Butterflies at the Window

The date is May 22, 2011. Elly’s “very good” graduation day becomes even better when three enormous butterflies appear at her bedroom window; incredibly beautiful, almost other-worldly in their splendor. Her first thought is, “Thank You, Jesus! You know how I love butterflies.”

But when Elly, then her mother, then other members of the McConnell clan begin to see them in the most unlikely places, their presence begins to feel strangely ominous. And when they appear to be watching the family’s every move, it’s hard to avoid a growing sense of foreboding.

On this perfect spring Sunday, when families across southwest Missouri are celebrating their high school graduations, could these exquisite creatures actually be harbingers of looming tragedy?

Then a rare and massive EF5 tornado unexpectedly turns that bright day in May dark and deadly. As the storm of the century bears down, can the McConnell family survive? And in the midst of unspeakable terror and devastation, why are so many children of the tornado seeing “butterfly people?


“Author Sandi McReynolds and her family survived the F5 tornado in Joplin, MO in May 2011, and she has used her first-hand experience to write a fascinating ‘up close and been there’ novel. Although Butterflies at the Windows is fiction, Sandi hasn’t altered the facts. People who know Joplin can say, ‘Yes, that’s right,’ as they read about the places and events in her story. She has done a remarkable job of taking a true experience and showing it through a novel.”
LeAnn Campbell Author of Century Farm mystery series for kids
“Anyone who wants to be inspired should read Butterflies at the Window. Author Sandi McReynolds has taken an actual tragedy, the incredibly destructive tornado that ripped through Joplin, MO, leaving a wide swath of rubble for many miles, added the stories of butterfly people that flooded the area, and turned it into a healing fantasy. Congratulations!”
Richard L. Jackson, B.A, M.A. Assistant Vice President, Duke University Senior Vice President, St. John’s Regional Medical Center