The Butterfly Cabinet
When former nanny Maddie McGlade receives a letter from the last of her charges, she realizes the time has come to unburden herself of a secret she has kept for more than seventy years: the truth behind the death of Charlotte Ormond, the four-year-old daughter of the wealthy household where Maddie was employed as a young woman. Based on chilling events that actually took place in the north of Ireland in 1892, The Butterfly Cabinet is a sterling example of dark, emotionally complex fiction.
The Confession of Maddie McGlade
Reading Group Guide
When Maddie McGlade, a former nanny now in her nineties, receives a letter from the last of her charges, she realizes that the time has come to unburden herself of a secret she has kept for decades: What really happened on the last day in the life of Charlotte Ormond, the four-year-old only daughter of the big house where Maddie was employed in her youth? The Butterfly Cabinet unfolds in chapters that alternate between Maddie’s story—as told to Anna, Charlotte’s would-be great-niece—and the prison diaries of Charlotte’s mother, Harriet, who was held responsible for her daughter’s death.
Topics and Questions for Discussion
1. How did you feel about the dual-narrator structure of the book? Did you want to hear more from Anna? Were there any other characters whose narration you would have liked to read as well?
2. What parts of the book took you most by surprise? What were your favorite moments?
3. Who do you think was the most conflicted chara see more