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The Butterfly Cabinet

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The Butterfly Cabinet Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Vivid, mysterious and unforgettable, The Butterfly Cabinet is Bernie McGills engrossing portrayal of the dark history that intertwines two lives. Inspired by a true story of the death of the daughter of an aristocratic Irish family at the end of the nineteenth century, McGill powerfully tells this tale of two women whose lives will become upended by a newly told secret.

The events begin when Maddie McGlade, a former nanny now in her nineties, receives a letter from the last of her charges and realizes that the time has come to unburden herself of a secret she has kept for over seventy years: what really happened on the last day in the life of Charlotte Ormond, the four-year-old only daughter of the big house where Maddie was employed as a young woman. It is to Charlottes would-be niece, Anna—pregnant with her first—that Maddie will tell her story as she nears the end of her life in a lonely nursing home in Northern Ireland.

The book unfolds in chapters that alternate between Maddies story and the prison diaries of Charlottes mother, Harriet, who had been held responsible for her daughters death. As Maddie confesses the truth to Anna, she unravels the Ormonds complex family history, and also details her own life, marked by poverty, fear, sacrifice and lies. In stark contrast to Maddie is the misunderstood, haughty and yet surprisingly lyrical voice of Harriets prison diaries, which Maddie has kept hidden for decades. Motherhood came no more easily to Harriet than did her role as mistress of a far-flung Irish estate. Proud and uncompromising, she is passionate about riding horses and collecting butterflies to store in her prized cabinet. When her only daughter, Charlotte, dies, allegedly as the result of Harriets punitive actions, the community is quick to condemn her and send her to prison for the killing. Unwilling to stoop to defend herself and too absorbed in her own world of strict rules and repressed desires, she accepts the cruel destiny that is beyond her control even as, paradoxically, it sets her free.

The result of this unusual duet is a haunting novel full of frightening silences and sorrowful absences that build toward the unexpected, chilling truth.

Synopsis:

When former nanny Maddie McGlade receives a letter from the last of her charges, she realizes the time has come to unburden herself of a secret she has kept for more than seventy years: the truth behind the death of Charlotte Ormond, the four-year-old daughter of the wealthy household where Maddie was employed as a young woman. Based on chilling events that actually took place in the north of Ireland in 1892, The Butterfly Cabinet is a sterling example of dark, emotionally complex fiction.

Synopsis:

Now in paperback—“An emotionally bracing, refreshingly intelligent, and ultimately heartbreaking story” (Kirkus Reviews) of two women linked by a tragic, decades-old secret.

When Maddie McGlade, a former nanny, receives a letter from the last of her charges, she realizes the time has come to unburden herself of a secret she has kept for more than seventy years: the truth behind events that led to the death of Charlotte Ormond, the four-year-old daughter of the wealthy household where Maddie was employed as a young woman. The Butterfly Cabinet unfolds in chapters that alternate between Maddie’s story and the prison diaries of Charlotte’s mother, Harriet, who was held responsible for her daughter’s death. Proud and uncompromising, Harriet’s great passions are riding horses and collecting butterflies; motherhood comes no more easily to her than does her role as mistress of a far-flung Irish estate. When her daughter dies as the result of her punitive actions, her community is quick to condemn her. But Harriet’s prison diaries, together with Maddie’s own revelations, build toward a more complex truth. 

Based on chilling events that actually took place in Northern Ireland in 1892, The Butterfly Cabinet is a sterling example of dark, emotionally complex fiction.

About the Author

Bernie McGill was born in Northern Ireland in 1967, the youngest of ten children. In 2008 her story “Sleepwalkers” won the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest. She has also written numerous works for print and radio. She lives with her family in Portstewart, Ireland, site of the real-life events which inspired her novel.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781451611601
Author:
Mcgill, Bernie
Publisher:
Free Press
Author:
McGill, Bernie
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20120531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Butterfly Cabinet Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Free Press - English 9781451611601 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , When former nanny Maddie McGlade receives a letter from the last of her charges, she realizes the time has come to unburden herself of a secret she has kept for more than seventy years: the truth behind the death of Charlotte Ormond, the four-year-old daughter of the wealthy household where Maddie was employed as a young woman. Based on chilling events that actually took place in the north of Ireland in 1892, The Butterfly Cabinet is a sterling example of dark, emotionally complex fiction.
"Synopsis" by , Now in paperback—“An emotionally bracing, refreshingly intelligent, and ultimately heartbreaking story” (Kirkus Reviews) of two women linked by a tragic, decades-old secret.

When Maddie McGlade, a former nanny, receives a letter from the last of her charges, she realizes the time has come to unburden herself of a secret she has kept for more than seventy years: the truth behind events that led to the death of Charlotte Ormond, the four-year-old daughter of the wealthy household where Maddie was employed as a young woman. The Butterfly Cabinet unfolds in chapters that alternate between Maddie’s story and the prison diaries of Charlotte’s mother, Harriet, who was held responsible for her daughter’s death. Proud and uncompromising, Harriet’s great passions are riding horses and collecting butterflies; motherhood comes no more easily to her than does her role as mistress of a far-flung Irish estate. When her daughter dies as the result of her punitive actions, her community is quick to condemn her. But Harriet’s prison diaries, together with Maddie’s own revelations, build toward a more complex truth. 

Based on chilling events that actually took place in Northern Ireland in 1892, The Butterfly Cabinet is a sterling example of dark, emotionally complex fiction.

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