Rene Denfeld follows up her last novel, The Child Finder (devoured it in a day) with The Butterfly Girl.
This latest continues the story of Naomi and the search for her missing sister. Naomi is a private investigator with a specialty - she finds children - lost, stolen, missing and kidnapped. She seems to have an uncanny ability to ferret out clues and traces of a child's passing or presence. That ability is honed from experience - she too was a lost child. She escaped, but has no memory of what came before that time.
A year has passed, a year of following hunches - and Naomi senses she is close when she arrives in Portland, Oregon.....
The reader knows more than Naomi - we're privy to the what is happening with the children on the streets of Portland through one girl's voice. The danger is palpable and we can only urge Naomi forward. But is she any closer to finding her sister? Tension populates the pages of The Butterfly Girl. And turned this into a one sitting read for me.
Naomi is such a great lead character - driven, determined, intelligent, but wounded. The supporting cast of Jerome and Diane are just as complex and have their own stories to tell. And the young players at the heart of the book will break your heart.
Denfeld's measured prose conjure up detailed images and ideas. The novel is never rushed, despite the urgency of the search. Ties between the characters are explored, as is the relationship with one's self - all with a keen eye for the human condition. As with The Child Finder, love, loss, redemption and the power of the human spirit are woven throughout The Butterfly Girl.
Gentle readers, note that there are abuse triggers in this novel. How is Denfeld able to capture and portray such difficult situations and events with such a keen eye and thoughtful voice? This quote from the author's notes speaks volumes....
"This book was raised by libraries and love. I wouldn't be a writer today if not for the public libraries of my difficult childhood, and the books that saved me with story. I will never forget the librarians of the downtown Portland, Oregon, library who expressed care for me when I, too, was a homeless kid. Thank you for showing me a path through the pain, and the beauty in the darkness." "Thank you to my clients in my day job as a public defense investigator, including the trafficking victims, homeless, refugees, immigrants, veterans and others who have filled my life."
Another excellent read from Denfeld. Here's an excerpt of The Butterfly Girl. I'm hoping there's going to be another Naomi book.