Friday, August 19, 2011

The Butterfly Cabinet - Book Review

August has been an interesting reading month for me. I've been running like crazy doing all kinds of fun stuff with the family. At the same time, I've been fighting off a cold. By the time I fall into bed, very late, each night, I just don't have any more energy to stay awake and read.

It took me longer than I expected to read The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill. I had trouble getting into it and then I had trouble finishing it. I'm also having trouble finishing the review. This is my third and hopefully final attempt.

The Butterfly Cabinet is a novel based on a true crime in Ireland from the late 1800's. A child is locked in a closet as a punishment and dies. Her mother is sentenced to prison for murder. The basic plot intrigued me immediately.

The novel alternates between two narrators--the mother's prison journal and the house maid's recollections to the granddaughter of the murderer, neither of which I particularly cared much for.

The author uses language to her benefit. She has a lovely way of describing the situation and excels at exposing the secrets, fears, and thoughts of two very different women. There are multiple sentences so lyrical that I had to stop and read them again. The prose is delicate and kind while revealing the darker parts of a person's life.

The novel delves deeply into the themes of motherhood and marriage. There is much to think about regarding a mother's love and the line between abuse and punishment.

However, this novel was less than enthralling for me. The suspense fell flat and I was disappointed by the ending that didn't seem to fully fit with the mother's earlier persona and actions.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publishers in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.


Brimhalls said...

Sounds kind of depressing. Of course I finished a Holocaust book minutes ago, so I'm kind of in a sad mood. I think I'll skip this one. Thanks for the heads up!

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

Thanks for the review. I appreciate that you are honest with your opinions! The plot sounds interesting to me and I love the cover.

Laura@livingabigstory said...

I don't know if I could take a book about this subject.