Waiting for Butterflies is an achingly tender portrait of a mother whose love reaches beyond the possible.
When tragedy strikes, Maggie discovers a mother's love never ends--not even when her life does. Longing for her family after her sudden death, she becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family's downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing.Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother's death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence.Although limited by her family's grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out.
|Publisher:||Amphorae Publishing Group, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Karen Sargent has a B.S. in English-Secondary Education, an M.A. in Teaching Rhetoric and Composition, and 22 years of experience teaching literature and writing at the high school and college levels. Her students have earned publication, scholarships, dinner at the governor’s mansion, and (for 14 years in a row) all-expense paid trips to Washington, D.C.
Karen has served multiple terms as president of regional and state English teachers’ associations. She has presented at numerous state and regional English and education conferences, and she has been blessed to receive regional and state teaching awards, including the Robert J. Greef Award from the Missouri Association of Teachers of English, Southeast MO English Teacher of the Year, and the Heartland’s Best Teacher Award from KFVS-TV.
In addition, Karen served four years as editor of the K-12 student publication, Missouri Youth Writes, and she completed the Missouri Writing Project, which is affiliated with the National Writing Project. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the Missouri Writers’ Guild, and attends the Heartland Writers’ Guild and the SEMO Writers’ Guild.
Karen lives in the beautiful Arcadia Valley with her husband and two daughters.
Read an Excerpt
Uncorrected First Chapter - Waiting for Butterflies
Maggie heard the key in the front door and looked at the clock on the nightstand, 1:48 a.m. Nearly twenty-four hours had passed since the phone had jarred her awake and Sam out of bed. From his side of the conversation, she gathered an officer had been shot. “An off-duty detective” was Sam’s only offering as he secured his weapon in his shoulder holster and clipped his badge to his belt.
“Who?” she had called after him, but he was already out the bedroom door. Throughout the day news anchors filled in a few details: an officer, who remained unnamed due to a continuing investigation, had been found fatally shot in his parked car near an abandoned boat dock on the Mississippi. The shooting occurred around midnight, and her only communication with Sam had been a text saying he would be home late.
Maggie waited up, tucked into her reading chair in the corner of their bedroom, a leather journal open on her lap. The magnitude of the day weighed heavily on her. Her heart was so full of the agony she knew her husband felt that she was surprised there was roomfor more. But there was. Earlier in the evening a new grief found a vacant place and crowded in. Maggie prayed she could keep it hidden. Sam needed her now, even though she wanted nothing more than to feel safe and protected in his arms. When his footsteps echoed in the hall, she closed her journal and put down her pen.
“Mags, why are you still up?” Sam lumbered through the doorway toward her. He placed a hand on each arm of the chair and leaned forward, his face inches away. Grey eyes, full of sadness and dull from the late hour, found hers.
“I’m so sorry.” She placed her hand on his cheek, and he pressed into it, resting a moment. “Do you want to talk?”
A sigh rose from deep inside as he pressed his lips against her forehead. “Right now I just want to take a hot shower and collapse.”
He ran a hand through his tousled hair as he stood. The silver at his temples seemed more distinct, the creases in his forehead more defined.
“You’re exhausted.” Maggie loosened his tie and untucked the front of his shirt.
He leaned his head back and squeezed the back of his neck.
“Who was it?”
Hesitating as if saying the name would be physically painful, he unbuttoned his collar and turned toward the bathroom. “Ricky Simms. And we don’t have a single lead.”
“Oh, no,” she whispered as the realization seeped in. Sam blames himself.. Ricky Simms was the new detective Sam had handpicked for his division. He’d groomed the rookie officer, told him to wear the uniform a few years to make himself a viable candidate, and joked that Simms reminded him of his younger self when patrolling the streets couldn’t provide the challenge he sought. And there were no leads. Was this it? Would this be the cold case that ended up in a box coated with dust and pushed to the back of a dark shelf, haunting her husband the rest of his career? Maybe not. It had only been one day. How many times had Sam voiced his disdain at Hollywood’s unrealistic portrayal of police work? This wasn’t a one-hour TV drama. But Maggie knew the first twenty-four hours were crucial.
She reached for the journal and squeezed it in her hands, measuring the weight of the prayers she had written inside, some with answers and some still waiting. Certain prayers demanded to be written down. The hustle of the day often made it difficult to settle her mind and left her feeling as if her prayers disappeared quicker than visible breath on a frigid day. But when she needed to explore precisely what she was feeling, thinking, questioning, the journal kept her focused. She picked up the pen and rolled it between her fingers. A tinge of guilt bit into her. Sam should have been the center of her prayer tonight. But he wasn’t. Nate was.
Maggie could no longer shake the weariness that had enveloped her a few hours earlier. Sam started the shower, and as if on cue, sorrow stung her. She tried to blink away the tears, but it was no use. She opened the journal. The words of her last entry blurred.
Lord, I know children are a gift, not only that you give to us, but a gift we give back to you. You allow us the privilege of experiencing the kind of unconditional, all-consuming love you have for us by giving us these little people to raise for you, to someday return to you with hearts that know you. But not when they are only nine-years-old, right? Forgive me, but I just can’t wrap my heart around it, Lord. What is the purpose?
She placed her pen on the page and continued.
How will Nate’s mom get through this? How does a mother watch her little boy slowly lose the battle for his life? How does a mom
Her hand froze. Did she dare write the words, so visible, so undeniable? Her fingers pushed the pen forward.
hold on to her faith ... as she lets go of her child?
The confession weighed on her, crushing her heart, making each beat labored, pounding, painful. To separate herself from her words, she closed the journal and ran her fingers over the smooth brown cover. Her thoughts wandered to morning. She longed to sit on the edge of Olivia’s bed and wake her with a kiss, letting her face linger beside her child’s, breathing in the warmth of her sleep. She imagined Rachel’s morning sounds across the hall, dresser drawers opening and closing, the shower starting, her voice carrying the melody of her latest favorite song above the spray. Then she pictured Nate’s mom. What familiar sounds would be replaced by silence in her morning?
Nate’s mom, a woman Maggie knew only through pictures and a blog she stumbled upon months ago where she learned about their fight for his life. She followed their struggle, celebrating when the news was good, praying when it wasn’t, all the while marveling at the depth of his mother’s faith, her lack of anger, her total acceptance of God’s will. And each week she fell more in love with the little boy whose smile betrayed the disease that ravaged him.
Last week’s post had been a good report: Nate’s blood counts were up, and the doctors were encouraged by the initial results of a new experimental treatment. But today, when the latest post appeared, shock and anguish sliced through Maggie as she read the single sentence his mother had written: “Last night we laid Nate in the arms of Jesus.”
“What are you writing?”
Sam stood in the doorway to the master bath, toweling his hair. His athletic build from the early years of their marriage was still evident despite the approach of middle age. His bicep flexed at the movement, and Maggie longed for the strength of his arms around her. She clasped the journal once more before tucking it into the side table drawer.
“Oh, just ... stuff. You know” She resisted the urge to lighten her burden. Although Sam would want to know about Nate, it wasn’t the right time
“Stuff? I’ll never get that, Mags. When something bothers you, you write. When something bothers me, I need to hit golf balls or chop wood, work through it.” Sam grabbed her hands and pulled her to him.
“Yes, that’s what you always say.” Her smile was gentle. “But it’s not just writing, remember? It’s praying, too.”
“Yeah, I don’t get that either. But that’s okay. Praying about a problem is your department; doing something about a problem, that’s my department.”
Sam’s arms encircled her waist and her body rested into him. His familiar scent was therapy. Her heartbeat slowed, her tension eased.
“Come on.” He pulled back and kissed her forehead. “Let’s get some rest.”
Maggie slid into bed and tucked herself close to Sam, inviting sleep. But his breathing didn’t ease. While she teetered between both worlds, he was still working the case. Resisting the rest that lured her, she skimmed her fingertips up his arm and across his chest. His muscles were rigid, his whole body tense. “Want to talk?” she asked.
“No.” His chest rose and fell. “Yes. If there was something to talk about.”
He was holding back, as he often did, not disclosing information in order to protect the investigation, or maybe to protect her from worry. But he might succumb with a little encouragement. “There has to be something. What’s your instinct tell you?”
“My instinct?” He grunted. “It doesn’t matter what my instinct tells me. It only matters what the evidence tells me. And there is none.”
“Come on, Lieutenant Blake. Trust yourself. You’re good at what you do.”
He shifted from his side to his back and stared toward the ceiling. The investigation reclaimed her husband. Attempting to keep him with her, she traced a path with her finger from his temple, along his jawline, down his neck. The combination opened the vault.
“It doesn’t add up.”
His jaw clenched beneath her fingertips.
“Simms was off duty. He’d worked the day shift with me, and had to be back on at 7:00 a.m. So what was he doing parked at the riverfront so late?” He shook his head. “He was a good cop, Maggie. I know my detectives.”
She sensed a question in Sam’s statement. “But?”
“But ... something’s off.”
He grew quiet again. Maggie brushed her fingers along his temple, imagining thoughts ricocheting inside his head like silver orbs in a pinball machine.
“Ricky was shot at close range, through the driver’s window.” His voice was t a whisper.
“A murdered detective, a mysterious gunman. This is Cape Spring, Sam, not St. Louis or Nashville, and not some big city we hear about on the news.”
“The kind of headline you hear on the evening news somewhere else, right? But it happened. Here. To Ricky Simms.” Sam raked his hand through his hair. “No evidence, no witness.” He turned back on his side and pulled her close. “Does all this make you nervous, scared?”
“A little. But after all these years of being married to law enforcement, I’ve learned I can’t walk around worried every moment you’re at work. It’s not in my hands.”
Sam kissed the back of her neck. “Good. Don’t worry. I can take care of myself. I will take care of myselfso I can take care of you and the girls.”
And that’s all it took. A sob swelled in her throat. She tried to hold back but the tears surfaced.
“Hey, what’s wrong? Come on, Mags. Don’t cry. It’s going to be okay.”
“I know. It’s not that. It’s just ... well, I don’t want to go into it, but what if something happened to one of the girls? I don’t think my heart could survive.” She’d presented Sam a mystery, a giant leap from the Simms case to this, but she refused to burden him with the details.
“Why would you say that? Nothing is going to happen to Rachel or Olivia. This doesn’t have anything to do with the girls.”
“It’s just been on my mind tonight, and I can’t stop thinking about it.” Her throat tightened, restricting her voice to a whisper. “Losing one of the girls is my biggest fear.”
Sam lay still beside her. She imagined him visiting that horrific place for a brief second.
“I’m so” she started.
“No.” He shook his head. “We’re not talking about this. It’s late and we’re both exhausted.”
His arm tightened around her. “Nothing is going to happen. Our girls are healthy and happy and safe. And we’re both here to make sure they stay that way.”
“Promise?” Maggie said.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Where to begin? I just finished this book at the last stretch of the last minute because … life. You know that is such a valid excus-reason for everything that goes sideways when you have a perfectly planned out blog schedule. If it helps at all I am super disappointed in myself. This book was so very amazing that I wish there was more time to savor it. I mean, I own the book so that’s totally a thing that can happen, but I wanted to languish through the pages and just absorb the emotions and feelings and experiences of this family. I wasn’t overly sure what I was thinking when I signed up to review this book. Don’t get me wrong the premise intrigued me. The cover image was breathtaking, even it if was purple. I just wasn’t 100% sold but I knew that not reading the book was not optional. I’m gonna be honest. I started the book with a sinking feeling since I knew what was going to happen. I savored each little tell, each morsel up to the moment I knew was coming. Please, you’ve read the synopsis you know it happens! From that moment I was invested. There was no turning back. I was all in. My heart was tied to this family. For the love of gravy I am struggling with this review. I want to tell you so many important things. But those things will possibly spoil this book for you. That can’t happen. Set in a foundation of faith with a heap of love on one side and a toss of grief on the other this book carries you through with this family as they lose their anchor (mom/wife) and discover each other. While also showing what it might be like on the other side, gone and watching your family flounder through. I’ve never read this author before but I have to say I’m impressed and I’m on board with reading more by her. This is definitely one that I could recommend for basically everyone. Grief is not one size fits all. Faith isn’t either. This book gives you a different look at both. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by CelebrateLit. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
Family, love, happiness, tragedy, rebuilding, faith
Waiting for Butterflies was a book, at least for me, that was somewhat difficult to read. Not so much for the “controversy” itself, though that did have me wondering. I think it was really the time of year, I lost someone very precious 5 years ago at around this time, so this story was a bit more emotional for me. The positives: the author writes well and even with a difficult subject drew me into the characters, all of them, and had me feeling their emotions. Each family member was suffering in a certain way and that made me want to hug each of them. I felt Maggie’s death was senseless and so the actions that led up to her early demise upset me. It happens too much in real life. I felt for Maggie as I am a mother as well and I can’t even imagine how she felt when she wanted to comfort her kids or her husband and she could not. She was watching her family from the outside and could not communicate with them as she had when she was alive. I didn’t like her not belonging somewhere; she was just in a no man’s land of sorts. As far as the story goes, there is resolution at the end. It is not for everyone; especially in light of what belief you may have concerning what happens to people’s souls when they pass away. This is author Sargent’s ‘what if’ and I do so appreciate authors’ imaginations, hence why I read fiction. To sum up my review: this story is unique and asks questions that most of us have had at some point in our lives and proceeds to answer those questions in a heartfelt and heartbreaking story. I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
The idea behind Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent is very interesting- exploring a mother’s love and if it could be powerful enough to overcome death itself. While this is a very different premise than those usually found within Christian fiction, it is approached in such a way that it isn’t distracting to the story. Once I was able to wrap my mind around what is happening, that in some way God has allowed Maggie to remain present with her family in order to attempt help them and get closure herself, I was able to connect with her- her fierce love for her family and determination to do what is necessary to take care of them is something that will resonate with those of us who are moms. This is a very emotional read, so have your Kleenex handy, but I felt the grief journey was handled in a way that allowed me as the reader to focus on the entire story, and not just the intense pain that follows such a devastating loss. As the story unfolded, I was quickly drawn into the life the characters and began rooting for them. Several times the tears in my eyes forced me to set this down, but when I got to the end, I told my husband, “this book was emotional…emotional and hard, but so very good.” If you are on the fence about reading this book, I encourage you to read it!
This was a fantastic book. Make sure to have Kleenex ready because you will need lots of them. I did not want to put this book down because I had to know how this family was going to cope with the tragedy that struck them. Each member of this family needed to learn to cope in their own way. This explains many aspects of a tragedy with beautiful words. I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent is a poignant story of a family's journey through grief. Maggie and Sam had a reasonably happy life together with their two girls, dealing with the typical issues with work and family life. Then one night a head-on collision changed it all. With an interesting twist to a story of grief, readers find Maggie's spirit lingering in the home, helplessly watching her family fall apart. Sam is a police detective who struggles with faith in Maggie's God. Will this world-shifting loss break him? Rachel, 14, is devasted and has a terrible secret that is eating her up, causing her to make sad and desperate choices. Will she be able to work through her grief without destroying herself? Their world has changed but as Maggie had reminded them 'if nothing changed, there'd be no butterflies.' The characters are strong, compelling, and evocative...the reader is quickly pulled into their feelings and actions. There is a richness to the story that captivates and resonates within the reader. With this debut novel, the author has done an expert job with dialogue, tension, action, and with satisfying surprises at the end of the story. I am looking forward to more from Ms. Sargent. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via CelebrateLit. A favorable review was not required and opinions are my own. This review is part of a CelebrateLit blog tour.
Page turner. This book deals with death and the possibility of remaining as a spirit. I found it to be fascinating and loved it, but some people may be offended as it doesn't fit the mold of their beliefs. To me it is about the love of a mother so deep that she has to make sure her family is going to be ok. The characters are so believable and stick with you even after you close the book. The family dynamics are realistic and some of the issues dealt with are hard to read about, but show how our teens can be sucked in by the world. Faith is an important element. The author has a way of drawing you in from the beginning and doesn't disappoint with her delivery of the story. After reading this I definitely want to read more by Karen Sargent. One of the best books I've read this year. I received a complimentary copy from the author/CelebrateLit. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Although the main character is a “lingering spirit.” I found the story one that touches on family hurts, beliefs, the reality that a loved one is gone and how each family member has dealt with it, a touching story. Whether you choose to believe in lingering spirits or not... the thought put forth in this story is one I enjoyed reading. I was gifted a copy and my review is voluntary.
Waiting for Butterflies is the debut novel by Karen Sargent. An emotional story filled with struggles of a grieving family after the lost of, Maggie Blake, a wonderful wife and mother to Detective Sam Blake, Olivia and Rachel. Maggie and Sam had agreed they would keep their children safe, only for Maggie to lose her life shortly afterwards. Sargent has Maggie’s spirit lingering with her family as they find their new norm following her funeral. Detective Sam is overwhelmed and knows he needs to be there for Olivia and Rachel. Olivia is sure her mother is there with her while Rachel, who was 14, was skeptic thus causing more tension in the home. The twists and turns of Maggie’s spirit within the home kept the pages turning, along with Sam making life changes. Sam’s love for Maggie grows as he reads her journal and takes on a project that was Maggie’s dream. Will Sam be able to save Rachel from self destruction? How will this family come together with a beautiful butterfly garden displayed in the end? Readers will appreciate the beauty of this story and the underlying message of faith, hope, and love that each one needs. I received a complimentary copy of Waiting for Butterflies from the author as part of her tour with Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review but have shared my honest thoughts.
First, I got the book after my wife finished reading it. She had told me about it and said she was crying by chapter five. She told me it only got worst. So, when I promised to read it, I was sure that I had made a mistake. Surely this was one of those books that appeal to one sex more then the other. I started to read the book with skepticism. By the fifth chapter, I was aware of what my wife was saying, but I had a different response. Where my wife was drawn into the emotional aspect of the work, I was fully engaged in the story line. I found the material to be appealing in a very different way than my wife had experienced it. Ms. Sargent had fashioned a dynamic and suspenseful tale that kept me reading chapter after chapter without putting the book down. I had to know what was going to happen next. As I reached the end of the text, I was surprised multiple times and my head spun as she closed the novel in the most interesting and compelling way. The book is a GREAT read and though my wife saw the emotional side I was aware of the emotion and captivated by the intrigue. It reads fast and is filled with vibrant descriptions. I would highly recommend this book for all readers.
I just finished reading "Waiting For Butterflies" and a couple of boxes of tissues. The story is warm and inviting. Karen tells a story of life's many challenges and how one family responds to them. The structure of the story is clean and makes following the characters easy. Karen shows clearly that Christian life is not simply attending church, but about a true relationship with God. It pushes each one of us to examine our own relationships, with God and each other. Thank you Karen
Karen Sargent’s Waiting for Butterflies tells a beautifully captivating story following the unexpected death of Maggie. As her spirit lingers, she watches as members of her family grieve her in different ways, handle of host of emotions, and strive to establish normality again. These characters, with their experiences and emotions, feel real and well-developed, and I felt with them as I read Waiting for Butterflies. While difficult and heartbreaking in circumstance, it offers an uplifting and thought-provoking story of love and loss. I quite enjoyed reading it and recommend it to readers of contemporary inspirational fiction. Thanks to Singing Librarian Book Tours, I received a complimentary copy of Waiting for Butterflies and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
Karen Sargent taps into a personal part of life, its end and the aftermath for those missing a loved one, a friend, a colleague. In Waiting for Butterflies, we meet the family of Maggie Blake. Maggie’s end came suddenly and unexpectedly. Left behind are her husband, Sam, and two daughters, Rachel and Olivia. As you might expect, each of their hearts is broken but in a different way. Sam misses the love of his life, his wife, mother of his children, his helper in life, the woman he talks to each night before the lights go out. Rachel, in her teens, is angry at God for taking her mother away, and at herself for reasons I can’t give away. The younger daughter, Olivia, misses her mama singing to her at night and reading to her. Olivia actually experiences talking with her mother in the days following Maggie’s death. Family differences always bring a struggle, but imagine three family members grieving the same loss in such different ways. Yet, Sargent manages to weave a fine thread of hope, one of love, and another of expectation throughout these three journeys. In so doing, she gives her readers hope, love, and expectation when it comes to our faith in God who gave up His Son for us. Sargent is not preachy in her sharing the possibilities in believing in a life after this and/or in God. She simply tells the story on her heart as if you were in her kitchen sharing a cup of coffee. With the turmoil in our country and our government, it was pure joy to pick up a book that made me feel hopeful instead of distressed. A book that shared the joy of a family travelling three different paths through grief to come together in joy when they begin to understand the truth in all that had happened. Karen Sargent is an exceptional writer. She brings to the page characters who exude reality to a level the reader senses their emotions. Settings are like paintings lavished with air, color, and aroma. The story line maintains rhythm and is well paced. A true joy to read. Recommended for those who have suffered loss and grief. For those looking at how to walk different paths in one family while grieving the same lost loved one. Suitable for family reading based on parental discretion. My thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.
This is a compelling and uplifting book! Any parent will be able to relate and find hope in the Blake family story. Waiting for Butterflies is sweet and sentimental at times, yet also raw and real in its' depiction of mistakes made by family members both in the past and present. While the family grapples with modern problems, their struggle to retain their faith is timeless. It's a lovely story. The Blake family will find a place in your heart.
If you are fascinated by the subject of life after death then this is the book for you. I couldn’t put this book down once I started reading it. I was immediately drawn in by Maggie and her family and the conflicts even after death.
Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent is a deeply touching story of the strength of family and a mother’s love that knows no boundaries. Ms. Sargent is truly talented in her bringing her characters to life and the story is so well written that I didn’t want to put it down. In a creative and fluid way, she touches several tough topics including adultery, death, cutting and the dangers of technology. I think one of the best parts of the story development was the teenage daughter, Rachel. Her struggle to deal with her heartbreak is told in such a powerful way. More importantly, its done with realism. Waiting for Butterflies seriously blew me away. It’s a must read and absolutely gets five out of five stars.
WAITING FOR BUTTERFLIES is a beautiful redemption story, wrapped in heartbreak, loss, and suspense. These are real characters, some you identify with, some you know, others you come to know and cherish. Often Christian fiction can paint characters and situations to be shiny and safe. One of the things I love most about this story is that it goes to the heart of loss and hurt and the pain and confusion that follows death in an authentic way, and leaves you with hope--not the shiny kind, but the real kind that promises that good can come from hard. This is a page-turner, and I've cried every time I've read it, for different reasons each time. I love these characters, and I can't wait to read more from this author.
Waiting for Butterflies Engaging from the very first page. Waiting for butterflies is a volley between prose and poetry. Beautifully written story of love, faith, and the reality of family life with burdens and blessings along the journey. Carefully crafted with good character development as tragedy and loss embraces hope and faith and the evolution that healing can deliver. True to its Title Waiting for Butterflies carries the reader from troubled times of despair as a car accident takes Maggie’s life but the author skillfully weaves a beautiful story of healing around Maggie’s spirit remaining in her loved ones’ presence as they each learn to cope with their loss. The imagery of butterflies brings tears of joy as Maggie’s spirit lets go as hope replaces their emptiness.