The Butterfly House
January 1, 2005
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". . . the butterfly, like a young girl, is a fragile creature that lives for only a moment."
"As a caterpillar emerges from its cocoon and becomes a beautiful butterfly, so does Marcia Preston?s rendering of The Butterfly House."
The jewel bright wings of a butterfly are powerful enough to carry it safely on the most savage winds but touch its colorful wings and it will never fly again. Although strong and beautiful, the butterfly, like a young girl, is a fragile creature that lives for only a moment.
Bobbie Lee’s refuge from her mother’s drinking is Stonehaven, a house built into the side of the mountain that harbors the eternal scent of green growing spring, the breathy kiss of butterflies on the wing, and Lenora and Cincy Jaines who opened their hearts and their home to her until one fateful night when their world goes up in flames. The fire took Bobbie Lee’s mother’s life, but it also destroyed the remaining links to Bobbie Lee’s sanity and her last ties with normalcy and happiness.
Ten years later, Bobbie Lee, seemingly happy and healthy, but hiding a dark secret, faces Cincy’s father who was supposedly killed in Vietnam. He shows up on her doorstep and demands Bobbie Lee tell the truth about the night of the fire and help him get Lenora out of prison where she serves a sentence for starting the fire and killing Bobbie Lee’s mother. How can she free Lenora? Bobbie Lee still cannot face the knowledge that her mother tried to kill her?
As a caterpillar emerges from its cocoon and becomes a beautiful butterfly, so does Marcia Preston’s rendering of The Butterfly House become something more than a mystery or the story of four women struggling to find peace. The single bright thread of Bobbie Lee’s seemingly fragile hold on sanity propels the story forward at a deceptively simple pace that shifts into high gear so subtly you never feel the jolt. Preston’s characters are both beautiful and fragile and her clean narrative style never gets in the way of the story or the rich tapestry of the characters’ inner lives and voices.
Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell
Categorised in: Book Reviews
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