Book Review: The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

Posted on 08/13/2014 in Book Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail HansenThe Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen
Published by Harper Collins, William Morrow Paperbacks on August 6, 2013
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Suspense
Pages: 298
Format: Paperback
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Eight months after dropping out of Tarble, an all-women's college, twenty-two-year-old Ruby Rousseau is still haunted by the memories of her senior year-a year marred by an affair with her English professor and a deep depression that not only caused her to question her own sanity but prompted a failed suicide attempt.

And then a mysterious paisley print suitcase arrives, bearing Ruby's name and address on the tag. When Ruby tries to return the luggage to its rightful owner, Beth Richards, her dorm mate at Tarble, she learns that Beth disappeared two days earlier, and the suitcase is the only tangible evidence as to her whereabouts.

Consumed by the mystery of the missing girl and the contents of the luggage-a tattered copy of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, the book on which Ruby based her senior thesis, and which she believes instigated her madness-she sets out to uncover the truth, not only about Beth Richards's past but also her own. In doing so, Ruby is forced to reexamine the people from her past: the professor who whisked her away to New Orleans and then shattered her heart and the ghosts of dead women writers who beckoned her to join their illustrious group. And when Ruby's storyline converges with Beth's in a way she never imagined, she returns to the one place she swore she never would: her alma mater.

I found this book in the big box of awesomeness that Jennifer sent me from BEA. I picked it up first because a blurb on the cover informed me that it was a great beach read, and I just happened to be headed to the beach. Right away I was pulled into the story and I was completely hooked. This was one of those books that I couldn’t read quickly enough, that I was disappointed when I was reading in the car and it got too dark to see, and that I finished in record time because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened. Ruby was a bit of a downer, but she was also interesting, complicated, smart, and a worthy protagonist.  I wasn’t sure about her at first – after all, she had basically let a man drive her to the point of suicide and losing sight of all her dreams. The story alternated between the past, where we experienced the beginning of Ruby and Mark’s disastrous relationship, and the present, where Ruby is trying to piece her life back together while solving the mystery of a former classmate’s disappearance.  I really like books that take place in two different times, and then bring the story together at the end, and this one did it perfectly. The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen is a debut novel, and it is very well written with an ending that I didn’t see coming. Was the big twist a bit over the top and unbelievable? Sure. But it was thoroughly entertaining and suspenseful, and I enjoyed every page.  I read that the author originally intended for the title to be In Medias Res, which I personally think is a much more kick-ass name! Don’t let the flowery title deceive you – this is a really good book!

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Jessica’s addiction to books began at age 4, going on weekly trips to the library with her mom. After being a young fan of Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club, she discovered the thrill of reading a book that made her want to leave the light on and check under the bed. Her all-time favorite author is Stephen King, but she will read just about anything! Jessica never leaves home without her e-reader, and considers it the best gift she ever received. Her other hobbies include running and going to Disney World as often as possible.

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