The Butterfly's Daughter

The Butterfly's Daughter

3.9 37
by Mary Alice Monroe
     
 

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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!

Every year, the monarch butterflies—las mariposas—fly more than two thousand miles on fragile wings to return to their winter home in Mexico…  See more details below

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!

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:
9781439171028
Publisher:
Gallery Books
Publication date:
05/03/2011
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
96,510
File size:
3 MB

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Meet the Author

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including The Summer Girls, The Summer WindThe Summer’s End, Last Light Over CarolinaTime Is a RiverSweetgrassSkywardThe Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, The Four Seasons, and The Book Club. Her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, and the International Book Award for Green Fiction. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Visit her at MaryAliceMonroe.com and at Facebook.com/MaryAliceMonroe.

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The Butterfly's Daughter 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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...
CONNIE Le Blanc-belle More than 1 year ago
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.
gl More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
CHERJU43 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GrammaKD More than 1 year ago
I read The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe and enjoyed it. This book is very different but also very good. It seemed slow at first but as I got into it I had a hard time putting it down. It's about a young woman who begins a journey to connect with the only family she has left after losing her beloved Abuela. Intertwined in the storyline is an account of the beautiful Monarch Butterflies and their long trip back to Mexico - and the celebrations, rituals, and folklore surrounding their arrival. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
really well written adventure and family
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
danielux More than 1 year ago
Very good novel, interesting narrative technique and very emotional story about love, human life and self-realization.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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