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The Butterfly Girl

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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. From the highly praised author of The Child Finder and The Enchanted 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. 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?


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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. From the highly praised author of The Child Finder and The Enchanted 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. 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?

30 review for The Butterfly Girl

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    What if we are all capable of lying to ourselves? 3 1/2 stars. The Butterfly Girl is the sequel to The Child Finder, which I personally thought was a beautiful, eerie and atmospheric thriller. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much, but I do love how Denfeld focuses once again on the disadvantaged - the poor, the homeless, the abused - especially when it feels like every thriller is another upper-middle class domestic drama. Where The Child Finder was predominantly about private investigator What if we are all capable of lying to ourselves? 3 1/2 stars. The Butterfly Girl is the sequel to The Child Finder, which I personally thought was a beautiful, eerie and atmospheric thriller. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much, but I do love how Denfeld focuses once again on the disadvantaged - the poor, the homeless, the abused - especially when it feels like every thriller is another upper-middle class domestic drama. Where The Child Finder was predominantly about private investigator Naomi Cottle's search for a missing girl, this one turns its focus more onto Naomi herself, and her search for the sister she left behind years ago. Naomi has very few memories of her time being held captive as a child, but she knows one thing: she had a sister. A sister who didn't make it out with her. A sister she hopes may still be alive. While the case of another young girl - Celia - becomes entwined with Naomi's search, I think this book lost a little something by mostly being about Naomi's missing sister. The novel was at times oversentimental and heavy-handed, with Denfeld's trademark poetic writing feeling too saccharine for the subject matter. The investigation seemed driven by emotion and instinct rather than logic, too. Celia's story was far more interesting to me, even with all the parallels that can be drawn with Naomi's story. At twelve years old she has run away from her abusive father and is now living on the streets, exchanging sexual favours for cash. She, too, has a sister she left behind, and she is wracked by guilt that she couldn't and didn't protect her. The complex examination of Celia's guilt, plus the way the author shows how social systems frequently fail at-risk children, offer the most heart-wrenching and effective moments of the novel. Mostly, I love how Denfeld reminds us of the people society has forgotten; the ones we look away from; the ones who we have failed. She continues to be a must-read author for me. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    “But mostly, in her secret heart, she was a butterfly, with magic wings beating hard for escape.” The Butterfly Girl is a tragic but hopeful story that recounts the tragic events from one woman’s past which bind her toa young girl in the present. Both are running from their pasts, both feel an immense amount of guilt and are tempted to give up on life, but they are compelled to keep living for their sisters. Celia, a 12-year-old street kid, is turning tricks to get by, lives in a fantastical “But mostly, in her secret heart, she was a butterfly, with magic wings beating hard for escape.” The Butterfly Girl is a tragic but hopeful story that recounts the tragic events from one woman’s past which bind her to a young girl in the present. Both are running from their pasts, both feel an immense amount of guilt and are tempted to give up on life, but they are compelled to keep living for their sisters. Celia, a 12-year-old street kid, is turning tricks to get by, lives in a fantastical world of butterflies. They are her escape from her tragic childhood and keep her safe. Every day she struggles to survive the danger of life on skid row. The danger intensifies when young girls start disappearing from the streets--their bodies turn up days and sometimes months later in an industrial canal. Celia becomes a target, but an encounter with Naomi Cottle, the "child finder," changes the trajectory of her life. Naomi, a private investigator who specializes in finding missing children, first comes across Celia on skid row. Naomi is roaming the streets, looking for her sister whom she left over 20 years ago when she ran away from captivity. While looking for her sister, she gets caught up in the missing girls' case. While she feels a connection with Celia, her missing sister consumes her, putting Celia’s life in danger. Celia’s story, which mirrors Naomi’s, is uncomfortable and hard to read. Sexual and physical abuse occurs frequently. There were times when I had to put this book down and clear my mind. However, the parts where Celia escapes to her dream world filled with butterflies offers some relief. The writing is lyrical and Denefeld’s personal experiences add a layer of authenticity to the narrative. Overall, this was an emotional and difficult read but the ending left me feeling hopeful. I strongly recommend reading book #1 The Child Finder before reading The Butterfly Girl.  I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    4.5 stars "Lost. You can be lost even when you've been found. You can make the wrong turn in life even if you're surrounded by people who love you." The Butterfly Girl is the second in the Naomi Cottle a.k.a. the Child Finder series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I highly recommend reading the first book in the series, The Child Finder first as I found it to be exceptional. In this book, Naomi is still looking for her sister while interacting with "street (homeless) kids" in Portland, 4.5 stars "Lost. You can be lost even when you've been found. You can make the wrong turn in life even if you're surrounded by people who love you." The Butterfly Girl is the second in the Naomi Cottle a.k.a. the Child Finder series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I highly recommend reading the first book in the series, The Child Finder first as I found it to be exceptional. In this book, Naomi is still looking for her sister while interacting with "street (homeless) kids" in Portland, Oregon. There she has learned that young girls have gone missing only to have their bodies found in the river some time later. Naomi wants to dedicate her time to locating her sister but can't resist the pull of the homeless teens -especially a teen named Celia. A young teen who hopes one day to visit the butterfly museum and save her own sister. Each identifies with the other. "...the stories we tell ourselves have more meaning than the facts. That doesn't make them lies. Seeded with every myth was the emotional truth." I found Denfeld's writing to be lyrical, poetic and beautifully poignant. She doesn't shy away from difficult subjects and gently places them in the readers face. Reading about homeless teens, crimes against children and what one needs to do to survive on the streets might be difficult, but we can't pretend these things do not exist. They exist more than we even know or may want to acknowledge. In her acknowledgements section, she writes with admiration and love for the librarians in Portland, Oregon who cared for her when she herself was a homeless kid. How public libraries and books saved her. She writes from a place of familiarity and personal knowledge. Besides her deep and personal knowledge about the subjects she writes about, she writes using beautiful descriptions and imagery. The words, like the butterflies, flew off the pages, flew over my head and gracefully landed back on the pages. Riveting, captivating, thought provoking and suspenseful, this one had me from page one. With two plot lines going on at the same time, I usually prefer one over the other but in this case, I was equally invested in both and thoroughly enjoyed how she wove them together. Plus, how about that beautiful cover! Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    As Henry David Thoreau said: “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves” Naomi is back, a brilliant investigator, a child finder, who was also tormented and lost kid, achieved to run away from her capturer but left her sister behind, now bringing the children back their homes, she also try to help herself to bring back her lost memories to find any crumble of truth about her past to find her sister. This time Naomi and her husband, partner, childhood friend from foster home helping As Henry David Thoreau said: “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves” Naomi is back, a brilliant investigator, a child finder, who was also tormented and lost kid, achieved to run away from her capturer but left her sister behind, now bringing the children back their homes, she also try to help herself to bring back her lost memories to find any crumble of truth about her past to find her sister. This time Naomi and her husband, partner, childhood friend from foster home helping her hold onto her life and following new traces about Naomi’s sister case. (They decided not to get new lost cases till they find her, even they’re financially struggling) But their investigation crosses with the several lost girls’ cases whose bodies found in the river some time later. Even though Naomi wanted to fully concentrate on finding her own sister, her connection with 12 year homeless girl Celia who created herself a fantasy world filled in butterflies to endure her struggling and depressingly hard life conditions as neglected abuse victim, living with the other kids on the streets, forced her to help those kids. This book is really dark, suffocating, extremely realistic, even the pacing is fast enough and mysterious parts hook you from the beginning, you feel like breathless and want to take breaks for fresh air. The cold facts of the foster kids’ lives force them to grow faster are harsh slaps hit on your face. You feel shaky, emotionally unbalanced. You want to scream, curse, cry and do something to change things for them. You deeply feel every pain, every wound, every scar they had especially the emotional scars cannot be seen and cannot be healed throughout their entire lives. Reading a book was watching a dark, thrilling, heart throbbing European movie with all gory, realistic scenes taken place at dirty, dilapidated, abandoned streets and we slowly watch the poor little children’s turning into wild savages to protect themselves from the jackals who are blood thirsty for fresh preys. But I can happily say that at least the author show us the light at the end of the tunnel and give us big pieces of hope that we can hold on to get up and wipe our crying faces, lighten our blue and saddened moods. Conclusion of the story made me smile, whisper several “thank you” to the author. Because of the heart shuddering, claustrophobic, completely dark parts pushed me lower my stars but the beautiful connection between Celia and Naomi, all those soul brushing, lyrical, amazing words and hard work and investigation about real life cases based on this book made me change my mind to give five shining, hopeful, strong, powerful stars to this book because the gifted author’s fantastic job fully deserved to a genuine tribute! I loved Celia’s dream world which helped her getting through her painful life and protecting her from real monsters of the life. This made me remember this inspirational quote: “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is broken winged bird, that cannot fly.” No matter what happens in your life, keep on dreaming!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*

    Naomi is an investigator who finds missing children. Her sister has been missing for years and she is looking for her. Naomi was separated from her when she escaped captivity, and her sister was left behind. Naomi is in Oregon, Portland and there are children who are homeless and they are found living on the streets. Naomi meets Celia who is a young girl and she was found living in the streets. Naomi does not have a picture of her sister, not even a name. She only has one memory of a strawberry Naomi is an investigator who finds missing children. Her sister has been missing for years and she is looking for her. Naomi was separated from her when she escaped captivity, and her sister was left behind. Naomi is in Oregon, Portland and there are children who are homeless and they are found living on the streets. Naomi meets Celia who is a young girl and she was found living in the streets. Naomi does not have a picture of her sister, not even a name. She only has one memory of a strawberry field, black dirt, under her bare feet as she ran for her life. Well I was disappointed in this one. I loved The Child Finder. This one lost the thrill for me. I didnt feel it. I really struggled with this book. I even reread several parts thinking maybe I missed something. Now that ending, was earth shattering! I loved it. It was so dark. Once I hit 80%, I couldnt put it down. But that was a little too late for me. I felt like I was missing something before this. There just wasnt really any suspense or any umph to get me to want more. I dont mind a book being unrealistic in a thriller and I did find it a little unrealistic. I didnt feel a strong connection with Naomi. I felt that she was a totally different character in this book comparing it to The Child Finder. I did find a connection with Celia's character. My heart really went out to her. She went through so much and it was heartbreaking. No child should have to go through what Celia went through. I really loved the writing style. It was beautifully written. This one can be read as a stand alone. I think that I just had too high expectations after reading The Child Finder. I really wanted to love this one. Since I did love the ending, the writing style and liking several parts of it I am giving it 3.5 stars rounded down. This was a Traveling Sister Group Read and we all had mixed feelings. I want to Thank Edelweiss, Harper Collins, and the author for my copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    Lost. You can be lost even when you’ve been found. You can make the wrong turn in life even if you’re surrounded by people who love you. That was what suicide was, Naomi figured. It was choosing the final exit instead of another path. Not because you wanted to hurt anyone, but because you feel too hopeless to find your way home. There was more than one kind of suicide, too, more than one kind of leaving. How many people spend their entire lives not even knowing that they have already left? Lost. You can be lost even when you’ve been found. You can make the wrong turn in life even if you’re surrounded by people who love you. That was what suicide was, Naomi figured. It was choosing the final exit instead of another path. Not because you wanted to hurt anyone, but because you feel too hopeless to find your way home. There was more than one kind of suicide, too, more than one kind of leaving. How many people spend their entire lives not even knowing that they have already left? ======================================== “Children of the forgotten. Harvested like the berries of the field.” The Butterfly Girl (changed from an earlier title, The Butterfly Museum) is the second in a series featuring private investigator Naomi Cottle. (The series opened with The Child Finder, released in 2017) Twelve-year-old Celia is not being held captive by a creepy perv, but she is certainly at risk. She is more of a throwaway child, forced into living on the street by a sexually abusive stepfather and a junkie mother, whose addiction to illegal substances and her husband’s lies exceeds her love for her child, and any notion of decency. But the streets were a kind of captivity, too. She has two besties, Rich and Stoner, a street family of three. Together they manage, picking up meals from a soup kitchen, sampling the daily delectables from dumpsters, and doing whatever is needed to bring in some cash for occasional stops at a deli, or luxuries, like bus rides. They dress in the latest designer fashions from the house of Goodwill, and have found a squat that has not yet become too dangerous, by virtue of being undiscovered by dark elements, or worse, by gentrifiers. Celia endures her fraught existence by imagining swarms of butterflies that offer her comfort and direction, and a heavenly image of a Butterfly Museum where she can enjoy their company in total safety. Rene Denfeld - image from Jane Eaton Hamilton’s site Naomi Cottle has made a career of searching for children still missing after the authorities have thrown in the towel. She has a gift. Well, a gift and a ferocious tenacity. She understands that it takes not only insight, but several Imelda-size closets worth of shoe leather to get from where? to there! She has an extra bit of underlying motivation. She’d been held captive as a child herself, managed to escape, but not with her little sister. All she can remember is running in terror, barefoot, through strawberry fields. Snatches of that time come back to her in dreams, bit by bit. But her sister would be in her mid-twenties by now, and, really, what are the chances that she is still alive? Naomi decided a year ago to focus solely on the search for her sister, that search taking her to Portland. Girls, or, the remains of girls, have been turning up there in growing numbers, and Naomi is determined to find out if there might be any connection between these crimes and the taking of her and her sister. Painted Lady - image from Cyprus-mail.com In searching for clues to her sister’s whereabouts in Portland’s Skid Row, Naomi meets Celia, and feels a connection. She also notices a very scarred man who seems to be lurking about. Naomi follows clue after clue as the body count grows and the danger to Celia, and scores of other Portland street kids, increases. Swallowtail - image from FactsAboutButterflies.net One element furthering the connection between Naomi and Celia is that, like Naomi, Celia has a younger sister she wants to save. The evil stepfather is still in the scene and mom is still a junkie, making the danger to her sister a question of when rather than whether. Viceroy - image from Wikipedia We follow the tension of Naomi trying to have a personal life. Now married to her lifetime bff, Jerome, they struggle with life issues that may sound familiar, like what are we gonna do for money? since they have been exhausting their resources on Naomi’s full-time quest. Where are we gonna live? Can we put down roots somewhere, anywhere? We also see flaws in Naomi, as she sometimes misses things that are right in front of her because of her obsession with finding her sister. Gray Hairstreak – image from Wiki Denfeld brings to her writing a familiarity with street culture, and dark experiences. She has had plenty of her own. And has gotten to see much, much more in her day job as a private investigator, with particular focus on helping death row inmates. She wrote a non-fiction (All God’s Children- 2007) about Skid Row life that has some very surprising conclusions. In this one, I particularly enjoyed seeing how Naomi interacted with official sorts, offering information, analysis, and insight in exchange for help finding her sister, not just relying on convenient snitches to keep the lead-feed rolling. I grew up with a lot of trauma. My stepdad was a registered predatory sex offender, for instance. Much of my writing is informed by my own history, including my efforts to use my experiences to help others—I'm now a therapeutic foster mom and investigator as well as author. I did have someone close to me disappear when I was a child. It was extremely traumatic, and helps me understand when working with those who are dealing with such terrifying losses. - From GR’s Ask the Author White Tree Nymph - image from The Boardwalk.com Her other superpower is a poetic sensibility that is mesmerizing. She brings to The Butterfly Girl the same appreciation for beauty, the same admiration for imagination, and the same command of language that she wielded so deftly in her prior two books. She also shows times where unchecked imagination can get one into trouble. Great Spangled Fritillary - image from Oregon Conservation Strategy.org Despite this being a riveting read, the notion of imagination as a saving grace, while fabulous, seems maybe a bit too similar to the mechanism the young captive used in book #1 of this series. On the other hand, the notion of captivity extending to circumstances in which one may be able to physically move about, but which are still hugely constraining is perceptive and very real. Another difference from prior Denfeld novels is her portrayal of the baddie. Previous books offered a closer look at the humanity of the people doing awful things. Although there is a bit of history presented on how the perp came to be such a twisted sort, it seemed thinner to me than the more faceted depictions of her previous bad actors. [image error] Sagebrush checkerspot - image from ButterfliesandMoths.org One extra bit you should take from The Butterfly Girl is the portrait of a social realm that makes it into the news-maw only when someone not of the place is done in. The street life of homeless Portland children is no less Dickensian for being a century and a half removed from the London he showed the world. The same conditions are likely to be present in most American cities. One particular gap in social service attention to younger homeless residents is surprising and rage-inducing, as the kindness of the caring institutions and individuals trying help them is warming, and hope-sustaining. And while assaults by the better-off on those down on their luck is a popular sport in the nation’s capital and in many state capitals, that hostility is made personal and kinetic here. Red admiral - image from Insects of Alberta.com One of the things that makes this such a resonant book is that Denfeld shows how a culture of rape and abuse can flourish when perpetrators are people of means and their targets are not. Headlines about Jeffrey Epstein’s long history of raping children, without being held to serious account offers a particularly relevant real-world example. The novel looks at how the silence of uninvolved people in the face of obvious wrong-doing allows such outrages to persist, and how victims of powerful criminals cannot count on the legal system to come to their defense. White Peacock - image from Wiki You will keep flipping the pages of The Butterfly Girl to see how Naomi fares on her quest, and if Celia can remain beyond the clutches of the mysterious Portland killer. But as you read, you may notice that the beauty of Denfeld’s writing leaves small sparkles on your hands, and in your head, bits of literary pollen that attach and nourish. She remains a poet with a deep appreciation of beauty, in the world, in the imagination, and in language. She possesses a gift for story-telling, writing engaging characters, and shining a bright light into some very dark places. If you are searching for a smart, soulful, engaging, mystery/thriller, you would do well to alight on The Butterfly Girl. It is a nourishing, satisfying read that is also a thing of remarkable beauty. Mardon Skipper - image from Fish and Wildlife Service I had an extremely difficult childhood and every day after school I'd go to the public library, which was my sanctuary. I learned early about the power of story and imagination to save lives—the poetry of the books became the poetry of my life, the ability to find hope even in despair. In writing fiction I feel I can capture that poetry of life and the lessons I've learned. - from the GR Ask the Author Review posted – July 12, 2019 Publication date – October 1, 2019 =============================EXTRA STUFF The author’s personal, Twitter, and Facebook pages Previous Denfeld books I have read and reviewed -----2017 - The Child Finder (Naomi Cottle #1) -----2014 - The Enchanted Interviews -----The Center for Fiction - An Interview with Rene Denfeld on The Child Finder -----The Rumpus - It’s Never Too Late to be Found: A conversation with Rene Denfeld- by Kelly Thompson – 9/4/17 -----Goodreads - Ask the Author -----The Bulletin - Author’s dark and moving fiction is rooted in reality - by Kim Himstreet – July 5, 2018 While you might assume Denfeld’s work and advocacy could wear her down or make her cynical, the author said in a 2017 interview with The Rumpus, “The longer I’ve done this kind of work, the more I’m in awe at the resiliency and the strength of the human spirit, and the more I feel connected with the magic of the world. I think the world is full of magic.” -----Kirkus Reviews - Fully Booked - by Kurt Andersen – audio – from about 33:00 – about The Child Finder, but still relevant -----Jaggery - Drunk on Ink Q & A with Rene Denfield and ‘The Child Finder’ - by Soniah Kamal on August 7, 2018My earliest memories include running to the public library every day after kindergarten. I would build walls of books and lose myself in them, and not leave until closing…books were my sanctuary. As a young child I especially loved fairy tales and fables. Think about it. Where else can someone be imprisoned in dungeons, roasted in ovens and trapped by evil and still find a way to survive? Fairy tales are messages of hope for those trapped in trauma.-----Portland Monthly - Writer and Private Investigator Rene Denfeld on Portland Sexism by Zach Dundas - 2015 -----Portland Tribune – News - Street life — and death - by Nick Budnick - January 25, 2007 Because in Summer 2019 GR reduced the allowable size of reviews by 25% it was necessary to move some of this review into the comment section - See Comment #3 below

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sister

    2.5 stars. I fault myself for setting my hopes and expectations too high for this sequel. A disappointing continuation of the series for me. After loving The Child Finder last year, I was eager to get my hands on a copy of this book. While I did find it an easy, quick and enjoyable read, it didn’t come close to the enjoyment I had while reading The Child Finder. The main character, Naomi, who was so strong and admirable in the first book, lacked the strength and endearing qualities I was hoping 2.5 stars. I fault myself for setting my hopes and expectations too high for this sequel. A disappointing continuation of the series for me. After loving The Child Finder last year, I was eager to get my hands on a copy of this book. While I did find it an easy, quick and enjoyable read, it didn’t come close to the enjoyment I had while reading The Child Finder. The main character, Naomi, who was so strong and admirable in the first book, lacked the strength and endearing qualities I was hoping to reconnect with. She felt like less of a focus in this book which was disappointing. I didn’t “feel” anything for her. The author did an excellent job creating a vivid and atmospheric look into the lives and struggles of homeless children. It was an eye-opening journey that had me shocked and upset for what many innocent children have to endure to survive on the streets. It was heartbreaking. An issue I had with the novel was that Naomi’s personal mission throughout this book felt far fetched and somewhat forced. The situation didn’t seem plausible and therefore, I wasn’t invested in that part of the storyline. I know I’m in the minority with my thoughts on this and a large part of my disappointment stems from me going in with very high expectations. Please check out the many raving reviews for this novel before making your decision. Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC to read and review! Expected date of publication: October 1, 2019.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sumit RK

    The stories we tell ourselves have more meaning than the facts. That doesn’t make them lies. The Butterfly Girl is the second book in the The Child Finder series with private investigator Naomi. Though it can be read as a standalone, I would recommend that you read the first book in the series, as it will tie all the loose ends. Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, is trying to find her younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no The stories we tell ourselves have more meaning than the facts. That doesn’t make them lies. The Butterfly Girl is the second book in the The Child Finder series with private investigator Naomi. Though it can be read as a standalone, I would recommend that you read the first book in the series, as it will tie all the loose ends. Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, is trying to find her younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets. She soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for a month. During her search, Naomi gets emotionally attached to a twelve-year-old girl named Celia who is running from an abusive stepfather. As danger creeps closer, Naomi and Celia find that their lives are more connected than they can imagine. It’s hard to rate a book like The Butterfly Girl because it’s not a regular murder mystery or police procedural. The Butterfly Girl is an emotional story of hope and redemption that somehow binds the lives of two unconnected but very similar individuals. Both having a traumatic past and an uncertain future but both sharing an unspoken bond. In a way, Naomi sees her own past in Celia’s present. This story is dark, emotional and extremely realistic. The author did an excellent job of depicting the lives and struggles of homeless children. The many challenges they have to face just to survive every day was truly heartbreaking. Denefeld’s personal experiences as a street kid and now as an investigator; helping sex trafficking victims have added a level of authenticity to the story making you feel emotionally connected to the kids and their struggles. The writing is beautiful and poetic. The writer has beautifully explored the connection between Celia and Naomi. I especially loved the imagery of butterflies, used to depict Celia’s dream world; as her way to escape her painful life. Celia is a memorable character; one which will stay with you long after the story is over. Celia’s life, which mirrors Naomi’s, is uncomfortable and hard to read at times. The story has a lot of instances of sexual and physical abuse but it was dealt with a lot of empathy. The mystery surrounding Naomi’s sister felt a bit stretched and with too many coincidences rather than investigative work. The way both the tracks merged also felt too convenient. I liked the emotional story of Celia, so I would have liked if the story had focused more on Naomi & Celia’s story. Overall, The Butterfly Girl is an emotional and moving story. I would recommend the readers to read the first part to appreciate this book better. 3.5 stars out of 5. Many thanks to the publishers HarperCollins, the author Rene Denfeld and Edelweiss for the ARC.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The second in the Naomi Cottle series, this novel is easily read as a standalone. As always with Denfeld, the writing is lyrical and the subject matter is difficult. Sexually abused and neglected young children thrown away as trash try to live as best they can on dangerous streets. Some of these kids turn to drugs and most turn tricks. For eleven year old Celia hope comes from her imagination and obsession with butterflies. A library is her refuge. The ‘child finder” Naomi Cottle encounters The second in the Naomi Cottle series, this novel is easily read as a standalone. As always with Denfeld, the writing is lyrical and the subject matter is difficult. Sexually abused and neglected young children thrown away as trash try to live as best they can on dangerous streets. Some of these kids turn to drugs and most turn tricks. For eleven year old Celia hope comes from her imagination and obsession with butterflies. A library is her refuge. The ‘child finder” Naomi Cottle encounters Celia as she becomes enmeshed in a search for the perpetrator of missing and murdered girls while she tries to find her lost sister. Denfeld’s portrayal of these street kids, the system they’re up against, and their yearning resonates with authenticity and empathy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Annet

    This author never seizes to amaze me. What great books she has written, and The Butterfly Girl, again, heartbreaking. Seriously good, seriously sad and dark, but always hope. A seriously good book, which I read breathlessly. Amazing, shocking, beautiful, sad, all in one. Like the first two books of Denfeld I read. Not only an excellently written story, but the language... simple and poetic. Seriously impressed, seriously loved this book, the third book of this author and I rated all three 5 This author never seizes to amaze me. What great books she has written, and The Butterfly Girl, again, heartbreaking. Seriously good, seriously sad and dark, but always hope. A seriously good book, which I read breathlessly. Amazing, shocking, beautiful, sad, all in one. Like the first two books of Denfeld I read. Not only an excellently written story, but the language... simple and poetic. Seriously impressed, seriously loved this book, the third book of this author and I rated all three 5 stars. Favorite author. Curious where she will go from here. Continue with Naomi, the Childfinder? Or a new storyline, new characters? Bring it on. Truly recommended. Big five stars & big highlight of this reading year for me! The story: One 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 her younger sister... all she remembers from her long ago past is a strawberry field at night, and the black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life. The few leads that she has brings her to Portland, Oregan, where scores of homeless children wander the streets, searching for money, food and drugs. Naomi soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for months, many later found floating in the dirty waters of the river. Though reluctant to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of children in need and the fear she sees in the eyes of a 12-year old girl, Celia, running from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother. Meantime Naomi seems to get closer to more info about her younger sister....

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This lacked the lustre of Denfeld’s previous works. The writing remained awesomely simple and descriptive to follow; but, too much of not much happening. Naomi, returns in search of her missing sister, meets a street girl who compartmentalizes herself with butterflies. This one reminded me more of a flat Stanley given her flare with Enchanted and Child Finder. It did ramp up towards the end, but by then I was feeling a little under fluttered. Interesting that Denfeld, too, was a homeless kid and This lacked the lustre of Denfeld’s previous works. The writing remained awesomely simple and descriptive to follow; but, too much of not much happening. Naomi, returns in search of her missing sister, meets a street girl who compartmentalizes herself with butterflies. This one reminded me more of a flat Stanley given her flare with Enchanted and Child Finder. It did ramp up towards the end, but by then I was feeling a little under fluttered. Interesting that Denfeld, too, was a homeless kid and how she herself became a foster and adoptive mom. I agree with her - libraries brought me joy and introduced me to bold, beautiful and sometimes stunningly disturbing worlds. It still does. Want to see more from you, Denfeld. With the sparkle and captivation you held with your other stories. 3.75 ⭐️

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    A second outing for Naomi, the child finder. She has vowed not to work anymore cases until she finds her sister. The problem is she remembers so little of the place she escaped from, she only remembers singing to her little sister when she was afraid. Young street girls are bring murdered, their bodies pulled from the river. This gets Naomis attention and she and her husband travel to find out whatever they can. She meets a young girl, Celia,only twelve living on the street, who may have answers A second outing for Naomi, the child finder. She has vowed not to work anymore cases until she finds her sister. The problem is she remembers so little of the place she escaped from, she only remembers singing to her little sister when she was afraid. Young street girls are bring murdered, their bodies pulled from the river. This gets Naomis attention and she and her husband travel to find out whatever they can. She meets a young girl, Celia,only twelve living on the street, who may have answers she doesn't know she has. As a former street child herself, our authors paints these scenes with accuracy and poinancy. Another group of throwaway people, children, that as a society we look away from. Denfeld also includes something that makes her stories memorable, in this case butterflies. You will have to read to find out what they mean in the book. Lastly, it is a book about sisters, the ties that bind, showing how far one will go to protect someone they love. I love her books because besides being mysteries, they are darn good at poking holes in the way we view our society. There is always a message, but are we strong enough to see. ARC from Edelweiss.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    ***NOW AVAILABLE*** This is the first book by Ms. Denfeld that I have read, I did not read The Child Finder and this book works well as a stand alone. This book touched me deeply, as do most book involving children. I thought the first third was a bit slow but it was informative for me since I didn’t read the first book which introduced the readers to Naomi. After that I was completely involved in the book and couldn’t put it down. Naomi is an investigator who specializes in finding missing ***NOW AVAILABLE*** This is the first book by Ms. Denfeld that I have read, I did not read The Child Finder and this book works well as a stand alone. This book touched me deeply, as do most book involving children. I thought the first third was a bit slow but it was informative for me since I didn’t read the first book which introduced the readers to Naomi. After that I was completely involved in the book and couldn’t put it down. Naomi is an investigator who specializes in finding missing children. She herself was held captive for many years, along with her younger sister Sara. Twenty years ago she was able to escape but the only memory she has is running through a strawberry field and being helped by immigrants who were working the fields who found her and took her to the proper authorities. Naomi still believes that her sister could be alive. She decided to spend the previous year doing nothing but searching for her sister. Her search led her back to Portland, Oregon for several reasons. She is now married to her former foster brother and best friend Jerome who is extremely supportive of Naomi. Because neither of them have worked in a long time they have moved in with Naomi’s long time friend Diane. As Naomi continues to dig deeper into finding her sister she comes across a 12 year old street girl, Celia, who is a runaway from an abusive situation. She too has left behind a sister, Alyssa, who she is very worried about. Her stepfather sexually abused Celia and she is afraid that he is now targeting Alyssa. Her mother is a junkie and alcoholic who is not much use as a mother and continues to live with the abusive stepfather. Celia is an amazing young girl who manages to live on the streets along with her best friends Rich and Stoner. They dig the dumpsters for food and find shelter for the night in a sheltered area that is farther from skid row, it seems safer there. What she goes through as a street kid is heartbreaking and eye opening. Celia has created an escape through her mind of visions of butterflies surrounding her and possibly protecting her. She spends her days in the library reading books about butterflies and drawing pictures with the free paper provided by the library. The librarian keeps Celia’s special book behind the counter where she can always ask for it. Many of her secret thoughts are also drawn along with the butterfly pictures. “When the butterflies talked to Celia, it was like the sweetest notes of music. She could hear them coming from afar. She could see them now, covering the misty library windows. They were above the fantastic chandeliers, flying all around, as thick as fabric flowers above the bowed heads of readers” There is a horrific child predator who has been picking up girls and woman, sometimes keeping them for a long period, sometimes using them and dumping them into the river. The police haven’t been able to find him, but as we will find out he is hiding in plain sight. I don’t want to give away any more of the plot of this great novel. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “thriller” but more of a mystery with strong messages of the plight of throwaway children and abused children who are constantly being returned to their homes, the foster and childcare system is not working and there is a great need for advocates for these kids. The author herself was a street kid and she brings that knowledge to the story which is the power of emotion that I felt in this book. I began searching the internet to find numbers of current missing children and found that this site http://www.missingkids.com/home, which is the website for The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has lots of information and numbers of children missing and kidnapped in the USA, the numbers are staggering. The more I read the more I felt that this book should be read by everyone as it is a great educational tool as well as a great story. I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars. Naomi Cottle is a child finder. She's often the investigator desperate parents turn to when they have no other avenue left to try and find their missing children, and Naomi succeeds where others have failed. But this responsibility takes a great emotional toll on her. Naomi can find missing children because once she, too, was a missing child. But she was lucky and was able to escape from the person who had kept her captive, although she had to flee without her sister. I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars. Naomi Cottle is a child finder. She's often the investigator desperate parents turn to when they have no other avenue left to try and find their missing children, and Naomi succeeds where others have failed. But this responsibility takes a great emotional toll on her. Naomi can find missing children because once she, too, was a missing child. But she was lucky and was able to escape from the person who had kept her captive, although she had to flee without her sister. Sadly, she had no memories of that time, and all these years later, she can barely remember anything about her sister except vague memories of a field she ran through as she escaped. She is haunted by the fact that she didn't keep her promise to protect her sister. A year ago, Naomi decided not to take any new cases until she finds her sister. Her search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where homeless teenagers roam the streets by day and night, doing whatever they can to survive. Someone has been kidnapping young girls off the streets, and many are found dead later, floating in the river. Naomi is troubled by this epidemic of violence, and even though she doesn't want to get involved, she can't turn away, especially as she wonders what parallels these kidnappings and murders might have with her sister's case. When Naomi meets Celia, a troubled 12-year-old who took to the streets after a horrible family situation took a bad turn, she recognizes some similarities with her own life, and she wants to protect Celia like she was unable to do her own sister. And Celia also has a sister to protect. The only thing helping Celia through her ordeal are the butterflies—the beautiful phantoms she sees on the streets, following her and keeping her company. They remind her of a happier time with her mother and her sister, and she wishes she could just fly away like they do. As Naomi digs deeper into her sister's whereabouts, and Celia tries to right her situation and protect her own sister, they both find themselves being drawn deeper and deeper into an evil web, a web that has the potential to destroy all they love—as well as themselves. The Butterfly Girl is a beautifully written book about those who are lost and desperate to be found, as well as those who are seen but still feel lost. It's a story about feeling powerless to change situations around you, no matter how hard you fight, and how easy it is to shut others out as you fight your battles. It's also a troubling story of how so many children on the margins can find themselves at risk, with no one to advocate for or protect them. Rene Denfeld's first two books, The Enchanted and The Child Finder (in which Naomi's character was introduced) were emotional, gorgeously told stories. While The Butterfly Girl started a bit slowly for me, it picked up steam as the book went along, and there is so much poignancy and vivid imagery in this story. Even though this features the same character from The Child Finder , you could read this book without reading its predecessor. But I'd definitely recommend that you pick that one up, because once again, Denfeld's talent with prose and imagery is something to behold. This book definitely made me think, and it made me sad for those who have to fight these battles. It once again proves what an amazing storyteller Denfeld is. NetGalley and HarperCollins provided me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available! This book will be published October 1, 2019. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    "Hope is grief's best music." (Author Unknown) The strain of light notes reach into Naomi Cottle's inner being. It's all that she has to go on. Naomi has been on a journey for over twenty years weighed down by the harshness of reality but uplifted with the light feathery touch of hope. Naomi and her sister, Sarah, were abducted as children. Naomi was found several years later wandering within the tall grassy fields outside of Portland. No Sarah. No definitive memories. With a resolve expanding "Hope is grief's best music." (Author Unknown) The strain of light notes reach into Naomi Cottle's inner being. It's all that she has to go on. Naomi has been on a journey for over twenty years weighed down by the harshness of reality but uplifted with the light feathery touch of hope. Naomi and her sister, Sarah, were abducted as children. Naomi was found several years later wandering within the tall grassy fields outside of Portland. No Sarah. No definitive memories. With a resolve expanding miles outside of herself, Naomi still carries the resolve of finding her sister. Rene Denfeld introduced us to Naomi in The Child Finder showcasing Naomi as a deeply committed investigator specializing in cold cases of lost children. And she's beyond good at what she does. Naomi has a fine-tuned gift of spotting long hidden pebbles embedded on the forgotten trails of life. Naomi and her husband, Jerome, a wounded veteran of Native American background, have returned to stay with her friend, Diane. Diane has always been supportive of the two and opens her home to them. Naomi has set aside her professional career for the moment in order to dedicate all of her energy into finding Sarah. Denfeld creates a new thread in this storyline with the introduction of Celia, a twelve year old homeless street kid, running from an abusive stepfather and a mother strung out on drugs most of the day. Celia worries about her younger sister, Alyssa, still living at home and in the line of fire from sickening Teddy. It's here that Rene Denfeld presents an eye-opening view into the failing foster care program that leaves victims on the doorstep of abuse day after day. We shake our heads in disbelief as Alyssa is returned back into her abusive home once again when the officials don't believe Celia's cry for help. Denfield, once a homeless kid herself, knows these streets and what the future holds for the kids who hide in the shadows in order to breathe in another day. The Butterfly Girl is raw and real in its presentation. Just as a butterfly is kept in a jar by the door, it must take flight in order to survive. Both Naomi and Celia cling to hope......evasive, but perhaps within reach this time. I received a copy of The Butterfly Girl through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Harper Collins Publishers and to the talented Rene Denfeld for the opportunity.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Can you still be lost even when you are found? SUMMARY A year ago, Naomi a private investigator specializing in missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she found her younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of trapdoor, a strawberry field at night, and black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life. Naomi was nine when she was found. She had been missing for five years. Naomi’s Can you still be lost even when you are found? SUMMARY A year ago, Naomi a private investigator specializing in missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she found her younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of trapdoor, a strawberry field at night, and black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life. Naomi was nine when she was found. She had been missing for five years. Naomi’s continuing search for her sister takes her to Portland Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets, searching for money, and food. Though she does not want to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of the children in need and the fear she sees in the eyes of a 12-year-old girl name Celia, who is running from her abusive step-father and an addict mother. REVIEW THE BUTTERFLY GIRL is captivating and an impossible book to put down. It’s a perfect blend of characters, setting and story. The twenty-five year-old Naomi is my favorite character of the year, perhaps even a character for the ages. She is someone you will be thinking of long after the the cover is closed. Her strength, resolve and intensity to find her sister are brought to life of the pages. Naomi’s connection with Celia is also poignant and the author effortlessly blends Naomi and Celia’s story, adding both depth and emotion to the novel. RENE DENFELD is a lyrical storyteller. She uses butterflies to bring beauty and imagination to a raw and haunting story of survival and resilience. I first fell in love with Naomi when I read The Child Finder in 2017 and honestly hope she appears in Denfeld’s future books. It’s so important to have books with strong female characters, who can take care of themselves, survive the unimaginable and serve as a role models for us all. My favorite part of the story was how Celia finds hope and solace among the butterflies. She spends her days at the library to escape the dirty and difficult streets of skid row and she surround herself with pictures of colorful butterflies. DENFELD is the author of The Child Finder (2017), and The Enchanted(. Her books always explore themes of survival, resiliency and redemption. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she is a happy mom of three kids adopted from foster care, as well as other foster kids. Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    I just finished the first book in the Naomi Cottle series yesterday and it has left me with the following thoughts:

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    It took me nine long days to get through this book, which really speaks volumes. I loved The Enchanted and The Child Finder, but this one did not deliver a cohesive or believable story. 3 stars

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I absolutely loved Denfeld’s previous novel THE CHILD FINDER, and couldn’t wait to hear more about Naomi and her quest to find missing children. In THE BUTTERLY GIRL, Naomi’s search for her missing sister takes her to the city of Portland, Oregon, where countless children are forced to live on the streets. Lately, several bodies of young homeless girls have been found in the river, and the word is out in the homeless community that a killer is targeting the city’s most vulnerable. Among those I absolutely loved Denfeld’s previous novel THE CHILD FINDER, and couldn’t wait to hear more about Naomi and her quest to find missing children. In THE BUTTERLY GIRL, Naomi’s search for her missing sister takes her to the city of Portland, Oregon, where countless children are forced to live on the streets. Lately, several bodies of young homeless girls have been found in the river, and the word is out in the homeless community that a killer is targeting the city’s most vulnerable. Among those children is Celia, a young girl who has been forced to escape the nightly visits by her stepfather by leaving home and living on the streets, after her drug addict mother and the justice system have failed to protect her from sexual abuse. To survive the horror and bleakness of life on the streets, Celia’s mind conjures up butterflies – hundreds of bright, colourful creatures that give her solace and accompany her wherever she goes. I love the way Denfeld manages to bring her fictional characters to life in such a way that they haunted me long after I finished the story. Celia is a character who will steal your heart – I just wanted to give her a hug! Denfeld, who has been homeless and living on the streets herself as a kid, is not afraid to expose the sinister side of the city many of us never get to see, but she does so with empathy and hope that salvation is possible, and that the lost can be found. I find it inspiring and heart warming how the author herself has been, and still is, a foster parent, giving a loving home to many children in need. So despite themes that are sad and heart breaking, Denfeld’s writing is lyrical and uplifting, the way Celia’s butterflies create a rainbow swirl of hope in her mind and readers’ hearts. I found that in this book, Celia features more prominently than Naomi, who is so intent on her quest to find her lost sister that she has little energy left to fight for the many homeless children she encounters in the city, Celia among them. For me, Celia was definitely the star of the story here. Her chapters are raw and will undoubtedly trigger a lot of emotions in readers. As a parent, I found her scenes especially hard to read, because it is terrifying to think how children as young as Celia are forced to survive in terrible circumstances. I see it as a huge failure of our society that we cannot protect our most vulnerable, the children! However, the character of Naomi remained a bit of an enigma for me in this latest instalment. I found her to be distracted and distant, and where I thought she should have bonded much more easily with Celia, she remained oddly aloof, intent solely on finding her sister. Whilst the mystery surrounding Naomi’s sister was something that revealed a little bit more about the girls’ terrible past (which was interesting), I found the premise a bit farfetched and lacking in the kind of tension the mystery in THE CHILD FINDER offered. Maybe I missed something, but some of the connections and decisions Naomi makes in the book did not totally make sense to me. All in all, I enjoyed Celia’s moving story in THE BUTTERFLY GIRL more than Naomi’s chapters, and hope that Naomi will go back to investigating cases of missing children in future books. I freely admit that I am not good at suspending disbelief, which is probably why this story did not totally hit the mark for me. However, I really enjoy Denfeld’s lyrical writing style and her keen observations of life on the streets, which she describes with a level of empathy and insight missing in many other novels with a similar subject matter. I look forward to reading more of this series in future. Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kubica

    Taking a bleak look into the lives of missing and homeless youth, Rene Denfeld’s latest is equal parts chilling, tragic and hopeful. Denfeld 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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    “The Butterfly Girl” is the second novel in Naomi Cottle series by Rene Denfeld that focus on the life of the infamous child finder, Naomi. Naomi, the private investigator with a knack for finding missing kids, has put all of her work on hold, determined to keep the promise she made to herself years ago- find her sister. Years ago, Naomi and her sister were kidnapped, and only Naomi escaped. Without any memories or even the name of her sister, Naomi’s sparse search leads her to Portland, “The Butterfly Girl” is the second novel in Naomi Cottle series by Rene Denfeld that focus on the life of the infamous child finder, Naomi. Naomi, the private investigator with a knack for finding missing kids, has put all of her work on hold, determined to keep the promise she made to herself years ago- find her sister. Years ago, Naomi and her sister were kidnapped, and only Naomi escaped. Without any memories or even the name of her sister, Naomi’s sparse search leads her to Portland, Oregon, where she is soon thrust into the world of child homelessness. After meeting a young street girl named Celia, Naomi is even more determined to find her sister, and just may try and help Celia and her friends along the way. The Child Finder was beautiful, powerful and life-altering. It is one of those books whose creativity left a lasting mark. With that as a predecessor, “The Butterfly Girl” had its hands full, but it definitely succeeded in reaching the bar. I am still a fan of Naomi- I love her perceived callousness and her protective nature that still allows her to struggle through a functional relationship with her husband, Jerome. Celia is deeply damaged and scarred by the traumatic events of her young life, and you cannot help but root for her (particularly in the fact that she takes refuge in a library on many occasions and hides among the books.) Denfeld speaks from personal experience, as a homeless child herself in her youth, and it is evident in the honest and heartbreaking depiction. A short novel, I easily read through it in two days. Addicting, with short chapters, it was difficult to put down. Although the novel doesn’t necessarily have to be read in conjunction with The Child Finder, it would make things much clearer and form a deeper connection if the first book is read before taking this one on. The ending was predictable but delightful, and I am left with a gamut of emotions and thoughts, as Denfeld’s books tend to do. A sweet novel that is also powerful, and will leave you with bittersweet feelings, while still providing that sense of justice. Denfeld’s life, however challenging, has led to some pretty incredible storytelling ideas, and I pray she continues to share them with the world.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    3 Stars Naomi Cottle has never forgotten her sister. Not since the day they were torn apart as children and Naomi lost her. Her sister is the reason that Naomi became the Child Finder. Finally, after all this time, Naomi has a lead - and this brings her to the streets of Portland, Oregon. Here, she finds scores of homeless children living on the streets, and a serial killer who is murdering them, one by one, day by day, leaving Naomi racing to find her sister and if possible, find the killer. 3 Stars Naomi Cottle has never forgotten her sister. Not since the day they were torn apart as children and Naomi lost her. Her sister is the reason that Naomi became the Child Finder. Finally, after all this time, Naomi has a lead - and this brings her to the streets of Portland, Oregon. Here, she finds scores of homeless children living on the streets, and a serial killer who is murdering them, one by one, day by day, leaving Naomi racing to find her sister and if possible, find the killer. Celia is homeless. Living on the streets with a few friends. Hiding from everyone and everything, except for the Butterflies. Her life has never been an easy one - in order to survive, Celia does what she has to do, just like everyone else. Unfortunately for Celia, someone has her number and if she’s not careful, it’s going to be up. A follow up to “The Child Finder,” “The Butterfly Girl” is a mystery / suspense that didn’t quite draw me in the way that the first book in this series did. I desperately wanted to feel something for all of the characters but something was lacking here and I wasn’t truly able to connect in the way that I’d hoped. I loved the storyline between Naomi and Jerome however and am glad to see how that has progressed and would love to read more books about the Child Finder in the future. This was a buddy read with Kaceey. Thank you to Edelweiss, Harper Collins and Rene Denfield for the arc. Published on Goodreads and Edelweiss on 11.30.19.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

    The Butterfly Girl was the perfect follow-up to The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld. Unlike the first novel in the Naomi Cottle (series? / duology?), this one picked up the pace a notch and filled the plot with a meatier core. Naomi has made a promise to herself to find her missing sister and that is what she is set out to do in this sequel. Some time has passed and Naomi is in a different place personally as well as professionally. She is still using her insight on finding missing children and The Butterfly Girl was the perfect follow-up to The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld. Unlike the first novel in the Naomi Cottle (series? / duology?), this one picked up the pace a notch and filled the plot with a meatier core. Naomi has made a promise to herself to find her missing sister and that is what she is set out to do in this sequel. Some time has passed and Naomi is in a different place personally as well as professionally. She is still using her insight on finding missing children and this takes her to Portland, Oregon, an area where girls keep going missing. While she is still investigating her sister's disappearance, she meets Celia, a girl that is struggling with her mother's addiction and her stepfather's abuse. The events in this novel are told through different pov's memories and Naomi's, as well as Celia's narratives, intermingle greatly. Their stories aren't for the faint of heart. We get to know more about Naomi's past and what Celia has been experiencing at home. It's sad and so close to what is happening every day somewhere in the world to other girls and boys every day. At some parts, more so towards the beginning, Denefeld explains and describes life on the streets in Portland and how children become involved with the wrong adults in the wrong districts and entertainment, and she is not holding back. A bit of a hodgepodge of person's intentions and scenarios are presented as possibilities in the missing girls' cases. I have read someone on GR dnf'ed the novel close to the beginning (perhaps because of the above) and this may be a bump a reader needs to get past or may not be able to, as it's pretty drastic. I thought I was reading the wrong book for a moment, but this was just a short part and I am glad I read past it. The overall novel was very satisfying. I enjoyed the tempo and the intertwined storylines. I may even like it more so than the first book and its remote setting, though I really liked Naomi and the plot very much in both novels. Be prepared for some more up-tempo on this one, but I could definitely recommend it if you liked Naomi's story in the first novel. Technically, one could read this one as a stand-alone, but why miss out?! Happy Reading :) More of my reviews here: https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/

  24. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Both deeply moving and hugely suspenseful, the novel interleaves the story of Celia, a twelve-year-old eking out a precarious existence on the street, traumatized by sexual abuse, obsessed with butterflies, with the story of Naomi, the child-finding investigator in search of her lost sister, left behind twenty years ago when Naomi escaped a kidnapper as a very young child. Set in Oregon, the book weaves together the human affinity for decency, yearning for truth, and reaching out for beauty with Both deeply moving and hugely suspenseful, the novel interleaves the story of Celia, a twelve-year-old eking out a precarious existence on the street, traumatized by sexual abuse, obsessed with butterflies, with the story of Naomi, the child-finding investigator in search of her lost sister, left behind twenty years ago when Naomi escaped a kidnapper as a very young child. Set in Oregon, the book weaves together the human affinity for decency, yearning for truth, and reaching out for beauty with the demeaning struggle of street life for vulnerable youth, the complex, traumatizing situations which set them there, the harrowing danger and the lasting wounds stemming from adult silence. All of it in the hands of a masterful storyteller come together in this purposeful, electric, and at the same time humane and tender book. Publishes in Oct. 2019.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    3.5 stars As the sequel to 2017’s The Child Finder , Rene Denfeld’s latest work, The Butterfly Girl , sees the return of Naomi Cottle, an independent investigator whose knack for finding missing children stems from a childhood tragedy, a kidnapping that she was able to escape from, but sadly her sister did not. Unable to let go of the guilt of leaving her sister behind, Naomi has made it her life’s mission to find her sister, despite barely having any information to go off of. This time 3.5 stars As the sequel to 2017’s The Child Finder , Rene Denfeld’s latest work, The Butterfly Girl , sees the return of Naomi Cottle, an independent investigator whose knack for finding missing children stems from a childhood tragedy, a kidnapping that she was able to escape from, but sadly her sister did not. Unable to let go of the guilt of leaving her sister behind, Naomi has made it her life’s mission to find her sister, despite barely having any information to go off of. This time around, Naomi’s search for her sister brings her to Portland, Oregon, where she discovers a growing number of homeless children disappearing off the streets, only to be found murdered days later, their bodies tossed in the dirty waters of the local river. Despite her best efforts not to get involved due to a vow she made to locate her sister before taking on any more cases, Naomi is eventually pulled into the case after meeting Celia, a twelve-year-old girl who chooses a life on the streets rather than returning home to an abusive stepfather and an oblivious, drug addict mother. Seeing Celia reminds Naomi of her own past and instills in her an urgent need to try her best to protect her, while Celia’s own desire to protect her younger sister Alyssa from the abuse she herself suffered draws parallels to Naomi’s relationship with the sister she is desperately trying to find. This was one of those books that I struggle with rating, as there were enough things I appreciated about the story, but there were also things that didn’t work tremendously well for me. Perhaps because I never read the first book in this series, I found Naomi’s storyline about searching for her sister and the way it eventually unfolds a bit unrealistic and maybe even a tad forced — I didn’t connect with her story as much emotionally and at times, even felt frustrated with the way Naomi’s search becomes an obsession to the point that it takes over her life. Celia’s story, on the other hand, was heartbreaking — drawing from her own personal experience of living on the streets as a kid, the way that Denfeld depicted the harsh realities of street living was both heartfelt and emotionally gut-wrenching. Her story ran the emotional spectrum for me – there was sadness and anger, but yet there was also an underlying element of hopefulness interspersed throughout the story. I think for me, I preferred more focus on Celia’s story rather than Naomi’s, as I found myself skimming some of the sections that dove too much into Naomi’s backstory, which I felt were a bit repetitive and, in a way, dragged down the rest of the story. With all that said, one of the things that set this book apart for me was the atmospheric writing, especially in the chapters involving Celia and her friends and what their lives were like out on the streets. There was also the brilliant use of imagery in a seamless yet metaphoric way – in this instance, the imagery of butterflies and their importance to Celia’s story. Overall, I feel this was a good story that had a lot of potential and while I agree with other reviewers that this can definitely be read as a standalone, I think for me personally, I would’ve appreciated the story more if I had read the first one prior. I do intend on going back to read The Child Finder at some point, preferably before Denfeld’s next book comes out, especially if it will be a continuation of Naomi’s story. Received ARC from Harper via NetGalley.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julie Christine

    I entered adolescence at the same time Gary Ridgeway, aka the Green River Killer, murdered his first victim, a teenager he'd abducted from a foster home near Seattle. Through my teenage and early adult years, Ridgeway killed dozens of women in south King County and in Portland, OR. Nearly all were sex workers and runaways, compromised by poverty, drugs, trauma. They were the most vulnerable among us, forgotten and easily discarded. Author Rene Denfeld lived homeless in Portland as a teenager at I entered adolescence at the same time Gary Ridgeway, aka the Green River Killer, murdered his first victim, a teenager he'd abducted from a foster home near Seattle. Through my teenage and early adult years, Ridgeway killed dozens of women in south King County and in Portland, OR. Nearly all were sex workers and runaways, compromised by poverty, drugs, trauma. They were the most vulnerable among us, forgotten and easily discarded. Author Rene Denfeld lived homeless in Portland as a teenager at the same time as the Green River Killer was beginning his two-decade killing spree. She may even have narrowly missed becoming one of his victims, as she chronicles in this recent article for Crime Reads: The Green River Killer and Me. The Butterfly Girl is Denfeld's gift to those abused, forgotten street children. She gives them voice, rage, tenderness, humanity, and in Naomi Cottle — the child finder— she offers them hope. We were introduced to Naomi in Denfeld's haunting 2017 novel, The Child Finder. In this second thriller, Naomi puts her external investigations on hold to focus on finding her sister, who was held captive with Naomi after the two were stolen from their families as little girls. Naomi escaped when she was nine, running naked through strawberrry fields into the arms of migrant workers, who delivered her to safety in a distant Oregon town. Young Naomi fled with nothing. She had no memories of her captivity, only that she left behind a baby sister. Rage and guilt propelled her into a career finding the children everyone else has given up on. Even if all she can offer the grieving families is a body, her mission is to bring closure to the devastation of the missing. The Butterfly Girl of the title is twelve-year-old Celia, a Portland street kid who escaped repeated rape at the hands of her opioid-addicted mother's boyfriend. Celia sleeps in the bushes and digs through restaurant dumpsters, avoiding roving bands of marauding frat boys and the slimy clutches of preying men. Occasionally she sells her body to make some cash when things are most desperate. It is a terrible existence, but better than the one she left. She finds refuge in the city library, where volumes of books about butterflies capture and release her imagination into a world of flight on beautiful wings. But a new horror has entered the streets where Celia lives: someone is murdering young homeless women and dumping their bodies into the city's wide, industrial river. Naomi's quest to find her sister draws her into Celia's life and into the hunt for this monster. The two investigations dovetail into one breathless race to catch a killer before he can strike again. Naomi's own trauma renders her distant and cold from her husband, from the beloved friend who takes them in, and even from the reader. She seems to serve, uncomfortably at times, as an empty vessel through which all the rage and despair and sadness of the victims pours through. Bleak and beautiful, The Butterfly Girl offers a moving and distressing portrait of street life, of those who live it and those who seek to provide relief and retreat from it. It's a heartpounding thriller with a lyrical and humane soul.

  27. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    5 stunning butterfly stars I am a huge fan of Rene Denfeld’s work and I enjoyed “The Enchanted” and LOVED “The Child Finder” where we meet Naomi for the first time. Denfeld’s writing is lyrical and somehow manages to touch on very difficult subjects with grace and honesty. Naomi is an investigator with a unique knack for finding missing children as she was once a missing child herself. In this book, she begins a quest to find her sister, who was left behind when she escaped as a child. During this 5 stunning butterfly stars I am a huge fan of Rene Denfeld’s work and I enjoyed “The Enchanted” and LOVED “The Child Finder” where we meet Naomi for the first time. Denfeld’s writing is lyrical and somehow manages to touch on very difficult subjects with grace and honesty. Naomi is an investigator with a unique knack for finding missing children as she was once a missing child herself. In this book, she begins a quest to find her sister, who was left behind when she escaped as a child. During this quest, Naomi gets to know the street children of Portland and especially connects with Celia. We get a gritty, behind-the-scenes look at life on the street for these kids and the dangers that lurk nearby. Celia is a character that gets into your heart and I wanted to reach through the book and give her a hug. She has a special relationship with butterflies, they almost act as her protectors. I’m not sure exactly why, but I love Naomi’s character. She’s tough, overcome so many things, and yet wants to help others. She is married and I so want her to be happy in that relationship and in life! I found myself nervously reading the last portion of this book as I so wanted her to find her sister and for Celia to stay safe. The tension definitely builds throughout the book and wraps up with a chilling conclusion. Don’t forget to read the author’s note at the end of the book about her own life as a homeless child. No wonder she writes with such clarity, realism, and authenticity. I highly recommend this one, it is a favorite 2019 read for me. Thank you to Rene Denfeld, Edelweiss, and Harper Collins for a complimentary copy of the book to read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    I won this book from Goodreads giveaways program in exchange for an honest review. I got an ARC paperback copy with 265 pages. No chapter numbers in this edition but I could tell where the chapters were. There are ink prints of butterflies on the first page of every chapter. The book has three parts: One: Caterpillar, Two: Chrysalis, Three: Butterfly This is the 14th book I’ve won at Goodreads but the first 13 were all won during 2008-20011. So it’s been a long time. I tried to coordinate my I won this book from Goodreads giveaways program in exchange for an honest review. I got an ARC paperback copy with 265 pages. No chapter numbers in this edition but I could tell where the chapters were. There are ink prints of butterflies on the first page of every chapter. The book has three parts: One: Caterpillar, Two: Chrysalis, Three: Butterfly This is the 14th book I’ve won at Goodreads but the first 13 were all won during 2008-20011. So it’s been a long time. I tried to coordinate my reading so that I’d be ready to start reading this book the day I received it and was able to do that. I read the book over a 4 day period, over Labor Day weekend. (Won: 7/10 end day – Mailed: 7/11 –- reported at giveaway page not received 8/13 – messaged Goodreads AND Harper that still not received 8/22 – heard back from Harper and they sent another copy - Received: 8/30 - Read: 8/30-9/2 (official publication date: 10/1/19 ) I loved the first book The Child Finder and was eager to read the sequel. For me the characters are 5 star worthy, the story is 4 star to 4-1/2 star worthy so 4-1/2 stars. How it made me feel? Close to 5 stars worthy. Memorable and endearing characters. I’ll remember them. I’d forgotten one important thing from book one but the author deftly catches up the reader regarding what happened in book one so it was fine. I do recommend reading book one first but reading it first is not absolutely essential. It’s also not necessary to read this book if readers have read The Child Finder, but I highly recommend it. This book has some satisfying resolutions continued from book one. I definitely felt tense as I read. It’s achingly sad. It felt painful to read but was worth it to me, and it does have a hopeful outlook, despite the tough subject matter. I love Naomi. I love Celia even more. I cared about and liked so many of the characters. In addition to Celia and Naomi, I really liked Jerome, Diane, Winfeld & Richardson, and the public librarian. Others too. I enjoyed how the story was alternately told by Naomi and by Celia, and a bit by Jerome too. So much was predictable but I was fine with that. I did guess something about someone’s identity from early on, and that was also okay. I liked the story and especially the characters from start to finish. This author understands trauma and homeless children and seems to know of what she writes. One thing that rang false to me (view spoiler)[ was how the same person, even though maybe because at different ages? being sexually attracted to and hurting/killing children of such different ages 5 & 2 vs. 12 & teens??? That doesn’t seem typical. Yet the author seems to know more about this than I do so ??? (hide spoiler)] I do recommend this book for people who’ve read this author’s The Child Finder and I highly recommend that book to all readers who find the premise intriguing. Because I read an ARC copy I can’t be 100% sure all the words will be the same in the finished hardcover edition. (I will look at the hardcover edition when it’s available to check for any differences I can identify) I am not officially adding quotes to the book. But quotes that hit me hard in the context of this story: “It can only take a minute to ruin a lifetime.” (page 60 in the ARC) “When you have lost everything, everything matters.” (page 73 in the ARC) “How many people spend their entire lives not even knowing that they have already left?” (page 96 in the ARC) “What if we are all capable of lying to ourselves…confirming that the stories we tell ourselves have more meaning than the facts. That doesn’t make them lies. Seeded with every myth was the emotional truth.” (page 122 in the ARC) And from the Acknowledgments: “Life is a story we tell ourselves and each other – we can make the story full of justice, kindness, and redemption. It’s up to us.” I really like this author. I plan to read more books by her.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    The Butterfly Girl is the sequel to The Child Finder where Denfeld dives deep into Naomi Cottle’s elusive past. Denfeld builds on the foreshadowing in The Child Finder to deliver a painful yet hopeful story. The Butterfly Girl is told mostly told from two perspectives, Naomi and Celia, a young girl living on the streets. Naomi finds herself in Portland where she is determined to locate her missing sister, a sister she has barely any memory of except for a strawberry field. Denfeld’s writing is The Butterfly Girl is the sequel to The Child Finder where Denfeld dives deep into Naomi Cottle’s elusive past. Denfeld builds on the foreshadowing in The Child Finder to deliver a painful yet hopeful story. The Butterfly Girl is told mostly told from two perspectives, Naomi and Celia, a young girl living on the streets. Naomi finds herself in Portland where she is determined to locate her missing sister, a sister she has barely any memory of except for a strawberry field. Denfeld’s writing is just as poetic as the previous novel. Denfeld weaves together a dark tale making it bearable only through her expert writing. What makes The Butterfly Girl stand out from other thrillers/mysteries is Denfeld’s focus on the disadvantaged, name Celia and the life she has living on the streets. Between the two storylines, Celia’s is easily the most interesting. Naomi’s storyline focuses heavily on her inner turmoil and feelings, so for a lot of the novel Naomi is almost blind to what is happening around her until it is painfully obvious. Although I did not enjoy The Butterfly Girl as much as The Child Finder, I would certainly read another novel in the series as Naomi tackles another case.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Poetic, horrifying, beautiful, heartbreaking, and hopeful! A tale of strength, bravery, survival, and evil.

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