The Butterfly Girl

The Butterfly Girl

by Rene Denfeld


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“A heartbreaking, finger-gnawing, and yet ultimately hopeful novel by the amazing Rene Denfeld.” —Margaret Atwood, via Twitter

After captivating readers in The Child Finder, Naomi—the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children—returns, trading snow-covered woods for dark, gritty streets on the search for her missing sister in a city where young, homeless girls have been going missing and turning up dead.

From the highly praised author of The Child Finder and The Enchanted comes The Butterfly Girl, a riveting novel that ripples with truth, exploring the depths of love and sacrifice in the face of a past that cannot be left dead and buried. A year ago, Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she finds the younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of a strawberry field at night, black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life.

The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets like ghosts, searching for money, food, and companionship. The sharp-eyed investigator soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for months, many later found in the dirty waters of the river. Though she does not want to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of children in need—and the fear she sees in the eyes of a twelve-year old girl named Celia. Running from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother, Celia has nothing but hope in the butterflies—her guides and guardians on the dangerous streets. She sees them all around her, tiny iridescent wisps of hope that soften the edges of this hard world and illuminate a cherished memory from her childhood—the Butterfly Museum, a place where everything is safe and nothing can hurt her.

As danger creeps closer, Naomi and Celia find echoes of themselves in one another, forcing them each to consider the question: Can you still be lost even when you’ve been found? But will they find the answer too late?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062698162
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Series: Naomi Cottle Series , #2
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 41,885
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Rene Denfeld is an internationally bestselling author, journalist, licensed investigator, and therapeutic foster mother. She is the author of the novels The Child Finder and The Enchanted. She has also written for the New York Times Magazine, The Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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The Butterfly Girl: A Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Twink 5 days ago
Rene Denfeld follows up her last novel, The Child Finder (devoured it in a day) with The Butterfly Girl. This latest continues the story of Naomi and the search for her missing sister. Naomi is a private investigator with a specialty - she finds children - lost, stolen, missing and kidnapped. She seems to have an uncanny ability to ferret out clues and traces of a child's passing or presence. That ability is honed from experience - she too was a lost child. She escaped, but has no memory of what came before that time. A year has passed, a year of following hunches - and Naomi senses she is close when she arrives in Portland, Oregon..... The reader knows more than Naomi - we're privy to the what is happening with the children on the streets of Portland through one girl's voice. The danger is palpable and we can only urge Naomi forward. But is she any closer to finding her sister? Tension populates the pages of The Butterfly Girl. And turned this into a one sitting read for me. Naomi is such a great lead character - driven, determined, intelligent, but wounded. The supporting cast of Jerome and Diane are just as complex and have their own stories to tell. And the young players at the heart of the book will break your heart. Denfeld's measured prose conjure up detailed images and ideas. The novel is never rushed, despite the urgency of the search. Ties between the characters are explored, as is the relationship with one's self - all with a keen eye for the human condition. As with The Child Finder, love, loss, redemption and the power of the human spirit are woven throughout The Butterfly Girl. Gentle readers, note that there are abuse triggers in this novel. How is Denfeld able to capture and portray such difficult situations and events with such a keen eye and thoughtful voice? This quote from the author's notes speaks volumes.... "This book was raised by libraries and love. I wouldn't be a writer today if not for the public libraries of my difficult childhood, and the books that saved me with story. I will never forget the librarians of the downtown Portland, Oregon, library who expressed care for me when I, too, was a homeless kid. Thank you for showing me a path through the pain, and the beauty in the darkness." "Thank you to my clients in my day job as a public defense investigator, including the trafficking victims, homeless, refugees, immigrants, veterans and others who have filled my life." Another excellent read from Denfeld. I'm hoping there's going to be another Naomi book.
Babygotbooks13 7 days ago
4.5 ⭐ rounded up I absolutely loved The Child Finder so I was super excited when I found out the sequel was coming out this fall and it did not disappoint. This book was a nail biting mystery/thriller that I couldn't put down and read in one sitting. I highly reccomend this book along with The Child Finder to everyone. What I loved about this book: Naomi has been and will always be one of my favorite characters. She uses what others may have considered a weakness to build a career around saving children that have been abducted or bring closure to the parents of the children that were murdered. I wish there were more people like her in this world and less that have dealt with the abuse she suffered. I love how this book brings awareness to the issue of street kids. They are kids/teens trying survive on the street and often have to do things to survive that breaks my heart. While I myself do not have a great solution to this problem, I agree that we can no longer ignore it. Most of these children are running from abusive situations with no where else to go and are forced to deal with things that no child should have to. Our children are our future and they are all important, nobody is a throw away. The author's own experiences as a street kid really brings to life the struggles and hopefully encourages more people to do something about it. I loved the tiny bit of information you learn about the Kalapuya indigenous people and how the fact they had their land stolen was mentioned. This happened all over the US and the only true Americans were abuse and murdered by the Immigrants who settled here (all of the white people). I think our current history books are so white washed that I find it refreshing when an author finds a way to slip a little historical awareness into their book. I am a melting pot of nationalities, but I am proud that it includes Native American ancestors. The writing in this book is something that makes reading about the atrocities happening to these children somewhat bearable. Her poetic writing makes it easy to imagine the characters and I found it very easy to connect with so many of them. Her words are thought provoking and her acknowledgements are definitely worth reading because she talks about her own experiences as a homeless teen and how important the public libraries were to her. This book is one I highly recommend you read and I'll be thinking about this one long after I've finished. I want to thank Netgalley and Harper Collins for this review copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
CatAfterDark 8 days ago
THE BUTTERFLY GIRL is the direct sequel to THE CHILD FINDER and is another beautifully written novel by must read author Rene Denfeld. It's tells the story of homeless children on the streets of Oregon; how some of them get there and the people who work save them. Make no mistake - this is a book of horror and child abuse. It is sad, yet hopeful. It can be read as a stand alone novel, but like coming in during the middle of a movie, why would you want to do that? Start at the beginning, and enjoy. Both books are highly recommended.
CatAfterDark 8 days ago
THE BUTTERFLY GIRL is the direct sequel to THE CHILD FINDER and is another beautifully written novel by must read author Rene Denfeld. It's tells the story of homeless children on the streets of Oregon; how some of them get there and the people who work save them. Make no mistake - this is a book of horror and child abuse. It is sad, yet hopeful. It can be read as a stand alone novel, but like coming in during the middle of a movie, why would you want to do that? Start at the beginning, and enjoy. Both books are highly recommended.
Karenrmicone 12 days ago
Love love love the character Naomi Cottle, and was so excited to read another book, as The Child Finder was excellent. Once again, Naomi is embattled in her search for missing girls, this time her sister. She meets Celia, an eleven year old living in the streets. What happens next is a brutal look into the foster care system, homeless and missing children, and the bond of sisters.
SheTreadsSoftly 13 days ago
The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld is a highly recommended investigative mystery. Naomi Cottle is a child finder, a private investigator with a special ability to find missing children. Naomi returns to Portland, Oregon, to search for her missing younger sister. As a young child, Naomi escaped her captor, but had to leave her even younger sister behind. In Portland there are scores of young homeless children roaming the streets, doing all sorts of heartbreaking, risky things trying to survive. There are also young homeless girls that have been turning up dead in the city. While on the streets, Naomi notices the children, especially a twelve-year-old girl named Celia, and the fear and mistrust in their eyes. Celia, who loves butterflies, escaped from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother. She fears for her younger sister, but no longer trusts the system to do the right thing. She feels safer on the streets with her friend Rich than she does in her home, and she always has the library where she spends time reading about and drawing butterflies. Danger is moving closer to both Celia and Naomi, as they slowly become acquainted. This is a heartbreaking, beautifully written novel that showcases Denfeld's experience with and knowledge about homeless children living on the street and the foster care system. Although, at times, because of her personal experiences, the narrative does lose sharp focus on the plot and focuses more on the harsh realities and plight of the homeless children. It is an appalling situation, and stands out in stark contrast to Celia's dreaming about butterflies. The characters are well-developed, and even though could easily follow the narrative, I think it might have been better to read The Child Finder first and then The Butterfly Girl. I still felt like I was missing part of Naomi's story. So I recommend reading The Child Finder, the first book featuring Naomi first. The topics are harsh, and could be difficult for people who have experienced childhood trauma and sexual abuse. There is hope and a future at the end. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.