In what Bloomsbury’s director of publicity Deb Shapiro calls “eerily fortuitous” timing, just as Cecilia Galante, the author of The Patron Saint of Butterflies (Apr.), was preparing for the last bookstore event on the first leg of her book tour, the news broke that a judge had ordered the removal of 400 children from a compound that housed the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a polygamous religious cult, in Eldorado, Texas.

The Patron Saint of Butterflies, Galante’s second novel, tells the story of two girls growing up in a religious commune, with one girl wanting to live out her life there, while the other wants only to escape.

The day after the story broke about the raid on the Eldorado commune, Galante—who herself grew up in a religious cult—spoke before a small group at The King’s English in Salt Lake City. Attendees included two women who work with the Diversity Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works with boys and girls rescued from polygamist cults. The two women, who planned to travel to Texas the next day to work with the children rescued from FLDS, consulted with Galante on how best to help these children, whose experiences mirrored those both in Galante’s own past as well as in her novel.

Cecilia Galante.
Photo: Jane Spurrier.

The story doesn’t end there. The King’s English and Bloomsbury are collaborating to donate copies of Patron Saint of Butterflies to the Diversity Foundation. According to Jenn Northington, event coordinator at The King’s English, the Diversity Foundation is assessing its needs in the Colorado City area in southern Utah, where Warren Jeffs, leader of the FLDS leader, lived until recently, before deciding whether The King’s English and Bloomsbury will donate books to local libraries or directly to teenage girls involved with religious cults.

As for Galante and The Patron Saint of Butterflies, which has 75,000 copies in hardcover in its initial print run, Shapiro describes the early buzz on it as good, with positive reviews in trade publications. Recent events, however, have only increased interest, and Shapiro is fielding calls from both national and regional media interested in interviewing Galante, as she prepares to visit San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, on the second leg of her tour.