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.
What did you like most about The Lady of the Butterflies?
The history of it is so interesting but not like a boring history lesson like at school.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Lady of the Butterflies?
Every time Edmund spoke, listening to Eleanor as a little girl, when she was pregnant, It was all very memorable so it is hard to say. I was shocked when Edmund died.
What three words best describe Patience Tomlinson’s voice?
natural, unscripted and funny. She made me laugh so many times and shocked me and did exactly what she was supposed to do.She has a voice which is very nice and easy to listen to.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I know it's stupid but I was annoyed when she killed the butterfly. I didn't really get particularly moved but I enjoyed practically every scene.
Any additional comments?
Buy this book it is well worth it.