Rene Denfeld has amassed a small army of devotees here at Powell's, and with The Butterfly Girl, she's certain to garner more. This riveting follow-up to The Child Finder (which you needn’t have read beforehand, but do read it; it’s wonderful) showcases Denfeld’s unique ability to dive headlong into the murky depths and surface with something redemptive and beautiful in tow. Recommended By Tove H., Powells.com
This sequel to The Child Finder tells its own story of humanity, heartbreak, and
the long-term redemption of the characters who inhabit it. It is a thriller,
but it is more. It is a tale fed by compassion for the human heart. Rene
Denfeld’s intelligence and soul is in every page. Recommended By Doug C., Powells.com
Rene Denfeld, once again, gives us a terrifying, yet gorgeous, story about hope. Naomi, from The Child Finder, is still in search of answers to her childhood, and is drawn to the street kids who feel more like kin to her than anyone else. The wretched homeless explosion in Portland is the setting for a serial killer who feeds dead young girls into the river. Naomi becomes attached to Celia, a 12-year-old girl forced to flee; the threat of danger on the street is preferable to the certainty of it at home. Celia keeps her barely contained fear at bay by calling on her beloved butterflies; they shield her and cover her until she's invisible. Denfeld has the rare ability to bring horror and beauty seamlessly together in her stories. The terror of predators and the raw hopelessness of street life are abundant; yet there is magic here, there is hope, there is redemption in the most devastating places. Denfeld tells us that stories can save us, and through that lens, the emotional truth of this glorious book is a road map to survival. Addressing themes of home, family, and love, The Butterfly Girl aches with brilliance. In Denfeld's competent hands, you'll be utterly grateful for this journey into darkness and light. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Like the iridescence of butterfly wings, dazzling and magical, Butterfly Girl is perfectly stunning. Recommended By Adrienne C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
After captivating readers in The Child Finder, Naomi — the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children — returns, trading snow-covered woods for dark, gritty streets on the search for her missing sister in a city where young, homeless girls have been going missing and turning up dead.
"Equal parts chilling, tragic and hopeful, Rene Denfeld's new novel combines her haunting, lyrical prose with a page-turning and harrowing mystery, putting The Butterfly Girl into a league of its own. Fans of The Child Finder will devour this." Mary Kubica, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Good Girl
From the highly praised author of The Child Finder and The Enchanted comes The Butterfly Girl, a riveting novel that ripples with truth, exploring the depths of love and sacrifice in the face of a past that cannot be left dead and buried. A year ago, Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she finds the younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of a strawberry field at night, black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life.
The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets like ghosts, searching for money, food, and companionship. The sharp-eyed investigator soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for months, many later found in the dirty waters of the river. Though she does not want to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of children in need — and the fear she sees in the eyes of a twelve-year old girl named Celia. Running from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother, Celia has nothing but hope in the butterflies — her guides and guardians on the dangerous streets. She sees them all around her, tiny iridescent wisps of hope that soften the edges of this hard world and illuminate a cherished memory from her childhood — the Butterfly Museum, a place where everything is safe and nothing can hurt her.
As danger creeps closer, Naomi and Celia find echoes of themselves in one another, forcing them each to consider the question: Can you still be lost even when you've been found? But will they find the answer too late?
"In the hands of Denfeld, The Butterfly Girl is a crime thriller built upon redemption. A survivor of trauma who was herself homeless as a young girl in Portland, Ore., Denfeld knows the harsh truths of her book's world. . . . Amid a steady supply of darkness, The Butterfly Girl still has room for light." Los Angeles Times
"A riot of quirkiness and eccentricity, and the mood of the book, which shifts from droll humor to melancholy to gentle vulnerability, is unclassifiable — and just right." Kirkus
"Denfeld emphasizes throughout that even where there is horror, there is still hope, a theme borne out in the bittersweet conclusion. Readers will be enthralled." Publishers Weekly
"A heartbreaking, finger-gnawing, and yet ultimately hopeful novel by the amazing Rene Denfeld." Margaret Atwood, via Twitter
"The Butterfly Girl is a beautiful and very moving novel about lost souls. This heart-stopping thriller left me breathless." Shari Lapena, bestselling author of The Couple Next Door
About the Author
Rene Denfeld is an internationally bestselling author, journalist, licensed investigator, and therapeutic foster mother. She is the author of the novels The Child Finder and The Enchanted. She has also written for the New York Times Magazine, The Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives in Portland, Oregon.