The story is told by one of the "Butterflies" as she is being interrogated about the whole shebang. The girl Maya grew up pretty rough so the FBI agents aren't exactly sure how much truth they are getting from her especially as she seems to like provoking one of them. She does tell her story though and this part of the book is fascinating.
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Her voice tells her story even before the garden and I became attached to her character. The author makes you become attached to all of these girls and their stories. Even my cold heart hurt at some of their fates.

Then the Gardener's two sons get involved with play time. One is a nutjob and one is a bit more sensitive. I thought they both were jerks and had a hard time finding any belief in the good one especially after the way he wanted to be daddy's boy.

Daddy is a turd.
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There is soooo much to discuss in this book but I don't want to spoil. It's very readable since I've been book slumping and haven't wanted to read a thing for weeks. I finished this in almost one sitting.

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There were some things that just didn't add up. I usually don't post any spoilers for books intentionally but this one is driving me batty. I wanted to give this sucker all five stars just because it made my dark heart beat faster..but some funky stuff happened.

Don't hit the spoiler thingie if you are going to whine about me spoiling.

I want people to read this one and discuss..because I'm frustrated and have some blue balls! (That does NOT mean I want trolls to come here and tell me how stupid I am.)

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.
Profile Image for Maxine (Booklover Catlady).
1,322 reviews1,253 followers
August 15, 2023
The Gardener likes to collect butterflies for his collection...

This book left me speechless! One of my favourite reads of 2016 so far and a book I will never ever forget reading. The synopsis just sucked me in and from reading the very first paragraph I knew my choice to delve into this novel was a good one. Time just flew by and I lost track of my life as I read this exceptional novel. This one got me on so many levels. I can't rave enough.

Let's have a taste of what pulled me in:

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding...

Maya is one of The Gardener's collected butterflies, young women "collected" and kept by him to admire, touch and "love". None of that in a healthy way. Nope, not at all. Each woman is chosen for her beauty and receives her "wings" after joining the other butterflies. He tattoos huge wings on the back of each young woman, each one a different type of butterfly, each woman given a new name. What happens to these women will break your heart into a million pieces, a trillion pieces. I felt SO many emotions reading this book and found the plot absolutely fascinating yet disturbing at the same time.

The Gardener has been honing his collecting skills for a very long time. When May wakes up in The Garden it's not long before she takes on a role of helping and caring for the other girls/butterflies, especially his newly collected ones who are of course totally horrified when they realise the situation they find themselves in. Captive, free to roam but within The Gardeners limitations.

He truly believes he loves and cares for his specimens. He wants to look at them forever. Forever.

The book cleverly switches timeline between Maya's story IN the garden and her telling the FBI her story and the story of the other butterflies. So the synopsis does alert you that Maya obviously finds her way out, but we don't know how. I kind of wished that the freedom element of the book was a surprise twist but can see why the book was written as it was.

It has some quite disturbing scenes in it, but it utterly fascinating and the pace is consistent, ensuring you don't have a moment of boredom. You will be drawn in to the story before you know it. The book has some strong characters and quite a lot of them as we get to know the other butterflies, what is done really well is that you don't lose track of any character despite their being a few. Each is done with clarity and each I will remember as a distinct individual in fiction.

This book absolutely must be made into a movie, it would be utterly spectacular! This one gets 5 stars from me and goes straight to my long-list for my Top Reads of 2016 and will be a hot contender. I can't recommend this one enough. Go grab it readers! Beautifully disturbing.

I received a copy of this novel thanks to the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a professional and honest book review, many thanks.

Profile Image for Fabi.
1,010 reviews146 followers
November 20, 2019
The Butterfly Garden is a chillingly brilliant concept. Major kudos to the author. But...

Where is an editor when you need one?!

On the surface, this is a gripping tale of survival. I understand why so many people are finding it riveting. But it didn't work for me. I realize this will be a wildly unpopular review but I'm going to try to spell out the reasons why I found it impossible to immerse myself in the story.

First of all, I don't usually read psych-thrillers. I'm more comfortable with tech-thrillers and medical-thrillers. I think it's because with psych-thrillers we are expected to believe these are real people experiencing things in our current, real world.

So, you tell the real world, given 20 young, healthy women between the ages of 16 & 21 against 1 middle-aged man, can you think of a single reason why they couldn't overpower him?

The reason given in the story is "fear". Fear of death, because he will kill anyone caught trying to escape. HOWEVER, he will kill them So they stay and wait for death,

Again my friends, picture a large group of 16-21 year old women. Realistic? Not in my world. Our heroine stays I wish you could see my face right now. Disbelief is putting it mildly.

I almost put the book aside at 65%...and at 85%. Did I struggle through it? You betcha. But it was a buddy read, so with the help of another reader (thank you Ela!) I was able to vent while reading and continue on.

I did make a comment to my buddy readers that most male authors would never portray a woman as being so pathetically weak. It makes me wonder if the author is a misogynist. Except, wait...I believe the author is female. Can females be misogynist? Maybe. I don't know. However, there is more I had a problem with.

The 2nd MC, the psychopath. No excuse or reason or even hint was given for his behavior. If you're going to give me a character that is a vicious psychopath, I need to see him as a vicious psychopath. Our Gardner was consistently and thoroughly portrayed as a loving, fatherly/husbandly figure who cared for his girls' well-being; strict but kind. Never-mind that he killed them if they misbehaved. Even that was done with care and compassion. Ummmmm - GIVE ME A HINT THAT HE'S A CRAZY FUCK. I had to constantly remind myself that he was the "bad guy". Readers need a "tell", a hint of some sort that there is something not quite right with the character. If the character is written as a loving father figure, then that's all we have to go by. When his actions don't match his portrayal, it's jarring, inconsistent and too bizarre to be believable.

Speaking of unbelievable, let me introduce you to Desmond, the psycho's second son...

Finally, finally, finally we get to the end of this back and forth between past and present (did I mention that's the setting of the story? She's sitting in an interrogation room with a couple of FBI agents telling her story.) The ending not only fell flat - it fell flat on it's face and flattened its nose. Have you ever lit a firecracker that turns out to be a dud? Here you are, expecting a loud bang and you get a 'pffft'.

I was EXHAUSTED after I finished this book. Major thanks to Ela and our other buddy readers because I would have never made it through the story without the group support.

I'm giving two stars instead of one because it was strangely compelling. I kept reading in the hopes that something would change and make it all come together for me.
Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,337 followers
January 8, 2017
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Whew! This was one of the creepiest stories that I've read in a long time. It was just so damn sick that I can't wrap my mind around it. This one was disturbing and bizarre, but I loved it!

This story is told from the POV of Maya, a young woman that has just been rescued from a serial killer, and the FBI agents that are interrogating her. Maya refuses to be rushed as she recounts her tale, to the utter frustration of the agents. The story alternates between the past and present, as Maya provides the horrifying details of her abduction and captivity.

While this type of storytelling, with frequent flashbacks, often seems disruptive and disjointed to me, it really worked for this story. In fact, I'm not sure that I would've enjoyed the story if it hadn't been broken up between the past and present. Too much time in the garden all at once might have been too much to handle. Regardless, I think that the way this story was told, gradually revealing the secrets of the garden, was brilliant.

Maya, along with several other girls, lived for years in captivity. They were abducted by a man they refer to only as "The Gardener" and kept as living "butterflies" in a fully enclosed "garden". The Gardener is, not surprisingly, one very sick individual. He repeatedly rapes the girls and eventually murders them, preserving their bodies in glass cases. Yet, he has convinced himself that he has "saved" these girls and that he has somehow honored them in death.

As if The Gardener weren't enough to handle, he has two sons. Avery, is feared by all of the girls. He is sadistic and cruel, taking pleasure in the suffering of the butterflies. Like his father, he is one sick individual. The younger son is less violent, but disturbed in his own way. While Avery relishes the taboo activities that take place in the garden, his younger brother struggles with the brutal reality.

Despite the dark nature of this story, I did not find the abuse to be incredibly graphic or detailed. It is clear that the girls are repeatedly raped and abused, but most of the details are left to readers' imagination. Believe me, the details of the abuse are not required. More effort was put into describing the aftermath of the abuse, describing the physical effects of the abuse rather than the actual incidents, giving a pretty clear picture of what transpired.

Since most of the girls are taken as teenagers, child abuse is clearly a prevalent theme. Toward the end of the book there is one particularly disturbing account of abuse that is especially difficult to read. If these are topics that you cannot handle, then you might want to reconsider reading this book.

Although the scenario painted in this book is possible, it is very implausible. This is the type of story where you have to be willing to overlook some of the details that are highly unlikely. I questioned many things, as I listened to Maya's account of her captivity.

For example, there are around 20 girls between 16 and 21 years of age. Yet, they never try to fight back or gang up on any of the 3 guys, even though they are usually alone and unarmed. Okay, maybe they're just so damn broken and conditioned that they wouldn't even try.

Then there's the fact that the police search the grounds at one point, but never even go into this huge "garden" within a garden. How exactly do you make a structure with 20+ bedrooms and an indoor atrium with water features completely disappear? I don't buy it.

I won't give away the ending, but I will say that it was a bit too convenient for me. I didn't think that the "connection" made was necessary at all. It was just one more thing that was too hard to swallow for me.

That being said, I very much enjoyed this story. It was dark, disturbing and creepy as hell. It kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish, waiting to see how Maya and the others came to be rescued as I took in the horrifying account of their time in captivity. It was fascinating and brilliantly told.

I listened to the Audible version of the book and the narration was pretty good. I liked the female narrator more than the male narrator, but since his parts were fewer it was not a big factor for me. Overall, it was a great book.
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,021 reviews97 followers
October 12, 2017
This book is featured as this week's pick for Throwback Thursday @

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison is a captivating thriller. The collector a.k.a. “The Gardner” begins collecting girls and tattooing them with beautiful designs. His plan is to keep them until they reach a certain age and then make them permanent fixtures in his garden for all to see. The girls know their fate, but it’s a mystery exactly how and when it will come about. Maya is one of those girls, and the brave one. The Gardener sees something special in her and it might be more than he can handle as she devises a plan of her own.

I liked the characters and felt they had good development. Maya is tough and the main character throughout the story as she’s interrogated by the FBI while giving her side of the story. The Gardener isn’t completely understood, but what serial killer is? Here we have a man who’s living a separate life in his fantasy garden, and it works. When reading the book, I had flashbacks to some of my favorites like The Silence of the Lambs and Kiss The Girls.

I wasn’t sure if I liked the format of the writing, but still remained fairly fascinated with the story. I found it difficult to read at times and even nightmarish, especially when Keely comes into the picture. It’s definitely not a book everyone will enjoy as it contains rape, kidnapping, and other sick and twisted events, although it seemed that some details were spared and it wasn’t overly gory. There were many twists and turns and it didn’t feel predictable at all.

There is a weird twist toward the end, but unfortunately, the ending was too abrupt and I wasn’t thoroughly satisfied with it. I still give this one 5-stars for captivation and a unique story.

This is one of my favorites for 2016.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.8k followers
August 20, 2019
ugghhh. my heart is saying this story is worth 3 stars, while my mind is saying 2. im quite conflicted.

argument for two stars - never have i read a “thriller” that was so boring. oh my gosh, i thought i was going to die. this is just soooo slow. and i think a lot of that has to do with the delivery of the story. its told through flashbacks of maya recounting her time in the garden during a police interrogation and shes just so nonchalant about everything. the reader kind of finds out why later, but her total lack of emotion about everything makes the reader not feel anything as well. its very less than thrilling.

defence for three stars - one of the most uniquely twisted stories ive ever read. the concept is so disturbing but, like a car wreck, its impossible to look away. i thought there were a lot of heavy and dark themes present, which showed the author took a lot to time to think this story out. and even though it was boring, it still kept me reading.

so i guess i will compromise. 2.5 rounded up to 3. win-win? lol.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Mary Beth .
382 reviews1,774 followers
May 16, 2017

Wow! Dynamite! What did I just read? So dark, disturbing, and torturing. Pure Evil! At the same time, even though I was horrified with it, it was my kind of book. It dealt with all kinds of different feelings and emotions, that I still have after reading this book. I could never forget this book. It kept me up all night long turning the pages. Before picking this up I give you a huge warning but it is so fantastic! It is not for everyone. If you haven't read it yet, you need to read it A.S.A.P! It is not for the faint of heart. Definitely not! I devoured this book. Even though it was so disturbing, the character development was done so well. The author is so brilliant and her prose is just written beautifully. The descriptions are so beautiful. This book has the perfect blend of beauty and ugliness. I just loved the writing style.

The book starts out with FBI Agents interviewing a survivor, a butterfly set free from captivity. The young girl is named Maya. She is one of the butterflies and is a survivor from a serial kidnapper/rapist/serial killer. As Maya is telling her story, the FBI Agents learn more about the man known as the Gardener, who kidnaps young women and tattoos butterfly wings on their backs before raping them and keeping them captive in his garden. I am not going to give any more of the plot. You are just going to have to pick it up and read it.

Like I said earlier the characters are done so well. The Gardener is just pure evil. I just hated him. The Gardener has a couple of sons and one of them is worse than the Gardener. He is just too creepy. Maya is one of the captive butterflies and I loved her the best. She was very mysterious, sarcastic, brave, strong and smart.

I recommend this series to all those who love a dark disturbing fantastic thriller.
Profile Image for Beatriz.
834 reviews723 followers
August 15, 2018
Un libro terriblemente emotivo y hermosamente escrito, a pesar de las aberraciones que nos cuenta.

En primera persona a través de la voz de Maya, una de las sobrevivientes de “El Jardín”, conoceremos su historia mientras es entrevistada por los agentes del FBI a cargo del caso. La autora se luce con efectivos saltos en el tiempo para caracterizar a este inquebrantable personaje, pasando por las duras experiencias de su infancia, la búsqueda de su identidad siendo apenas una adolescente y, por supuesto, la vida durante su secuestro junto a las demás “mariposas”.

La novela cala hondo sin la necesidad de caer en descripciones burdas o efectistas, por el contrario (y dentro de lo posible) la narración es bastante delicada, ya que más que centrarse exclusivamente en los abusos, profundiza en valores como la amistad y la lealtad, así como disecciona el concepto de amor, de todo tipo y desde distintas miradas, incluso la de El Jardinero.

Un estilo que atrapa y que te mantiene pendiente de la lectura incluso mientras no estás leyendo, en que no hay página de desperdicio y ninguna parte en que decaiga el interés.

Absolutamente recomendable.
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,255 followers
September 7, 2016
I found myself engrossed by the writing and story in the beginning. I needed to know what happened to these girls called “butterflies.” I needed to know how they finally got away. I needed to know how they came to be in the garden. I’m a sucker for an excellent thriller. This one had the makings of one filled with originality and horror. The creepiness finds its way deep under your skin tearing through to your soul. Unfortunately it didn’t stay quite as exciting as I hoped through the middle and had the most disappointing ending I’ve read in some time. That shouldn’t take away from the author’s ability to craft an original idea that immediately captivates....until it just doesn't anymore.

The story starts with the FBI trying to piece together what happened in what is know as the Garden to the girls knows as “butterflies.” They were held captive by a man they called the Gardener. Sick and twisted things were done to these girls including permanently marking them with giant wings. I don’t want to give away all the details, but there is rape and a psycho son. The Butterfly Garden is a disturbing display of love for the Gardener.

We alternate between present day with the perspective of an FBI agent as the FBI attempts interviewing Maya and Maya’s perspective as she tells her story to the agents. I really enjoyed this format. It helped to add suspense, intrigue, and kept just enough mystery until each twist was revealed. It allowed me to question Maya as a narrator, never quite knowing whether to believe every word she was saying.

The problem is I didn’t exactly care about everything Maya had to say. Sometimes she went on these tangents about the most random things or people and I just couldn’t bring myself to care. She wasn’t saying anything substantial. In a way I get how this is where a lot of the excellent characterization came from, but honestly I just wanted her to shut up. I was bored and in need of Maya moving the f on. Oh..but the ending is what bothered me more than anything. I thought it lacked the explosiveness a story like this deserved. The twist that is supposed to shock and awe only had me thinking how much it made zero sense.

The Butterfly Garden hits on stockholm syndrome in a way I’ve never seen before. It wasn’t exactly enough..
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,288 reviews3,230 followers
June 28, 2020
The Butterfly Garden reads like a derivative of Tarryn Fisher's Mud Vein. And much like my experience with MV, this book kept my attention from the first and until the last page; yet, I found it so vacuous I'm almost certain that I Iost some neurons.

Firstly, the plot holes had holes.
Secondly, the kidnapped victims seemed (to me) to suffer from a serious case of self-indulgence mixed with an inexplicable lack of self-preservation.
Thirdly, if other book villains somehow got the opportunity to meet "The Gardener", they would, without a doubt, revoke his villain card. Listen, a villain doesn't get to kidnap, kill and preserve girls in formaldehyde all while playing hide n seek with them. Okay?
Lastly, that plot twist really should have been left un-twisted
Profile Image for John Mauro.
Author 5 books524 followers
June 5, 2023
My complete review is published at Grimdark Magazine.

Dot Hutchison’s The Butterfly Garden is a dark masterpiece, a disturbing psychological thriller and gruesome crime novel overlaid with a relentless sense of horror. All these elements come together fluidly in this exceptionally well-written book that is full of suspense and unnervingly dark plot twists.

The plot of The Butterfly Garden involves a group of girls who are kidnapped and held captive by a deranged wannabe lepidopterist known only as the Gardener. The Gardener tattoos giant butterfly wings onto the backs of the unwilling girls and rechristens them with new names as they are imprisoned in his secret butterfly garden.

This is only the beginning of the horrors that the girls will encounter at the hands of the Gardener and his even more sadistic firstborn son in The Butterfly Garden. There is a glimmer of hope in the Gardener’s younger son, but will he have the courage to stand up to his elder brother and tyrannical father?

The story alternates between the first-person narration of Maya, one of the kidnapped girls and the main character of the novel, and Maya’s third-person interview with the FBI agents who are investigating the case. Dot Hutchison effectively uses these alternating first- and third-person narrative styles to maintain a heightened level of suspense throughout the novel, keeping the reader guessing until the very end.

Maya is an outstanding narrator, full of dark wit and keen insights. There is also a specter of potential Stockholm syndrome hanging over her narration as the true horrors of the butterfly garden are gradually revealed.

Maya’s account of the events in the butterfly garden are interspersed with stories of her troubled family background. It is especially interesting to see how Maya’s experiences as a child shaped her approach for surviving abduction and caring for the other imprisoned girls.

The Butterfly Garden is the first volume of Dot Hutchison’s series, The Collector. Rather than continuing with Maya, the subsequent books in the series follow the same set of FBI agents as they investigate new cases. While Maya is a very well-developed character, I didn’t feel any particular attachment to the FBI agents in The Butterfly Garden, since they are basically vehicles allowing Maya to tell her story. Given this choice, I’m curious to see how Dot Hutchison takes this series forward.

Overall, The Butterfly Garden is top-notch horror that explores the depths of human cruelty, especially at the hands of an exceptionally disturbed and sadistic man who bestializes young women. After reading this novel, I will never look at butterfly gardens the same way.
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday .
2,055 reviews2,105 followers
December 3, 2016
Once or twice a year, if I am lucky, a get to read a book that really touches some inner part of me. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison is such a book.

I had not heard of Dot Hutchison before picking up The Butterfly Garden. Now I want to read every word she has ever written, and every word she is going to write in the future. Once I started reading, I could not put it down.

Despite the beautiful title, the subject matter is quite dark, horrific in places. And yet Hutchison writes with an ironic humour that had me smiling and even laughing out loud. She has also had me in tears at the terrible things we humans do to each other in the name of love; and at how negligent we can be, especially towards children.

The story is told from an interesting perspective. The garden, where young women are held and tattooed to resemble butterflies, has already been discovered when we start this journey, and the survivors are all hospitalised except for one, Maya. She is being questioned by FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison. Their questions and her answers take her back over her time there.

The Butterfly Garden is an outstanding read and is currently at the top of my ten best reads of the year.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing a digital ARC of The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Profile Image for Katie Colson.
680 reviews6,938 followers
August 25, 2022

I’m so glad I had no idea what this book was about before going in. It made the reading experience that much more intense.

It is eerie and horrifying but also beautiful in this most macabre way.

This man really loves these girls in his own twisted psychopathic ways. It’s disturbing to see how much he cares while he’s imprisoning and murdering them. Simply wild. Barbaric but also aesthetic. That’s the best way I can put it.

This book falls in line with other books I’ve immediately given 5 stars and that’s that they did something a book has never done for me. I’ve never read a book quite like this and for that reason, it lives rent free in my head.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
852 reviews3,883 followers
February 15, 2021

For more than a year now I've been making little pictures for my reviews, and this is the first time it doesn't feel right, especially if using a butterfly. Thinking about letting my mind wander around that particular insect makes me sick, if I'm completely honest. I'd rather not express my thoughts that way because it would feel a little like corrupting myself.

Those who read The Butterfly Garden know.

The only art I can think of is a huge, covering splash of black paint, for some reason. I'm sure psychologists would have things to say about that, but then, I am not one of those. Perhaps I would be more equipped to review this unforgettable novel if I was, but somehow I doubt that it would change a single thing. I sure don't regret being speechless, because I would feel uncomfortable with myself if I was not.

I'm sure you would love for me to make some kind of sense, though? Alright.

The Butterfly Garden is a disturbing, dark, unforgettable novel that you won't be able to put down until the very end, whose sick atmosphere will grab you instantly and attach you to its characters whether you like it or not. Once I turned the first page, I knew that I couldn't rest until I learned everything Maya had to say, even if it meant going through a fucking nightmare.

The Butterfly Garden is not the kind of novels where Stockholm syndrome is praised and called love. It seems baffling to me that I have to point that, but we can't ignore the ridiculous amount of these love stories now can we? Do not fear, The Butterfly Garden is definitely not a love story (and again, a statement whose need baffles me, given the subject handled).

Although I would be lying if I told you that it was an easy journey to take, I don't regret exploring this twisted and gruesome story one second. Perhaps it's the complex and true-to-life characterization. Perhaps it's the never-ending suspense. Perhaps it's the compelling writing, part poetic and part trivial.

Really, though? Despite the complaints I could have considering the believability, it's how deeply it affected me, because in this news-saturated world, I believe that we need books that don't let us indifferent. The Butterfly Garden sure didn't. How could it?

Trigger warning : Rape & Violence.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
135 reviews141 followers
May 31, 2017
This was a decent enough psychological/mystery/horror thriller - that won't be to everyone's liking; due to the subject matter.

It starts off with two FBI agents, Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison, interviewing a young woman, Maya/Inara, who was rescued with other girls that were being held captive by a person only known as 'The Gardener.'

The story is told in third and first person perspectives. The third person being in the interview room (mainly), and the first person is where she gradually tells her backstory of how she ended up becoming a 'butterfly' - which is not fast enough for Eddison. He wants to push the suspect/witness harder - but Hanoverian is more patient than his partner. She does like to wind Eddison up, when an opportunity presents itself, which is fairly often.

The Gardener' kidnaps, tattoos and then rapes his victims; once the tattoo (of a butterfly) is complete. Each girl has a different butterfly and namesake: The gardener lives in a mansion, which has an outer garden; but its the inner garden area where the girls are kept; so no-one knows they are there. The girls' have their own designated rooms and showers; they are fed well, and are given clothing to wear; specifically what 'The Gardener' wants them to wear, of course. And they seem to make the best of the hand they've been dealt; despite knowing their ultimate fate, in which the 'Walls of Glass' is a constant reminder. I'm still trying to eradicate that image from my mind. Anyway, birthdays aren't a time of celebration. Why don't they try to escape? Well, there's only one way in; and the door is key-coded. Plus, self-preservation is a good motivator: they're scared. The Gardener is bad enough, but he's not the only threat; there's another.

The captives seem to have 'Stockholm Syndrome' - but they've been conditioned to behave; except for one, who does have 'Stockholm Syndrome - and she's the cook-nurse. When a girl dies, another will take her place, when 'The Gardener' goes hunting for a replacement.

In Summation: It's an interesting story, which is a bit of a slow burn; mainly because Hanoverian doesn't push Maya/Inara too hard, I guess. The switching from the third to the first person narratives took a bit of getting used to, as it happens often. And there was a surprise at the end I didn't see coming. I'll definitely be checking the sequel 'The Roses of May' out, sometime.
September 28, 2017

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09/28/17: This book is currently $1.99 for Kindle (and so is the sequel!)

Huge thank yous to the author and publisher for putting this book up on Netgalley. It's probably one of the best books I've received for review from that site this year. I'm rather desperate to get my hands on A WOUNDED NAME now. Authors who excel at doom and gloom are so few and far between

But Hutchison does. Oh, boy, she does.

I would be very surprised if Hutchison never read John Fowles's THE COLLECTOR - the parallels are numerous. Both are about obsessive men who compare women to butterflies and see them as sexual fetish objects to be owned and collected. Both are about women held captive who are desperate to escape. That said, I am not implying that THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN is derivative in the slightest. It is possible to be influenced by other work(s) and still make your story your own - something Hutchison does with great skill. Honestly, it reads like Gillian Flynn decided to rewrite THE COLLECTOR as a dysfunctional harem in the style of James Patterson's Alex Cross books, and it's darned good.

Maya was taken from the Garden. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are interviewing her to find out about the other girls and also about the man who called himself the Gardener. As the interview unwinds, we are left with bits and pieces of the story. The Gardener kidnaps young women and tattoos butterfly wings on their backs. He keeps them locked away in a glass harem, until they turn twenty-one-years of age. All the girls are marked with death the moment they come into his "care."

Maya had a dysfunctional childhood that forced her to become street smart at a young age. She knows how to read people and how to manipulative people, and she's not above using either of these skills in order to help escape. But as she gets to know the women she's trapped with the walls come down, and she finds herself more emotionally involved than she ever wanted to be - especially when some of her friends end up dying.

The writing in THE BUTTERFLY is gorgeous. The pacing is also really good. I found myself reading large chunks of this at a time without getting bored, which is often a good indicator of how good the author is at spinning out tension. I also loved the gritty realism in this book. One of the reasons I love Gillian Flynn's work, for example, is because she isn't afraid to write flawed female heroines or anti-heroines. Hutchison is much the same - she's damaged and can be a little cruel herself, which I appreciated, because given what she's gone through, why shouldn't she be?

I also really liked how The Gardener wasn't a stereotypical villain. He had moments of kindness, and even though he murdered and did terrible things to his was chilling, because you could tell that he didn't think he was doing anything wrong. He really believed what he was doing was love. His sons, Avery and Desmond, were also interesting characters - Desmond, especially.

Anyone looking for a good psychological thriller/mystery will do well to read THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN. It's clearly influenced by a lot of great writers, but does an amazing job standing on its own two feet. Would love to see a movie version of this book one day! Think of the costumes!

4.5 stars!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,540 reviews9,969 followers
May 27, 2016
This book was my kindle first May pick and it's very disturbing. *TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE*


In terror she spoke, letting sink her wings till they trialed in the dust--in agony sobbed, letting sink her plumes till they trailed in the dust--till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

But my wings couldn't move and I couldn't fly, and I couldn't even cry.
All that was left to me was the terror and the agony and the sorrow.

This story is about an evil man only known as the Gardener. He has a beautiful garden with a water fall and creek and flowers and butterflies. But he also has other butterflies and they are HIS girls. The girls he takes, preferably at the age of sixteen so he can keep them until their twenty-first birthday when he can preserve them FOREVER. At least for the girls that live that long.

He tattoo's intricate butterfly wings on their back and has them wear dresses without the back so he can always see the wings. He is a very different kind of captor, he rapes them and treats them all kindly until he preserves them. It is the strangest book I have ever read about a captor/prisoner situation. That is the reason I gave it 5 stars. This is a book unlike any I have ever read. I have to be careful at reading books about rape. I usually skim over parts if they are too much. In this case the too much comes with the after descriptions and that is performed by the Gardener's evil son Avery. The Gardener punishes Avery when he hurts a girl too badly or kills her. He banishes him for some time but not forever. I would think he would keep him out of his garden forever.


The main character of the story is Maya. She is telling the story of the girls lives to them after the accident saved some of their lives. It's very macabre and sad. I think this author did a great job at writing a book like I have never read before.

Although there is some vindication at the end I wish there was more. I would recommend this book to people that like psychological thrillers because it is just messed up.


I love butterflies, but I will look at them a little differently now.

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Warda.
1,211 reviews19.7k followers
January 24, 2022
Thriller where? Horror where?

How do thriller novels have the audacity to be this boring? That’s not part of your job description.

I’m so annoyed.
Profile Image for Kylie D.
464 reviews516 followers
May 13, 2019
In a beautiful garden, with gorgeous flowers, streams and waterfalls are the butterflies. But not just any butterflies, these butterflies are human, stunning girls, taken as teenagers by a man they only know as the Gardener. The Gardener, who loves his butterflies so much he imprisons, tattoos and rapes them. Then one day the garden is no more... This is the story of one of the butterflies, Maya, as she is interviewed by the FBI after their escape/rescue. It is a powerful story, when you finish reading it you just sit there and reflect on what you have just read. This is one book you'll remember for a long time after you finish it
Profile Image for Kendall.
644 reviews653 followers
June 7, 2017
WOW... alright ladies and gents listen up... What a dark and beautiful mind f**k!

This book was truly disturbing and graphic and let me tell you definitely NOT for your average thriller lover. Firstly, let me just say I will never look at a butterfly the same way again.. like EVER. This was such a uniquely crafted novel! It completely sucked me in and I could NOT put it down. I devoured this like a triple cinnamon cupcake from Sprinkles (my obsession).

The novel starts off with a former captive "butterfly" in the care of the FBI. The FBI has raided this so-called Butterfly Garden and has more women recovering in the hospital and some that are dead. But, I was wondering... wtf is a butterfly? The story is told from the former butterfly's point of view ("Maya") switching from past to present. As the reader, you are placed into being "beautifully" branded as a butterfly living in a "garden" with your master known as The Gardener.

This book is sick, twisted, and creepy as hell. These women are help captive and are brutally raped, murdered, and treated JUST like butterflies my friends. This I have to say was extremely brilliant on Dot Huchinson's part. Man, I almost felt wrong to think the writing was beautiful.

The ONLY minor issue I had with this book was the ending. The book was a 4 course delicious meal and then I wasn't given my piece of dessert. The author tried to do a final twist at the end but I'm sorry Dot it just didn't flow... like AT ALL.

Overall, strong 4 stars for this one!!
Profile Image for Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》.
293 reviews724 followers
August 12, 2016
"But my wings couldn’t move

and I couldn’t fly, I couldn’t even cry.

All that was left to me was the terror

and the agony and the sorrow."

Wow! this was like totally fucked up!

Not very long ago Captive in the Dark was the craziest book i knew of. I couldn't even imagine any other book being able to beat the creepiness of that story. Then came You, and Joe just blew my mind. But these two books are rainbows and adorableness compared The Butterfly Garden. The thing with CitD and "You" is, Joe and Caleb are sociopaths.
I get them. I feel for them. As fucked up as it is, i'm on their side. They are my guilty pleasure. This book on the other hand is just plain wrong. There were some scenes that left me feeling physically dirty. They made my skin crawl! I can't even decide weather i hate this book or absolutely love it. It was so captivating i can't bring myself to give it anything less than 4 stars. I am not going to do a detailed review, it's better if you go into it knowing as little as possible.


Let me paint you a picture:
So, these two love birds were being cute/having fun/doin it and all that crap.
The girl looks up and sees his brother standing in the doorway, jerking himself!!
Both brothers start arguing, still in that same position.
Then, daddy decides to join the part as well.

I don't know if this book is starting to get to me or what, but i find this hilarious!!
I was crying.. laughing!!
Literally, tears!

ARE YOU FUCKING TELLING ME ALL THESE GIRLS CAN'T TAKE DOWN ONE ASSHOLE?! I am only 20% in and i'm already feeling sick to my stomach. Ugh, someone kill him already.

Just because all my favorite people love it so much. I have no idea what to expect but it's free on Kindle Unlimited, so why not? :D
Profile Image for Kayla Overbey.
129 reviews9 followers
May 4, 2016
Due to a VERY slow day at work, I started and finished this book in one day! It was captivating, brilliant, and nauseating. I loved the writing, and the story felt so original. Kudos to the author.

Why did I knock off a star? One big reason:
I didn't like the ending. It all seemed too wrapped up, and the "surprise" just felt unnecessary. It didn't add anything for me other than a confused, "seriously?" feeling. After everything, THAT was the secret she'd been holding back from the police? Eh, not for me.

But the rest of the book is so good and so worth reading. I love the sorta-split POV, how it bounces seamlessly between past and present. While the main character was a little unbelievable at times, the author did a great job of crafting her backstory and habits so that any doubts I had at the beginning became more plausible. I'm not sure why this is categorized as an adult thriller (yes, the content is super graphic, but the writing and POV felt YA to me).

SO all in all, 4 stars and a recommendation from me.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,097 reviews17.7k followers
June 7, 2018
I was good at escaping people, not manipulating them.
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars. I've been sitting here with my mouse frozen for a little while now because I have to say, this could have been a five up until the final chapter. I'm joining the ranks of almost every reviewer on the page - the ending reveal is horribly anticlimactic, and I'd argue that element should've been changed.

Yet aside from that one element, and just being overall kind of underwhelmed, I did really really like this?

I've listened to a full five hours of this audiobook today and I think that formatting was a major misstep. The male narrator's character voicing is horrible; his Maya only has one tone, that of annoyance, and lacks the depth she's given in her own swaths of narration.

And that's a shame, because I LOVED Maya. She's a very complex character; one who's hard to figure out, and one who's not entirely pure at all times. Or maybe not at all. In fact, she's quite hard to figure out; empathizing with the other girls one moment, but keeping to herself the next. I did want a bit more out of her in the antihero department, but as a character separated from my expectations, I adored her.
At night the Garden was a place of shadows and moonlight, where you could more clearly hear all the illusions that went into making it what it was.

The amazing thing about this book is its tone; even in moments where everything is hell, the book manages to keep things rather tonally flat, giving the book its signature creepiness. It executes perfect tonal shifts and never falters with its delicious horror.

And while The Butterfly Garden never went the full distance I wanted, I do think this story is suspenseful and Maya's character is quite compelling. It came so close to being one of my new favorite books; just not quite there. I wanted more.

Trigger warnings for abuse, rape, and a lot of generally messed-up content. I'd recommend this as a creepy read, although not as a mind-blowing one.

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Profile Image for Megan Johnson.
47 reviews78 followers
June 21, 2016
This book was one of the best I have read. It had so many twists and turns in it that you couldn't help but keep reading the book!

This book was one creepy book! I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but if you don't have a good stomach, I wouldn't read this book..

Honestly, this is one of the hardest books I've had to review. You really can't say much without giving away the entire book!

The one thing I will say is take notes! You will forget shit... so much is going on in this book at all times.

The end will get you though! You'll just...... have to read the book!
Profile Image for Felicia.
254 reviews945 followers
August 26, 2018
This book is dark with a capital favorite kind.

Favorite Quote:
“Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.”

I am now a Dot Hutchinson fan. The imagery she is able to create with words is beyond reproach. Highly recommend for those that enjoy a good mind-fuck.
Profile Image for Jess☺️.
488 reviews84 followers
October 12, 2018
The butterfly garden by Dot Hutchison Is the first book in the collector series and I definitely can't wait to read the next 2.
My god after reading this my emotions are all over the place they run from hate, sympathy , and confusion.
This book is a disturbing suspense filled psychological thriller all in one. I'm never going to be able to look at butterfly's the same way ever again.
Dot Hutchison had written this book in such away you need to keep turning the pages and wish that normal everyday life will just hold on a minute so you can finish, there is no chapters so it just keeps flowing from now and then.
Certain parts in this book can be hard to read but the details are to a minimum while you mind fills the blanks in.
I highly recommend this book.
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