On the ancient marshlands of Somerset - a place of mists and magic - a girl grows up in the shadow of the English Civil War, knowing that one day she will inherit the rich estate which belonged to her late mother. Her father, a stern but loving Puritan, once a distinguished soldier in Cromwell's army, fears for his daughter in the poisonous aftermath of the war,and for her vulnerability as an heiress. But above all he fears and misunderstands her scientific passion for butterflies. Eleanor Glanville was in fact destined to become one of the most famous entomologists in history, bequeathing her name to the rare butterfly which she discovered, the Glanville Fritillary. But not before she had endured a life of quite extraordinary vicissitude. Two marriages and an all-consuming love, which proved her undoing, a deep friendship with one of the great scientists of the day and finally, a trial for lunacy (on the grounds that no sane person would pursue butterflies) are all played out against the violent events of the Monmouth Rebellion and the vicious controversy over whether or not to drain the Somerset marshes. Now, if you drive down the M5, you will cross Kings Sedgemoor Drain - one of the first great ditches which reclaimed the land for farming and destroyed the precious habitat of the Glanville Fritillary
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Fiona Mountain is a major new talent in the field of historical fiction. This is history told with integrity, with an authentic feel for the period and vividly rounded characters. All the colours and textures of the seventeenth century are eloquently realised here, in wonderful detail, and against this backdrop is set a haunting and tragic narrative. I have come away from this book having learned much about Lady Eleanor Glanville, and butterflies, in the most entertaining way possible. I eagerly await Fiona Mountain`s next book. -
A fascinating story ... richly and brilliantly detailed and full of love and heartbreak -
It is a rare talent in an author to be able to mix rigorous historical research with the narrative energies and imagination of a true novelist. Fiona Mountain brings all of these skills to her entrancing Lady of the Butterflies. A vivid and fascinating novel about an extraordinary woman, I was gripped from beginning to end. -
My heart ached as I read this book because I knew at some point I would have to finish it. From the very first sentence I was caught by this wonderful and enchanting story, with a heroine you fall totally in love with and a world that I wish I could live in myself. It is as bewitching and wondrous as butterflies themselves and will be treasured as a read I will never forget. -
Lady of the Butterflies' is an enjoyable, dramatic and intriguing tale that I found almost impossible to put down. It has a wonderful sense of period and well-observed, compelling characters who I really cared about. Love and passion, in their many forms, are at its heart and as an actress I was particularly drawn to Eleanor Glanville, a strong and emotional woman whose many joys and hardships I fully shared. -
Rich and brilliant ... Fiona Mountain is an extraordinary talent, an impressive writer and an exceptional storyteller. - The Lady
Fiona Mountain has written a powerful and sexually charged novel set in the shadow of the English Civil War. Lady of the Butterflies is a fascinating historical novel capturing the life of Eleanor Glanville, a woman of terrific scientific discipline and worldly passion. Eleanor's life is one of personal upheaval and her story is set in the Somerset Marshlands that face social and agricultural revolution. Mountain's novel describes Eleanor's discovery of the Glanville Fritillary, a rare butterfly that reflects Eleanor's immense strength, beauty and frailty. It's a brilliant historical novel filled with fascinating detail and stunning imagery. - The Bookseller
Well written beautifully descriptive and completely engrossing, it's a must for all who enjoy historical fiction. - Choice Magazine, Book of the Month
The author of this wonderful book jas done impeccable research and through her skilful writing we feel all of Eleanor's passions and dilemmas ... Whenever I see a butterfly, I shall think of this book. - Yorkshire Gazette and Herald
Fiona Mountain was a press officer at BBC Radio 1 for ten years. She is the author of three previous novels, but only returned to writing after the birth of her four children. She lives in the Cotswolds with them and her husband, a musician. She is already working on her next novel, based on the life of Charles I's queen, Henrietta Maria.