Monday, July 29, 2013

Review The Butterfly Sister by: Amy Gail Hansen

Title: The Butterfly Sister
Author: Amy Gail Hansen
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 298
Format: Paperback
Source: Request Review via Publisher


"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.

My Thoughts:

When Ruby Rousseau receives a suitcase from a messenger service and realizes the suitcase was from a classmate Beth Richards, Ruby is intrigued to find out what happened to her former classmate.  From this point the story goes back and forth from when Ruby was in college at Tarble and met the attractive English teacher Mark Suter who many girls think is handsome.  

Ruby ends up following a difficult path while writing her thesis about woman who have committed suicide and were powerful writers the likes of Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Anne Sexton, Sarah Kane, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and using the book A Room of One's Own wondering if the room is a metaphor for the mind or a physical room.

Ruby goes up and down with the end of her college life and where it leads her to.  It was a great personal journey of a woman who wanted to write.  I found myself intrigued by this story and couldn't put it down it was so captivating!  I love how Ms. Hansen wove the story to include great female authors who died much before their time! I think we forget about their contributions to the literary world as they aren't talked about much and I'm not sure if it's because they were all suicidal or because they are classics.
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