**Note: This book was received through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Right off the bat I’m going to give my trigger warnings for this book, although it isn’t necessarily a comprehensive list. I will not be discussing these triggers in my review. Content warning for The Roses of May for: eating disorders, stalking, and sexual assault.
I was STOKED when I saw this on NetGalley. I had just read The Butterfly Garden a month or two beforehand and couldn’t believe my luck in stumbling across an ARC of the sequel. I gave The Butterfly Garden five stars and was really looking forward to what Dot Hutchison was up to next.
Let me just start off by saying that even though I hyped this book up in my mind, it completely lived up to it. I didn’t even read the plot summary because I was so sure that Dot would pull out another wonderful work. It was kind of nice to go in cold and without much in the way of expectations as far as plot goes, but I will briefly cover the story.
The Roses of May is definitely a sequel to The Butterfly Garden. I think I’ve seen a few folks say it could work as a standalone piece, but I really disagree. I mean, it’s certainly possible to read it without any context, but I just don’t think it’ll hold up as well. A lot of the characters carry over and their stories are so closely tied that I don’t think it would do the story justice not to have that background.
The Roses of May focuses on a young woman named Priya whose story is largely unrelated to The Butterfly Garden, save for the fact that the same group of FBI agents had worked a case close to her. Dot Hutchison uses this connection to weave Priya’s story in with that of the Butterflies’. This book follows Priya’s life five years after the murder of her older sister. Naturally, the killer returns and the agents are on the case. It sounds a little cheesy, but it’s really well done in my opinion.
Dot Hutchison’s writing is fantastic, per usual. I remembered being struck by her writing in The Butterfly Garden and was glad to experience it again so soon! The story was immersive, the characters were wonderful, and it was almost impossible for me to put down. It was also wonderful to read a book with women of color as the main characters! There are also two notable lgbt women, which I was super excited about! There are so many complex women in Dot Hutchison’s books, I love it. It was also great to see a really nice mom-daughter relationship, which I feel like we don’t see enough of.
Overall, The Roses of May was a fantastic read that I would highly recommend to anyone interested, but would probably be best for lovers of thriller and crime. I can see why it wouldn’t work for some people, but I loved it!