Friday, August 30, 2013

BLOG TOUR: The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

Title: The Butterfly Sister
Author: Amy Gail Hansen
Genre: Women's Fiction/Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: August 6/2013
Adquired: Print copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

"My past was never more than one thought, one breath, one heartbeat away. And then, on that particular October evening, it literally arrived at my doorstep."

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.


Absolutely fascinating. I was obsessed with this book with a fervor that's been missing in my reading life for a while now. Yes, I've read some great books recently, and participated in a blog tours for them, but those books waited for me, and I let them. I let them wait until I finished the laundry, or spent another 10 min in the shower, or until I just FELT like reading them, really. But this, I don't think The Butterfly Sister left my hands until I was ready to let it-and even then, I was already well past the last page.

"Over the course of our romance, perhaps everyday we were together, I imagine I cut a piece of myself off like a strip of fabric, and worked that section of myself into and over and under him, so now, there is no way I can break away.

We are woven together".

Honestly, I am NOT a sucker for romantic novels, and The Butterfly Sister was far from being a novel of romance. But that quote...did you READ that quote!? I needed to get that quote in here. My heart stopped beating for milliseconds, maybe even more. Maybe you have to be in love yourself to understand what that quote did to me, or maybe you don't. I just know that I fell into serious lyrical love with Amy Gail Hansen. I wanted her to write ME poetry, so beautiful was the flow of her words. There were no snags, no moments of pause to figure out if something just made sense. The way she weaved love, and longing, with hatred, and anger, and eventually violence. It was a slow decline into insanity, done with a skill not many authors possess when writing psychological thrillers.

I am horribly ashamed to admit that I have never experienced the great female writers of our time, the very women that materialized themselves as catalysts in this book: Syliva Plath, Virgina Woolfe, Charlotte Perkins. Ruby, our female lead, was influenced by them in ways that I might have grasped more fully, had I read their work. All the same, I began to know them through Ruby, through her obsession with their work, their lives, their reasons for dying. I was torn between the enduring love she seemed to have with Mark, her English professor, and the intense intrigue her madness produced once it was over. It was the equivalent of caffeine in my bloodstream, it was such a rush, flying through these pages the way I did, wanting to know more and more, as Ruby spiraled further into depression, and eventually, straight into the arms of enlightenment.

The second half of the book had me BITING MY NAILS TO THE STUBS. My jaw was literally dropping at the end of every chapter, after every new revelation. It became a full-out mystery to be solved, and OH MAN, did I NOT see that ending coming. Okay..I'm remembering to breathe.

(I have to throw in my thoughts on the SCENERY: Oh my GOOD.GOD. I was always drawn to the creole culture of New Orleans, and to read about it so vividly in The Butterfly Sister during the first few chapters was a pleasure all on it's own. I'm not sure if the author actually traveled there herself, but the imagery she crafted is definitely something to witness. I fought the urge to book a plane ticket there EVERY few sentences.)

I refuse to believe that this is Amy's first novel, she wrote with such passion, such dedication to her craft. A hauntingly mesmerizing debut, and one I will not soon forget.

Recommended for Fans of: Psychological Thriller, Women's Fiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery.


Born in the Chicago suburbs, Amy Gail Hansen spent her early childhood near New Orleans. She holds a BA in English from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A former English teacher, she works as a freelance writer and journalist in suburban Chicago, where she lives with her husband and three children. The Butterfly Sister is her debut novel.

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Thank-you to Trish from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to William Morrow for sending me a print ARC to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour


  1. Wow! What a great review! That one passage that you quoted at the beginning really speaks to me, so I think the rest of the book would have the same affect on me as it did on you!

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  2. Hallo, Reeka,

    I came across your blog via the tour stop page on TLC, as I have had my eye on this novel for quite awhile now, and I wanted to read the impressions that it has been given the readers who are reviewing it! :) I agree with you completely, that there are certain books that take possession of us, they nearly fail to let us re-enter our everyday worlds, as the pull to be enclosed into their narratives is that strong! I have read a few of those books recently myself, [of which I have blogged about!], and I am forever grateful to have found them!

    Like you, I can contend the same, I am just as deficient in reading women's literature, and its one of my intentions to remedy it as I progress forward with my literary wanderings!! I simply feel that there is a season for everything, and we shall get to it as soon as we're able too! :) I still have issues with not being able to read some of the most terrific serial fiction I have found in the past four to five years! I read the firsts in the series, but sort of lacked the follow-through!

    On the level of lyrical prose, I hear you!! I think one of the best ways for a writer to 'get me' at Hallo, is to write in not just an authentic voice but one that has hintings of poetry throughout their stories! Writers that etch their world into yours, and blend it in such a fashion as to leave you a bit confused if you had just lived through the experience or simply read it! :)

    Based solely on this review, I know that this needs to be read now!! You have the knack for giving us a precursor viewing of what we're about to find within the text, and in such a way, that makes us feel wanton for more! Always a good thing! I love full-bodied, fully-fleshed out settings and locales, as they add to the backdrop of where we are being transported too! I will hungrily await my jettison to New Orleans, as its a city I have actually been too in the past, and one that is as mysterious to me now as it was to me then!


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