The Butterfly Collector - Tea Cooper



A botanical illustration of a butterfly. A missing baby. And a twisted mystery fifty years in the making.

1868, Morpeth. 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. She cannot believe her luck when she discovers a butterfly never before seen in Australia. With the help of her maid Clarrie and her beautiful drawings, Theodora is poised to make a scientific discovery that will put her name on the map. Then Clarrie’s newborn son goes missing and everything changes.

1922, Sydney. When would-be journalist Verity Binks is sent an anonymous parcel containing a spectacular butterfly costume along with an invitation to the Sydney Artists Masquerade Ball the same day she loses her job at The Arrow, she is both baffled and determined to attend. 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. As she begins to dig, her research 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?


“The immersive latest from Cooper (The Fossil Hunter) interweaves two historical narratives linked by butterflies and family bonds . . . Cooper melds fictional lives, scientific history, and social issues into a compassionate story. This will please fans of historicals with smart women protagonists.”

 —Publishers Weekly


"Delightful and intriguing, this gentle story of love, loss and betrayal set in Australia’s Hunter Valley is based on real events and characters including a major entomological discovery."

 —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of The Venice Sketchbook

"An enthralling, unforgettable story of heartbreak and hope, featuring equally compelling dual timelines, dynamic heroines, and a twisty mystery spanning generations. Tea Cooper’s latest historical stunner is not to be missed."

—Lee Kelly, author of The Antiquity Affair


Tea Cooper Author


Tea Cooper is an established Australian author of historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist, and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling. She is the winner of two Daphne du Maurier Awards and the bestselling author of several novels, including The Horse Thief, The Cedar Cutter, The Currency Lass, and The Naturalist’s Daughter.

Connect with Tea:

Facebook: @TeaCooper
Instagram: @tea_cooper
Pinterest: @teacooperauthor