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The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill

Good Housekeeping's view...

September 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.

The Butterfly Cabinet is a dramatic and haunting novel that tells the tale of two women whose lives are entwined by an appalling tragedy. Inspired in part by the true story of events surrounding the death of the daughter of an aristocratic family in Ireland in the late 19th century, this is an enthralling and beautifully written debut.

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The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill

An unforgettable story of two women linked by their roles in a tragedy at the end of the Victorian era. When Anna, the young woman she cared for as a child, announces her intention to visit the elderly Maddie, Maddie recognises her last chance to unburden herself of a story that has gnawed at her for sixty years. For Maddie, rather like the butterfly cabinet she keeps safely under lock and key, has for too long guarded a secret: that of the day a four-year-old girl died at the big house where she worked as a nanny. Finally, Maddie knows, Anna is ready to hear what happened. As Maddie's mind drifts back through the years, so too is revealed the story of Charlotte's mother, Harriet Ormond. A proud, uncompromising woman, Harriet's great passion is collecting butterflies and pinning them under glass; motherhood comes no easier to her than her role as mistress of her remote Irish estate. When her daughter dies, her community is quick to judge her, and Harriet will not stoop to defend herself. But her journals reveal a more complex truth.

About the Author

Bernie McGill

Bernie McGill has pursued a varied career in the arts, as a theatre manager, and most recently as a playwright. Her short stories have been shortlisted for numerous awards, and in 2008 her story 'Sleepwalkers' won the Zoetrope All-Story Short Fiction Contest. The Butterfly Cabinet is her first novel. Bernie lives in Portstewart, Nothern Ireland, with her family.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th August 2010


Bernie McGill

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