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Charlotte's vleugels by Bernadette…

Charlotte's vleugels (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Bernadette McGill, Jan Smit

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1751267,867 (3.28)4
Title:Charlotte's vleugels
Authors:Bernadette McGill
Other authors:Jan Smit
Info:Utrecht De Kern cop. 2011
Collections:Your library
Tags:psychologische roman, gebaseerd op een waargebeurd verhaal, hetzelfde verhaal vanuit twee standpunten

Work details

The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill (2010)



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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
The story of two women, one--the mistress, the other--the servant, and the choices they make and how it affects both their histories.
The diary entry of the one in prison reflects a non-emotional woman who finds some resolution to the death of her child by writing about it.
The contrasting story line of the servant appears to love the child more than the mother, yet holds a mystery of her own.

The plot is slow. Definitely providing a thorough search of feelings and reactions.
Gave me a creepy feeling as I learned more about the mother. Hated to read, but had to.
I put the book down for awhile before starting again. Glad I finished it...although slow going for too long. ( )
  Sonya.Contreras | May 21, 2017 |
This was much more powerful than I expected. The synopsis says that it is haunting and that is an understatement. ( )
  ChewDigest | Nov 17, 2014 |
  conantl | Jan 5, 2014 |
If you can plow, enjoy hard slogging, and aren't bored by a flat one-note tone when you read a book, then this one's for you. I know, it's all my fault, but I just didn't care about either of the novel's two voices -- master or servant -- the main characters who inhabit the novel but undergo no particular character development.

There's the genre's requisite Big Secret, which is the whole point of the story. No surprise here. Getting to its revelation was too tedious for me to give the book more than a skim and a scan after the first 50pp. Far too much telling and too little showing in this one. I'm no great fan of Gothic psycho-dramas, and this book reminded me why not. ( )
  Limelite | Aug 11, 2013 |
A good historical novel set in Ireland of the mid 1800s and late 1960s narrated by two fascinating ladies...one the mistress of a grand estate and the other her servant. Since the author is Irish she might assume her readers are familiar with Irish history. I could have used a bit more explanation of some of the events talked about in the novel. Based on a true story. ( )
  ken1952 | May 22, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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For all the McGills and all the McClellands,
especially Kevin, Mark and Rosie
First words
Dear Nanny Madd,
I am thinking about you today.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Vivid, mysterious and unforgettable, The Butterfly Cabinet is Bernie McGill's engrossing portrayal of a 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 Charlotte's 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 Maddie's story and the prison diaries of Charlotte's mother, Harriet, who had been held responsible for her daughter's 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 Harriet's prison diaries, which Maddies 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 Harriet's 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.

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A proud, uncompromising woman, Harriet's great passion is collecting butterflies and pinning them under glass; motherhood comes no easier to her than her role as mistress of her remote Irish estate. When her daughter dies, her community is quick to judge her, and Harriet will not stoop to defend herself. But her journals reveal a more complex truth.… (more)

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