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Lady of the Butterfliesby Fiona Mountain
Synopses & Reviews
"Fiona Mountain is a major new talent in the field of historical fiction."
-Alison Weir, author of The Lady Elizabeth
They say I'm mad and perhaps it's true.
It is well known that lust brings madness and desperation and ruin. But upon my oath, I never meant any harm. All I wanted was to be happy, to love and to be loved in return, and for my life to count for something.
That is not madness, is it?
So begins the story of Eleanor Glanville, the beautiful daughter of a seventeenth-century Puritan nobleman whose unconventional passions scandalized society. When butterflies were believed to be the souls of the dead, Eleanor's scientific study of them made her little better than a witch. But her life-set against a backdrop of war, betrayal, and sexual obsession-was that of a woman far ahead of her time.
"A lady lepidopterist may seem an unlikely real-life subject for historical romance, but Mountain (Bloodline) makes it work in this first-person account of the life of Eleanor Glanville, the late 17th-century naturalist accused of madness because of her devotion to studying butterflies. Daughter of a landowner, Eleanor grows up not just admiring the natural beauty of the marshy moors around her but also observing and collecting specimens according to the latest scientific methods. Butterflies become her passion even as she marries Edmund Ashfield, to whom she must cede control of her land, and it is Edmond's lack of passion that drives her into the arms of his dashing friend, Richard Glanville, whom she later marries, though neither husband proves as steadfast as the London apothecary with whom she corresponds about science. In later years, Richard and Eleanor's eldest son join forces to have her declared insane in order to gain control over her property so they can drain the wetlands. In fact, drainage — battles over it, the implications of it — is a huge piece of the novel and provides the most original passages of a lush and confidently plotted historical. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A glorious historical novel based on the 17th century life of Eleanor Glanville who was destined to become one of the most famous entomologists in history. But not before she had endured a life of extraordinary vicissitude: two marriages and an all-consuming love which would prove her undoing.
In the 17th-century, butterflies are believed to be the souls of the dead, and Eleanor Glanville's scientific study of them makes her little better than a witch. But her life--set against a backdrop of war, betrayal, and sexual obsession--is that of a woman far ahead of her time.
One of the great natural scientists of her age, Eleanor Glanville was a woman ahead of her time-the beautiful daughter of a seventeenth-century Puritan nobleman whose unconventional passions scandalized society. Her life was marked by two reckless preoccupations: a fascination with science-especially the study of butterflies-and a tempestuous love affair with the dashing soldier Richard Glanville that nearly cost her everything she held dear.
About the Author
Fiona Mountain lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and children.
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