The Butterfly Sister: A Novel

By Amy Gail Hansen
Publisher:William Morrow Paperbacks, (8/6/2013)

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In The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen—a moving Gothic tale that intertwines mystery, madness, betrayal, love, and literature—a fragile young woman must silence the ghosts of her past.

Ten months after dropping out of all-girl Tarble College, Ruby Rousseau is still haunted by the memories of her senior year, a time marred by an affair with her English professor and a deep depression that caused her to question her sanity.

When a mysterious suitcase arrives bearing Ruby's name and address, she tries to return it to its rightful owner, Beth—a dorm-mate at Tarble—only to learn that Beth disappeared two days earlier.

With clues found in the luggage, including a tattered copy of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One's Own, which Ruby believes instigated her madness, she sets out to uncover the truth.

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"The Butterfly Sister: A Novel"
By Amy Gail Hansen

Average Rating:

This book has not been rated

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Hansen's agreeable debut, college dropout Ruby Rousseau mistakenly receives a suitcase belonging to Beth Richards, a former classmate at Tarble, a private women's college near Chicago. The suitcase seems only a nuisance until Ruby learns that Beth has vanished on a trip to Pittsburgh. Ruby, an obituary writer for a suburban Chicago daily, hands the suitcase over to an indifferent and inept detective, but inadvertently keeps one of Beth's books, which has marginalia referring to Mark Suter, a young, charismatic, and unscrupulous professor at Tarble. Is Beth's disappearance connected to Suter? Ruby—whose disastrous affair with Suter ended with her attempting suicide—is convinced that it is, and travels to Tarble, where she confronts ghosts from her past, including Suter. Some truly bizarre characters people the story and some surprises defy credulity, but this thriller remains rewarding reading. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, Weed Literary Agency. (Aug.)


“Hansen’s first novel is heartfelt, suspenseful and very, very satisfying!” (Nancy Woodruff, author of My Wife's Affair)

“I LOVED IT. That book is the perfect beach read... girls who like dishy romantic thrillers are going to go nuts for it this summer. I myself couldn’t put it down til I was done, like it was a big fat pina colada.” (Meg Cabot, New York Times bestselling author)

“That rare thing, a dark mystery that also works on your heart, ‘The Butterfly Sister’ is a beguiling, terrifying story and Amy Gail Hansen a true find.” (Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean)

“Hansen’s debut cleverly entwines these literary ghosts into a suspenseful and swiftly paced light mystery.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Rewarding reading.” (Publishers Weekly)
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A former English teacher, Amy Gail Hansen is a freelance writer and journalist living in suburban Chicago. This is her first novel.

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Question #10: Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

AGH: In 2004, my husband and I went on our honeymoon to Italy. Moments before I checked my luggage, I realized the tag on my suitcase bore someone else’s name and address. That’s because I’d lent it five years prior to a college acquaintance and hadn’t used it since. Removing her leather tag at the last minute and replacing it with one of those flimsy paper ones the airlines give out, I thought, “What if my bag had gotten lost? Would it have gone to her instead of me? And isn’t that a good idea for a story?” Thus, The Butterfly Sister starts with the delivery of a mysterious suitcase and goes on to tell the story of Ruby Rousseau, a story inspired by that jumping off point... Click here to read the entire interview

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