I will start off by saying that I’m not all that familiar with the opera Madame Butterfly and that Butterfly’s Child by Angela Davis-Gardner is an imagined sequel of what might have happened after the last aria of the opera. I don’t believe though that you have to be familiar with this opera to thoroughly enjoy this story because I loved it. I was so captivated by Benji’s story that I lost track of time and just lost myself in the telling of this tale.
The novel is set in the 1800’s/1900’s and Benji is half Japanese and half American. His mother was a geisha girl and his father an American Lieutenant. Lieutenant Pinkerton and his new wife Kate travel to Nagasaki and it is there that Frank Pinkerton finds out he has a son and that his geisha girl, Butterfly as he called her committed suicide so that he would have no choice but to take Benji back to America with him and give him the life he deserves. For Benji, torn from the only life he knows, is terrified and even more scared of the unknown that is America.
Frank and Kate bring Benji back to their Illinois farm and tell everyone that they decided out of the good of their Christian hearts to adopt the little Japanese boy. You have to remember that at the time adoptions like these weren’t accepted like they are now thankfully. The only thing they can’t hide is Benji’s appearance and while he has Japanese features he also has an American nose and blond hair. Of course he is singled out at school and picked on but he perseveres and it becomes quite apparant that he is a very intelligent boy.
The trouble for Benji is more in his relationships with his new family, particularly his father who doesn’t acknowledge him as his son for fear of what people will think. Kate, his stepmother, is kinder towards him but at times she had been mean to him as well. The one person who was kind to him from the beginning was Frank’s mother because I think she knew in her heart who Benji really was although she never said it out loud. As time wears on Benji works hard on the farm and at school but it never seems to be enough for his father who will still lash out at him for the slightest thing. Instead of opening his heart to Benji, Frank feels that his life fell apart after bringing Benji home. Ultimately things happen and things are said and life is never the same for any of the Pinkertons or Benji and he flees and starts on his journey to Japan to find his family. The question is will Benji like what he finds when he finally unearths his heritage in Japan?
Butterfly’s Child is an amazing novel full of family drama and the devastation that comes from secrets and lies. It is such a richly told story that you can’t help but feel you are a character yourself in this story watching from the sidelines. I connected with everything in this story from the characters to the descriptions and I truly loved the book. I don’t know how I’ve never read anything by Angela Davis-Gardner but I can tell you for sure that Butterfly’s Child won’t be my last by her. Her writing is wonderfully vivid and beautiful and the way she can weave a story was fantastic. This is definitely a book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to my friends especially those that like books that deal with a different culture as I do.
I read Butterfly’s Child by Angela Davis-Gardner for her book tour with TLC Book Tours. Be sure to pop by all the other tour stops to see what everyone else thought about the book as well. Angela can be found on her website and Butterfly’s Child can be purchased here in the US and here in Canada.
I have one copy of Butterfly’s Child by Angela Davis-Gardner to share with my readers. To enter…
- For 1 entry simply leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do, thank you and please let me know so I can pass the extra entry on to you as well.
- For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, May 19/12. Good luck to all!
Source: Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and Dial Press. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.