“Lucinda Riley once again has written a masterful saga.”– People Magazine
Full of her trademark mix of unforgettable characters and heart-breaking secrets, The Butterfly Room is a spellbinding, second-chance-at-love story from #1 International bestseller Lucinda Riley.
Posy Montague is approaching her seventieth birthday. Still living in her beautiful family home, Admiral House, set in the glorious Suffolk countryside where she spent her own idyllic childhood catching butterflies with her beloved father, and raised her own children, Posy knows she must make an agonizing decision. Despite the memories the house holds, and the exquisite garden she has spent twenty-five years creating, the house is crumbling around her, and Posy knows the time has come to sell it.
Then a face appears from the past – Freddie, her first love, who abandoned her and left her heartbroken fifty years ago. Already struggling to cope with her son Sam’s inept business dealings, and the sudden reappearance of her younger son Nick after ten years in Australia, Posy is reluctant to trust in Freddie’s renewed affection. And unbeknown to Posy, Freddie – and Admiral House – have a devastating secret to reveal…
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‘Daddy?’ I asked at breakfast the next day, dipping my toast soldiers carefully into my egg. ‘It’s so hot today, can we go to the beach? We haven’t been in such a long time.’
I saw Daddy give Maman a look, but she was reading her letters over her cup of café au lait and didn’t seem to notice. Maman always got lots of letters from France, all written on very thin paper, even thinner than a butterfly wing, which suited Maman, because everything about her was so delicate and slender.
‘Daddy? The beach,’ I prompted.
‘My darling, I’m afraid the beach isn’t suitable for playing at the moment. It’s covered in barbed wire and mines. Do you remember when I explained to you about what happened in Southwold last month?’
‘Yes, Daddy.’ I looked down at my egg and shuddered, remembering how Daisy had carried me to the Anderson shelter (which I’d thought was called that because it was our surname – it had confused me a great deal when Mabel had said her family had an Anderson shelter too, as her surname was Price). It had sounded as if the sky was alive with thunder and lightning, but rather than God sending it, Daddy said it was Hitler. Inside the shelter, we had all huddled close, and Daddy had said we should pretend to be a hedgehog family, and I should curl up like a little hoglet. Maman had got quite cross about him calling me a hoglet, but that’s what I’d pretended to be, burrowed under the earth, with the humans warring above us. Eventually, the terrible sounds had stopped. Daddy had said we could all go back to bed, but I was sad to have to go to my human bed alone, rather than staying all together in our burrow.
The next morning, I had found Daisy crying in the kitchen, but she wouldn’t say what was the matter. The milk cart didn’t come that day, and then Maman had said I wouldn’t be going to school because it wasn’t there any more.
‘But how can it not be there, Maman?’
‘A bomb fell on it, chérie,’ she’d said, blowing out cigarette smoke.
Maman was smoking now too, and I sometimes worried that she would set her letters on fire because she held them so close to her face when she was reading.
‘But what about our beach hut?’ I asked Daddy. I loved our little hut – it was painted a butter yellow, and stood at the very end of the row so if you looked the right way, you could pretend that you were the only people on the beach for miles, but if you turned the other way, you weren’t too far from the nice ice cream man by the pier. Daddy and I always made the most elaborate sandcastles, with turrets and moats, big enough for all the little crabs to live in if they decided to come close enough. Maman never wanted to come to the beach; she said it was ‘too sandy’, which I thought was rather like saying the ocean was too wet.
Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland, and after an early career as an actress in film, theatre and television, wrote her first book aged twenty-four. Her books have been translated into thirty-seven languages and sold twenty million copies worldwide. She is a No.1 Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller.
Lucinda is currently writing The Seven Sisters series, which tells the story of adopted sisters and is based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation. It has become a global phenomenon, with each book in the series being a No.1 bestseller across the world. The series is currently in development with a major Hollywood production company.
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