Ben Lokey’s “Beneath the Butterfly Tree” is an engaging novel that is both historical and current. Lokey weaves the story of the Chumash Indian tribe in the mid-1800’s with a modern-day developer’s dilemma.
In the mid-1800’s missionaries descend on the coastal Chumash Indian tribe and take many of them away to “civilize” them and teach them about God. As a result a young boy is separated from his family and the girl he loves. He bides his time until he can escape from the mission and make his way back to the village.
Now, it is 1991 and David is an architect with a building project set to break ground on the cliffs of Malibu. His project is halted when native artifacts are discovered on the land. He is being plagued by a recurring dream of a woman running along the near by ridge line.
As he seeks to discover the origin of the ancient artifacts, David discovers his own connection to the land and the past.
Lokey created a very engaging story that is based on historical fact. It’s always great when you can learn something new during the course of a good read. This fits the bill. The two story lines alternate back and forth until they merge. David isn’t a particularly likeable character in the beginning but he does grow during the course of the novel.
There were a number of formatting errors in the copy I read but they may have been corrected since. Just a FYI if that is something that is a ‘no go’ for you.