Téa Cooper—An Australian Twisty Historical Mystery
Today's show features a conversation with international bestselling author Téa Cooper about her latest novel to release in North America, The Butterfly Collector. Téa and I talked about her fascinating life story, how she comes upon her story ideas, as well as the themes and historically accurate events in this novel. These include the sinking of the SS Cawarra, the migration of Monarch butterflies to Australia, and the horrible business of "baby farming."
Here's a description of The Butterfly Collector:
1868 Morpeth NSW
Theodora Breckenridge, still in mourning after the loss of her parents and brother at sea, is more interested in working quietly on her art at the family's country estate than she is finding a husband in Sydney society, even if her elder sister Florence has other ideas. Theodora seeks to emulate prestigious nature illustrators, the Scott sisters, who lived nearby, so she cannot believe her luck when she discovers a butterfly never before sighted in Australia. With the help of Clarrie, her maid, and her beautiful illustrations, she is poised to make a natural science discovery that will put her name on the map. Then Clarrie's newborn son goes missing and everything changes.
1922 Sydney NSW
When would-be correspondent Verity Binks is sent an anonymous parcel containing a spectacular butterfly costume and an invitation to the Sydney Artists Masquerade Ball on the same day she loses her job at The Arrow, she is both baffled and determined to go. Her late grandfather Sid, an esteemed newspaperman, would expect no less of her. At the ball, she lands a juicy commission to write the history of the Treadwell Foundation - an institution that supports disgraced young women and their babies. But as she begins to dig, her investigation quickly leads her to an increasingly dark and complex mystery, a mystery fifty years in the making. Can she solve it? And will anyone believe her if she does?
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