Feature book: Shooting Butterflies
This is an awesome and powerful story set over years of turmoil and hardships in Africa. We are taken on a journey that will have you on the edge of your seat, in tears and smiling at the amazing strength of the characters in this book. The setting is beautiful as we are transported to the safari camps with the great animals that live in Africa. But there is also danger and death that comes from the beliefs of the African people and the determination of one man. Ex-soldier Kirkman ‘Buffel’ Potgieter needs to right a wrong that happened when he was just a boy. It is also the story of Wayne and Tara who fall in love as teenagers. They are forced apart but never stop loving each other.
At the age of thirteen, Tara Wright is happily living on the family farm in Zimbabwe with her mother, father and sister. When she witnesses the murder of her father and uncle, she escapes with the help of a black man, Shilo, who works on the neighbour’s farm. Tara is devastated, especially when her mother sells the farm and they move to be with family in South Africa. Determined to one day return and find her father’s killer, she keeps the secret that Shilo helped her get away.
Wayne Botha is an only child. His father is much older than his mother and she is not a loving parent, but Wayne is very close to his Dad. They live on a sugar cane farm. Wayne is a great sportsman at school, and they have a holiday house on the beach. He met Tara when she came to his school, and they became fast friends. When they both end up at the same beach for holidays, their friendship intensifies, although Tara is reluctant at first. She has a hard time getting close to people because she is scared that she will lose them as she did her father.
Buffel spends years in a special branch of the army that is kept fairly secret, but he also continues to sacrifice children to help his friend pass to the other world. He has dreams that speak to him, and he needs the butterfly so his friend’s soul can walk with his ancestors. Shilo and Buffel have spent time in the same army unit, and Shilo knows how mad he is. So he stays close to Buffel over the years to try to keep the children safe—especially the one he is after more than all the others.
Wayne and Tara, although teenagers, are very much in love, but Tara leaves, unprepared to give up what love has given her. Wayne is sent to boarding school and then goes into national service, becoming an elite Recce in the army, but he never gives up hope of finding Tara. Tara, who is now a psychologist, eventually moves in with her cousin Gabe, who has been a rock to her throughout everything. She still loves Wayne. Things get more dangerous when Buffel gets closer, and Shilo comes to work on Wayne’s farm. They learn they have more in common than they thought.
Tara eventually gets in touch with Wayne about a secret and possibly some bad news. Their love is still so strong. With Shilo there to help, secrets are revealed about her father’s death and Buffel, and the journey to a HEA starts. They survive despite the threats and danger, but the strength that is shown by all will have you cheering them on. Truly, I was in total awe of this story. It is so good and one that I highly recommend. It should not be missed.
Reviewed by Helen S
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. ARRA members who leave a comment by 20 May 2015 will go in the draw to win the book. (The giveaway is now closed. The winner was Beverley E.)