Customer Reviews for

The Butterfly Cabinet: A Novel

Average Rating 3.5
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Well-written but readers will be sickened by main character

    This eerie novel is based on true events that took place on the north coast of Ireland back in 1892, and the plot is what you would definitely call, "an acquired taste." The two main characters of this haunting piece of fiction is a former nanny by the name of Maddie McGlade, and her boss - a wealthy, evil, aristocratic woman named Harriet Ormond. As we begin our story Maddie is now in her nineties, and she finds herself back inside the Ormond castle. The same structure that Maddie walked into when she was just fourteen-years-old to work, is now the Oranmore Nursing Home. Maddie's time on earth is slowly coming to an end when she receives a letter from the last of her charges which 'sparks' the need to uncover the long kept 'Ormond' family secrets that have weighed her down for decades. She tells the story of the Butterfly Cabinet - an object she received that once belonged to her employer, Harriet, and held a diary that was kept by her old mistress while she sat in prison for murder. Readers are shown a family that had it all - wealth, connections.everything. Harriet and Edward Ormond had an almost obsessive relationship as man and wife. Having eight children in total, the sixth child, Charlotte, was the only girl. And for some reason, perhaps because Charlotte had a strength and powerful attitude that her brothers did not possess, Harriet was almost tyrannical towards her daughter. Maddie remembers the times when she would hear cries in the night as one of the children was locked inside a wardrobe; or, the 'thumps' resounding from another hall where Harriet was making sure that her victim's head was smacked repeatedly against the stairs in order to teach that child a lesson. One evening, Charlotte goes from being an abused child to a murder victim, and her mother is taken away and placed into Grangegorman Prison. The story that unfolds is told from both women's POV's and, frankly, the reader will be so disgusted by Harriet that they'll find themselves angry that this is a woman who not only received a sentence of just one year for murdering her own child, but also because she was pregnant with her ninth - another poor creature to be raised by the hands of a monster. The author has certainly put together an extremely well-written novel, seeing as the characters are so real that readers will be absolutely sickened by Harriet - especially considering our present-day news that has created headlines across the country for another young girl who will never receive justice. Quill Says: Again, this is an acquired taste. The writing is well-done, but the plot is not one that is easy to recommend.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2011

    Slow Moving

    Disappointed in this book...great premise but the story moves so slowly and you know the ending by page 40. Character development was weak and just didn't care or were interested in the two alternating narrators.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2012

    More hype than actual story

    I was a little disappointed at the end of this one. The premise sounded unique and interesting andd the story itself was, but i kept waiting for this great reveal that never happened. And it fot slow in several places and weighed down with extra story that haf nothing to do with the plot. i actually just skipped ahead a few times. Still glad i read it, but not sure id recommend it to others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Good but short!

    Good story to ready but I wish the twist would have been just a bit more. It's like you knew there was a twist and once you got it..you just want it to be bigger. However, it was a good read...I would recommend

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    The Butterfly Cabinet

    Excellent book. Enjoyed it immensely.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    Debi's blog review

    My list check for blog book review

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Can i join?

    My name is Stormheart and i am a medicine cat without a clan. I am a calico shecat with short hair and hazel eyes.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Galestar

    StormClan territory. Im leader. Already called it.

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    Umm

    I would jike to be Galestar

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    .

    .

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I wanted to love this story, I really did. It seemed to have a

    I wanted to love this story, I really did. It seemed to have all of the required elements of the type of story that can really suck you in and keep you turning pages. A death of a child that is based on true events, the hint of secrets to be revealed, the telling from two viewpoints, that of the accused and that of a former employee of the accused. In the end, though, it just did not deliver.

    The story is told in two formats. The first being through diary entries written by the Harriet Ormond, mother of the dead child, who is ultimately accused of murdering the child. These entries I really enjoyed. I thought the author did a good job telling a believable story of life for a wife and mother in upper class England in the late 1800s. I especially liked the ruminations that she made regarding her passion for collecting butterflies and the parallels that could be drawn to the life of her and her family. This part of the book is the only reason that I was able to stay with it, and in the end give it a 3 star rating.

    Unfortunately, the author included the other story. That of Maddie, a maid int he household and her recollections at the age of 90 regarding the events that took place. Maddie tells her story is a one sided conversation with one of Harriet's descendants. This part of the book I found to be disjointed and lacking any real emotion or depth. It is the main reason that I cannot rate the book higher. When Maddie's chapters occurred, I found myself reading quickly so that I could get back to Harriet's story.

    The other reason that the book cannot be rated higher, in my opinion, is that it certainly did not live up to its promise of secrets revealed. Yes, there were secrets, and yes, they were revealed. Unfortunately, they were in no way stuning, compelling, or story altering. In the end, the secrets revealed where ho hum and as such, a huge let down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    Disappointing

    I was expecting something magical like the wardrobe closet in The Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe but was disappointed.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Great read

    Excellent!!! Comparable to Jane Austen books.

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  • Posted August 30, 2011

    Read it in a day!

    I could not put this book down, it strung you along and kept you interested in the details. Good book!

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    super historical thriller

    In 1968 nonagenarian Maddie McGlade is a resident of the Oranmore Nursing Home in Portstewart, Northern Ireland. A decade ago she promised to tell her last charge Anna a story of when Maddie was a young housemaid at the Oranmore Castle in 1892. Now pregnant Anna wants to know what happened to the girl who was her Aunt Charlotte though long dead before she was born. She asks Nanny Madd, the last living person who was a witness to what led to the death of her aunt and the incarceration for much of a year of her pregnant grandma (carrying Anna's mom).

    Seven decades of concealing what happened led to the death of four yeas old Charlotte Ormond in 1892. Charlotte's rigid mother Harriet the butterfly collector was accused and convicted of murdering her daughter. The nasty woman insisted it was an accident, but no one believed her as she was a strict disciplinarian of her child though like her daughter pinned inside a glass prison just like her butterflies.

    Based on a true event, this super historical thriller rotates perspective from Maddie telling her side of what occurred and the prison diaries written by Harriet but kept by Maddie. The former nanny explains her fears including of falling back into abject poverty while arrogant Harriet explains her frustrations of going from one prison to another and if freed from jail back to her family prison. Readers will appreciate this wry intelligent suspense summed up nicely at the end by Maddie when she muses that the Russians and Americans are in space while the Irish cannot travel from Belfast to Derry without killing someone.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2011

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    Posted July 18, 2012

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    Posted June 4, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

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    Posted December 30, 2013

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
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