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The Butterfly's Daughter Hardcover – May 3, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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)
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"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

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; 1 edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439170614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439170618
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,210,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Mary Alice Monroe is known for her intimate portrayals of women's lives and keen eye to setting. Monroe brings to life the many colorful people and the compelling story layers of her home--Charleston and the the beaches of the lowcountry.

Mary Alice Monroe's books have achieved several best seller lists including the New York Times, SIBA, and USA Today. Mary Alice has received numerous awards, including the 2014 SC Book Festival Award for Excellence in Writing, the 2015 SW Florida Book Festival Distinguished Author Award, 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, The RT Lifetime Achievement Award, and the International Book Award for Green Fiction. She serves on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium, the Leatherback Trust, and the Charleston Volunteers for Literacy. Her children's books received several awards, including the ASPCA Henry Bergh award.

Her recent novel is the final book in a trilogy set in the lowcountry: THE SUMMER GIRLS, THE SUMMER WIND, and THE SUMMER'S END. Her next novel, A LOWCOUNTRY WEDDING, continuing the popular series, will be released in May 2016. Monroe's novel, THE BEACH HOUSE, will be made into a Hallmark film starring Andie MacDowell.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Mary Alice Monroe

Although I have finished The Butterfly's Daughter by MARY ALICE MONROE, I will never forget this novel. When I began the novel, I did not know my heart would become intertwined not only with the characters but also with the monarch butterflies' travels. Their journey is long and hazardous. Thankfully, each chapter starts with a heading about the butterflies. Mary Alice Monroe has chosen the most scintillating facts about the butterflies for people like me who are scientifically challenged. Those chapter headings always seemed to relate to the lives of the character: Abuela, Luz, Margaret, Stacie, Mariposa, Sully, Ofelia and even Serena, the chihuahua are on an "epic journey" of metamorphisis like the monarch butterflies. The monarchs have their powerful wings for travel and Luz has her Abuela's El Toro. El Toro is an orange VW. It is picked by Abuela, Luz's grandma. Abuela wants to go back home to the mountains of Mexico with Luz. She wants to take the time to share with Luz the many thoughts in her heart. The problem is can this beaten up orange thing on wheels take them that far.

Luz takes off in El Toro never realizing it would become a wild adventure. Really, no day is the same. No day is the same for the monarch butterflies either. As they travel, a monarch butterfly can become too cold, too hot, tattered and torn. Life is tough not just for humans but also, for these creatures who go through so many stages before becoming a beautiful butterfly. In Tia Maria's house there are aquariums where the caterpillar goes from one stage to the next stage.

I am glad Mary Alice Monroe chose to write about the monarch butterflies. Their life is like my life.
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Format: Hardcover
I admit I am a Mary Alice Monroe fan. So I am pleased say that I think this is Mary Alice's best work to date. Transformation and change is the main theme. She mirrored the migration of the monarch butterflies extremely well without getting too heavy about it. This is a great read. Pick it up!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was one of the most exciting books I have ever read. Not only did it give me a great insight into the miracle of Monarch butterflies and their metamorphis. The characters are so interesting and weave together a wonderful story of change and growth for the women involved but the changes of the beautiful Monarachs. It speaks of redemption, growth and renewal. Anyone interested in changing or growing will be inspsired by this book. It is a oppotunity how to live with hope and a better understanding of how to preserve these beautiful insects.
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Format: Hardcover
The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe is an amazing story of self discovery. This book has it all. Love, romance, mystery, violence, and discovery.

The story follows a young woman as she discovers her heritage and her own identity. Mary Alice Monroe compares the life of this young woman with the life of the monarch butterfly. The story has real characters to love, hate, and identify with. The story mimics life in such a genuine way. There are highs and lows in the story that bound me to the heroine of the story. Her story could easily be my story.

The Butterfly's Daughter is an easy read. Once you start, it is difficult to put down. You need to find out what happens next. The author has written a beautiful and heart warming story. I give this book 5 stars.

A complimentary copy of The Butterfly's Daughter was provided to me. All opinions expressed in this review are mine alone.
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