The Sound of Butterflies by Rachael King

An unforgettable journey from the demure gentility of turn-of-the-twentieth-century England into the heart of darkness.

Sophie Edgar barely recognizes her husband, Thomas, an amateur naturalist, when he returns from the Amazon, where he had hoped to find his long-dreamed-of mythical butterfly, Papilio sophia. The optimistic young Edwardian gentleman is gone, replaced by a weak, nearly mute shadow of the man she married.

Unable to break through his heart breaking silence, Sophie must glean what she can from his diaries and boxes of exquisite butterflies in order to discover what happened to him.

Rachael King was born in New Zealand to a bookish family – her father Michael King is one of New Zealand’s most prominent authors (The Penguin History of New Zealand), and her mother, Ros Henry, is a publisher.

Rachael gained her Bachelor of Arts from Auckland University in 1994, and completed a Masters in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Wellington’s Victoria University in 2001.

The Sound of Butterflies, was published worldwide and translated into eight foreign languages. In 2007 it won the Montana New Zealand Book Award for Best First Novel.

Magpie Hall was published in New Zealand in November 2009, and Red Rocks, her first novel for children, in 2012. It won the Esther Glen medal for junior fiction, New Zealand’s longest-running literary award, and was short-listed for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

Rachael King is Literary Director of the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival.


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