The Butterfly's Daughter

( 36 )

Overview

Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of the Lowcountry Summer trilogy, once again touches hearts with her lyrical, poignant, and moving novel The Butterfly’s Daughter, now in paperback!

Every year, the monarch butterflies—las mariposas—fly more than two thousand miles on fragile wings to return to their winter home in Mexico. Now Luz Avila makes that same perilous journey south as she honors a vow to her beloved abuela—the grandmother who raised her—to return her...

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Overview

Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of the Lowcountry Summer trilogy, once again touches hearts with her lyrical, poignant, and moving novel The Butterfly’s Daughter, now in paperback!

Every year, the monarch butterflies—las mariposas—fly more than two thousand miles on fragile wings to return to their winter home in Mexico. Now Luz Avila makes that same perilous journey south as she honors a vow to her beloved abuela—the grandmother who raised her—to return her ashes to her ancestral village. As Luz departs Milwaukee in a ramshackle old VW Bug, she finds her heart opened by a series of seemingly random encounters with remarkable women. In San Antonio, however, a startling revelation awaits: a reunion with a woman from her past. Together, the two cross into Mexico to await the returning monarchs in the little village Abuela called home, but they are also crossing a border that separates past from present . . . and truth from lies.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Luz Avila's mother abandoned her when she was a very young child to be raised by her grandmother, who she calls Abuela. When Luz is a grown woman, Abuela insists on making a trip to her home village, Angangueo, in Mexico, where the monarch butterflies migrate each year, but Luz is reluctant to interrupt her life. Abuela dies before they can make the trip, and Luz, tormented by regrets, decides to make the journey with Abuela's ashes, driving from Milwaukee to Mexico, following the path of the butterflies. Along the way, Luz meets extraordinary women who transform her: a tough but gentle young girl scarred by life; a free-spirited wanderer; a prim and proper woman who has lost opportunities. Arriving in San Antonio, Tex., to find her aunt, Luz meets her mother, who she had always believed dead. Now Luz must face her mother's reappearance in her life and get her grandmother's ashes to Mexico for the Day of the Dead. Monroe (Time Is a River) has succeeded, in her third novel, in taking a straightforward coming-of-age story and adding a Mexican twist to it, but the characters are stock and the outcome predictable, though readers who take comfort in knowing what comes next will not be disappointed. (May)
From the Publisher
"Monroe, known for her environmental fiction (The Beach House; Sweetgrass), skillfully incorporates lore about the monarch butterflies into a rich novel about generations and tradition. This book, filled with unusual female characters, is highly recommended for book clubs and readers of women's fiction."
- Library Journal

“In The Butterfly’s Daughter, Mary Alice Monroe gives us a novel that, like the monarch butterfly, has a plentitude of beauty and wonder. Luz Avila is a character we cheer on as she makes her journey from Wisconsin to Mexico and, equally, toward knowledge and forgiveness.”
—Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Serena

Library Journal
Esperanza Avila worries about her 21-year-old granddaughter. Luz doesn't know her family traditions, doesn't speak her native Spanish, and is trapped in a foundry job in Milwaukee. After Luz's mother disappeared, the abuela raised the girl on Aztec myths along with stories of the monarch butterflies in the mountains of Mexico. One phone call changes everything. Esperanza buys a VW and tells Luz they must drive to her home village by November 1, the Day of the Dead, to be there when the migrating monarchs return. But her death leaves Luz to make the pilgrimage alone. Following the path of the butterflies, she finds herself on a journey of discovery, seeking her inner courage and the secrets of a vanished mother. VERDICT Monroe, known for her environmental fiction (The Beach House; Sweetgrass), skillfully incorporates lore about the monarch butterflies into a rich novel about generations and tradition. This book, filled with unusual female characters, is highly recommended for book clubs and readers of women's fiction. [Author tour; feature title at ALA.]—Lesa Holstine, Glendale P.L., AZ
Kirkus Reviews

A young woman follows the path of the monarch butterflies in their autumnal migration to Mexico.

Luz Avila, a factory worker in Milwaukee, lives with her Abuela (grandmother) Esperanza. Abuela raised her when her mother Mariposa, named after the monarch butterflies Abuela loves, disappeared. Both Abuela and Luz believe Mariposa died long ago. But when Abuela receives an unsettling phone call from her other daughter in Texas, she plans a trip to Mexico with Luz, to visit the mountain sanctuary where monarch butterflies are already beginning to trickle in from their northern feeding and mating grounds. It is an Avila family tradition for mothers and daughters to visit a precipice overlooking the canyon groves where the monarchs gather en masse, and to recall the Aztec goddess who sacrificed herself so that creation could begin. After Abuela's sudden death from a heart attack, Luz vows to make the trip on her own. Ignoring warnings from her mechanic boyfriend Sully, Luz drives away in her grandmother's rusted Volkswagen with a cardboard box containing Abuela's ashes in the backseat. After her car dies in Chicago, Luz works at a taqueria to pay for repairs, then continues her journey, this time with a very pregnant new friend, Ofelia, who's fleeing her abusive lover, and Ofelia's chihuahua Serena. There's a stop in Kansas where Ofelia is taken in by her former employers at a nursery, and Luz meets a field entomologist, Billy, who teaches her how to tag monarchs. Luz continues on her journey, now accompanied by Margaret, a buttoned-down botanist who wants to escape her stultifying life. The POV shifts abruptly to Mariposa, alive after all and slowly recovering from multiple addictions and a vaguely unsavory past with the help of a Native American equestrian healer. She is agonizing over why a message left for her mother in Milwaukee has gone unanswered. Slowed by a plethora of preachy maxims, the story creeps to a predictable close.

The butterflies are the most colorful characters here.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594462552
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 4/17/2012
  • Pages: 382
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her books received numerous awards, including the Award for Writing from the South Carolina Center for the Book and the International Fiction Award for Green Fiction. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina where she is at work on her next novel. Visit her at MaryAliceMonroe.com and on Facebook.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 36 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2011

    Beautifully written

    The Butterfly's Daughter is a beautifully written tale of not only a young woman's journey into self discovery, but also lives she touched and changed along the way. This book has some tragedy, a little laughter, and even a few tears. When this book arrived, I read the summary again and thought "did I mean to order this book?". Than, I started reading just a few pages to see if this was the one I had meant to order. I kept on reading and couldn't put it down. It's a truly captivating tale. I loved it! I'm glad I ordered it, and yes, I think I did intend to order this book...

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2011

    Loved it!

    This story is an affirmation of human frailties, love, hate and finally self realization. It is a well written story that vividly describes the relationship between life, people and our intrinsic connection to the infinite universe, as well as our fear of uncertainty, and finding the undeniability of love and redemption. The book is brilliant; tears flowed freely and uncontrollably once the connection was made to the characters.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A journey of love, friendship and self discovery

    Mary Alice Monroe's latest novel, The Butterfly's Daughter, is a book about friendship, family and self-discovery. Luz is determined to fulfill her promise to go to her grandmother's village in Mexico to see the place where the monarch butterflies journey every year. This task is a pilgrimage for Luz and it's a final tribute to the woman who raised her. As Luz encounters problems on her way to Mexico, she handles them best she can. Her openness and generosity lead to unexpected friendships.
    While the interaction between Luz her new friends is heartwarming, Luz's complex relationship with her mother gives the book an added complexity.

    The Butterfly's Daughter is a heartwarming women's novel.

    ISBN-10: 1439170614 - Hardcover
    Publisher: Gallery (May 3, 2011), 400 pages.
    Review copy provided by the publisher.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2011

    amazing

    Luz lives with her grandmother after her mother, Mariposa, dies in Wisconsin. Her grandmother of Mexican descent tries to teach Luz the meaning of life through the folklore of Mexico, but when her grandmother dies suddenly, Luz loses her center and embarks on a trip of a lifetime to take her grandmother's ashes back to Mexico and the sanctuary where the Monarch butterfly winters. The trip is a self discovery for Luz and the three women she meets along the way. Her grandmother has purchased an old orange VW to take a trip to visit relatives, but they always put off because of no money. Now Luz is forced to follow through and the trip ends up being a changing point in her life.

    She leaves her boyfriend, Sully, behind and the car breaks down. While it is being fixed, she temps at a restaurant, where she meets Ofelia who is pregnant. When Ofelia is beaten by her boyfriend, Luz convinces her to leave and they go on to visit Ofelia's mother where Ofelia and her dog can stay until the baby is born. When they reach the nursery where Ofelia's mother worked and discover she is gone, Ofelia goes into labor and stays with the nursery owner and Luz picks up a new traveler, Margaret, the uptight nursery manager who always had plans to visit the butterfly sanctuary. Their next stop leads them to a camp ground where they meet Stacie, a free spirit who adds to the mix and directs them to Austin and their next stop.Stacie brings her own kind of magic to Luz's self discovery trip. She teaches both Margaret and Luz that they should enjoy life and take it as it comes.

    The final step in Luz's journey is when she meets her mother's family and there a startling discovery is made that makes Luz rethink her whole history. The news Luz receives is a life changing event that you need to read about--sorry no spoiler here! Luz does make the trek to the butterfly sanctuary and grows immensely. I just loved the descriptions and how the author related self discovery to the different stages of a butterfly's life cycle. Each chapter starts with a description of the life cycle and you can just imagine how Luz felt with each step of her journey with some remarkable women that she meets along the way, each of them goddesses like the folklore tales she grew up with.

    I live on the western coastal trail of the Monarch's migration and they are just starting their trek home. The day I received this book in the mail, I saw my first Monarch of the season. I had such a amazing feeling of hope that only progressed as I read the book. I have some milkweed plants and I will plant more to see if I can get the Monarchs to stay in my yard, but because the route is also a bird migration route, the eggs don't last long here as the birds gobble them up. This is truly an inspiring tale of new beginnings and wonderful way to look at your own surroundings in that you can be reborn like a butterfly.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    A good read, thank you Ms. Monroe

    I belong to a book club at Mission royale, in Casa Grand. It was unanimously agreed that we all enjoyed "The Butterflys Daughter" One Of our members had actually been to the Little town in Mexico and had gone up the mountain. She said it was guite spectacular.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2011

    Highly recommended

    One of my best reads in a long time. Well written and keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat. Not only suspenseful but also informative. Well worth reading. I finished it in less than three days. I could not put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    This book is sweet, very sweet, almost too sweet. At some point

    This book is sweet, very sweet, almost too sweet. At some point in time as I was reading this, I realized that this is a fairy tale. All references to the butterflies are wonderful. The human characters are what make this a fairy tale. If you like reality, you will not like this book. If you like fairy tales, you will like it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    I have recommended this book to family and friends. I could not

    I have recommended this book to family and friends. I could not put it down. I have traveled through Mexico and encountered the migration of these butterflies. It is a truly awesome experience.
    The book captures this very well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

    family relationships

    really well written adventure and family

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  • Posted January 7, 2013

    Very good novel, interesting narrative technique and very emotio

    Very good novel, interesting narrative technique and very emotional story about love, human life and self-realization.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Ok

    This book was OK. It seemed like it was just touching the surface of the relationships between grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter. Some of it could have been left out, some expanded upon. Would I recommend this, maybe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    I quit after 100 pgs. So predictable. In the end I didn't CARE a

    I quit after 100 pgs. So predictable. In the end I didn't CARE about her mother

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Totally predictable

    I had to push myself to finish this book. I learned a lot about Monarch butterflies so I gave it 3 stars. Not a lot of depth to the characters or the plot.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2011

    Great read!

    I knew nothing about the migration of the monarch butterfly except that they travel thousands of miles each season. I was delighted with the details in this novel. Monroe proves herself, yet again to be a wonderful and varied story-teller.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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