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The Butterfly House
by Marcia Preston

Category: Fiction / General
288 pages; ISBN: 0778321355

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


The Butterfly House
Marcia Preston
Mira, Jan 2005, $19.95, 288 pp.
ISBN: 0778321355

In 1990, a man claiming to be Harley Jaines visits Roberta “Bobbie” Lee with a request. Bobbie insists that the real Harley died in the 1960s in Nam, but the visitor remains insistent as to who he is. Harley wants Bobbie to testify at the parole hearing that his wife Leonora, incarcerated for killing Bobbie’s drunk mom Ruth in 1971 in Shady River, Oregon, is about to face. He also asks if she can arrange for him to meet his daughter Cynthia, her best friend as children when Bobbie would flee her intoxicated mom to spend time at the Jaines’ Rockhaven home.

Bobbie considers both requests, but feels uncomfortable with fulfilling either of them. She has doubts about testifying on behalf of Leonora who was blamed for the fire that razed Rockhaven, killed Ruth, and destroyed the butterfly collection that fascinated Bobbie as a child. She feels strange telling Cindy she met her father long thought dead and that her dad wants to meet his daughter twenty years too late. Worse Bobbie knows the truth of what happened on that fatal day that destroyed two families; having spent time at a mental institution she fears revealing what she knows.

THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE is a strong character study starring a distraught female protagonist ably supported by a deep secondary cast. The story line shifts eras smoothly through mostly Bobbie’s looking back over time. Fans will wonder what secret Bobbie hides and why and what will happen if she reveals the truth as she knows it. Marcia Preston delivers a deep multi-family drama that leaves her audience wondering about the decisions made twenty years ago by several individuals

Harriet Klausner


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