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The Butterfly's Daughter

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,520 Ratings  ·  465 Reviews
Four very different women embark on a transformational journey that follows the migrating monarchs across the United States to Mexico. The story begins when Luz Avila's grandmother, the local butterfly lady, purchases an old, orange VW bug for a road trip home to Mexico. When she unexpectedly dies, Luz is inspired to take her grandmother's ashes home. In the manner of the ...more
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Gallery Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Women's Fiction 2012
20th out of 52 books — 132 voters
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5th out of 47 books — 38 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 11, 2011 Grace rated it it was ok
The information about the monarch butterflies and their amazing annual migration was interesting, but I did not enjoy the mediocre, often trite prose, the uninteresting characters, or the entirely predictable plot. Also, did the author have to describe every thought or emotion of each character? It would have been better if she had left something to the imagination. I don't particularly enjoy being told what to think.

I made myself finish this book because it's this month's selection for my book
Jun 03, 2012 Cindy rated it it was ok
This book conjured mixed emotions. The basic plot worked, yet was predictable. I really enjoyed gaining insight into the life and migration of the Monarch butterfly, and appreciated the parallels the author tries to weave into the story. It lacks depth, however, and very little in the way of drawing me into the various settings on the journey. As a resident of Lawrence, KS, I felt no kinship to the characters when they were in this city. References to KU does not complete, or even begin the pict ...more
May 08, 2011 Hattie rated it it was amazing
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
May 25, 2011 Alice rated it really liked it
Just finished The Butterfly's Daughter by MARY ALICE MONROE and I enjoyed it very much. I thought the plot was original and refreshing, and this author's ability to tell a cohesive story of complex relationships never disappoints. I have to say, I enjoyed learning about the butterflies just as much as I enjoyed the story of Luz' journey of self-discovery. MONROE has a wonderful ability to create characters that bring out real emotion in the reader -- and kudos to her for celebrating the beauty o ...more
Virginia Myers
Jul 09, 2012 Virginia Myers rated it it was amazing
This book had special meaning to me because I live in San Antonio TX and that city is one of the destinations that our heroine seeks in the book. I was made aware of the tradition of the Day of the Dead shortly after arriving in San Antonio many years ago but did not really know its history until I read this book. It gave me a better appreciation of what it really means. The book also made me aware for the first time of the way the migration of the Monarch butterfly coincides with the Day of the ...more
Carol Ann
Apr 25, 2012 Carol Ann rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed the relationships made by Luz Avila, a young woman who has decided to return her Grandmother's ashes to her homeland in Mexico that coincides with the annual 2,000 mile migration of the lovely Monarch butterfly from Canada to Mexico, as well as Dio de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Along the way, Luz meets many different individuals who leave an impact on her life. While it is a struggle to get to her destination, she ultimately does, as promised to her abuela. Luz meets her ...more
Nov 16, 2013 Galia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Цитат от книгата, който много ми хареса: "Баба само се усмихваше по онзи загадъчен, древен женски начин и ми казваше, че добротата е като слънцето и дъжда. Ако ги пестиш, светът ти ще пресъхне. Но колкото повече даваш, толкова повече ще получаваш в замяна."
May 05, 2011 Cathy rated it liked it
I was happy to receive this book as my first First Reads Giveaway. The author was unknown to me but I looked forward to the story and the themes involving self discovery, relationships and personal growth. I also love most any book with a Mexican/Latin focus as well.

The story centers on Luz and her journey from Milwaukee to Mexico to return with her grandmother's ashes and to meet her extended family. The trip is filled with ups and downs with interesting experiences and people along the way.

Gloria Bernal
Aug 30, 2011 Gloria Bernal rated it really liked it
In this original, beautifully told story of Luz and her journey to deliver her Grandmothers ashes, from Wisconsin via Texas onto Mexico, we also learn a lot about the creation and migration of butterflies, and the miracle that it is. In this character-driven novel we see the analogy in Luz's growth and transformation from a child to a woman. Even the obstacles she encounters bring out her strengths, and we are also witness to the transformation in the people she meets along the way, who are a vi ...more
Jul 27, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
I've always found it interesting how people seem to associate butterflies with death. From internet emails that are passed around regarding butterflies and tombstones, to personal accounts of how butterflies remind people of lost loved ones, butterflies seem to be an integral part of how we view death and dying. Personally, my aunt always told me that seeing a butterfly reminded her of my Uncle Joe, who passed away when I was in high school. Therefore, when I was given the opportunity by Simon a ...more
May 01, 2011 Jackie rated it really liked it
Well, it's been awhile since I picked up a book in the morning and had finished it by the evening, but that's exactly what happened today. "The Butterfly's Daughter" is a fast read, but still one that had me tearing up at regular intervals. The book weaves together discussion of mother-daughter relationships, family, entomology, Chicano culture, estrangement and addiction with remarkable fluidity. When I first read the synopsis, I thought that having characters coming in and out of the story lin ...more
Sep 03, 2011 Vivian rated it did not like it
This book was narrated by the author. Didn't anyone have the nerve to tell Ms. Monroe's that she couldn't pull off the accent? She went in and out of the accent during the narration of Esperanza's character who was born in Mexico and spoke English with a spanish accent. The accent was appalling and at times sounded as if she was Russian or Middle Eastern. When she pronounced spanish words in Esperanza's voice, she sounded like an american. Let's face it, narrating an audio book is like acting. I ...more
Jun 03, 2016 Cristine rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much that I am sad that I will have to return it to the library. It was about the empowering journey and spiritual growth of a young woman intertwined with information about Monarch butterflies and their incredible migration and the Mexican culture with an emphasis on the Day of the Dead. This book will stay with me for a long time (not literally or the library police will come)
May 09, 2011 Yvonne rated it really liked it
A voyage of self-discovery, The Butterfly’s Daughter is a beautiful story of family and friendship and the love and strength they inspire within us.

Just as a butterfly grows and changes, so does the main character, Luz, as she travels south, along the Monarch’s migration route, with her grandmother’s ashes. With the help of her new friends, Luz makes it to her ancestral homeland and meets the family she never knew. The discovery of her real history is life changing; the last stage of her transfo
Aug 26, 2013 Allison rated it liked it
Decent book, but by the end I never wanted to hear the word "precipice" or "precipitous" again.

I enjoyed the science weaved in with the story. There's a few leaps of faith to be taken with how characters are wrapped up. It was as if some good writing was combined with some fluffy stuff and I had a hard time getting in sync with the tone of the book.

I listened to the book and it was narrated by the author and she did a very good job. Her accent was very nice and she was easy to understand and I
Katie Kinsey
May 13, 2013 Katie Kinsey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: done
LOVED THIS BOOK! I love Mary Alice Monroe and I thought The Beach House was my favorite, this is a very close runner up. I enjoy that she adds a factual note at the beginning of each chapter. There were parts that I was upset with in the relationships but they only enhanced the bond.
Nov 04, 2012 Pat rated it liked it
I would give this book 3 and half stars.

The story is about a young woman's journey to take her grandmother's ashes home to Mexico. Luz's mother is dead and her father is a runaway. Her mother was Mexican and her father German. Raised by her Mexican grandmother; Abuelo; in Minnesota, Luz knows none of her extended family and cannot speak the language of her Abuelo. Along her journey Luz meets and ends up traveling with a few other "lost" women. Each seeking their own rebirth and finding of their
Jul 29, 2011 Jencey/ rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
Thank you to Mary Alice Monroe for sending this book.


Abuela is desperate to make a road trip to Mexico to see her family for the last time because she fears she may not have another chance. Luz the more conservative one who pays the bills wants Abuela to wait. Abuela is persistent that they must go immediately. Suddenly Abuela dies and Luz takes on her last request of a road trip to Mexico to see family and the monarch butterflies. Luz starts out on her journey unsure of what will happ
EZRead eBookstore
Aug 05, 2011 EZRead eBookstore rated it really liked it
Shelves: amelia-reviews
Traveling can be a great experience for growth by meeting new people and seeing new places. Interestingly, it felt as if I was awarded with these same effects after reading this book. Obviously, Luz benefits the most by traveling back to the roots she never really knew. But, I, as the reader, did not feel the fatigue of days of driving either.

Though I describe the book as a learning experience, I would not say it was didactic enough to compare to a classroom lecture. For one thing, I was anxious
I think the story begins not when Grandma buys the VDub but when she gets a call from one of her daughters who tells her that her other daughter, Luz's mother, is not dead these many years but is instead alive. I think the story is about one girl's journey to Mexico, not four different girls' journey, unless I was reading a completely different novel than the book summary claimed. But yes, Luz, did take the ashes to Mexico.

This is the second of Monroe's books that I've reviewed, and I enjoyed th
May 14, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
I won a copy of this book from the First Reads Giveaway. I finished it last week or so but haven't had a chance to sit down to type up a review. In hindsight that may be a good thing.

Overall I liked this book. It got off to a slow start, but once Luz's journey to Mexico started, the story picked up as well. I found parts of it to be predictable, but the writing was sweet and enjoyable to read. Without giving away any of the story, I will say I thought the beginning of Luz's trip was the most int
Erin Forson
Dec 12, 2011 Erin Forson rated it liked it
Luz Avila embarks on a journey to Mexico in order to fulfill her grandmother, (Abuela’s), lifetime wish—that she and her granddaughter, Luz, stand together in the Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacán. It is a right-of-passage for the women of the Avila family, one that Luz never experienced with her own mother, who according to Abuela died when Luz was very young. When tragedy strikes again, Luz begins the journey to Mexico, quickly discovering that all of the stories her beloved Abuela told Luz dur ...more
Mar 02, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-read, favorites
Very interesting book in relationships but also the patterns and life cycles of the monach butterflies. I had a tiny bit of trouble in the beginning but it wasn't long before my interest was sparked.

Luz traveled from northern US to Mexico in search of butterflies and dreams. She passed through the caterpillar and darkness of her chrysalis and into the New world. She was transformed as a butterfly and found home. (That is the last paragraph-modified-in the book.)
To chase the dream and be transfor
Kelly Konrad
A great book for a light read -- I guess my biggest issue is that you truly have to suspend reality to enjoy it. If you're into the serendipitous, it's the novel for you. The main character, Luz, is a young 20-something who has reluctantly resigned herself to fulfilling her grandmother's last request -- a cross-country trip to renew relationships with long-lost relatives. And, predictably, she finds herself along the way. My issues were with the various "situations" Luz finds herself in to prope ...more
Oct 15, 2012 Katie rated it did not like it
I so wanted to like this book. I was looking at it as a read for my students. It had a great premise, a Hispanic female protagonist, set in Milwaukee, and it was a suitable length. Too bad the writing style was terrible. I hadn't heard of the author before, but she's published prolifically. How this is possible, I'm not sure because her writing sounded worse than many of my junior and senior creative writing students'. The dialogue sounded fake and was purposeless. The movement was plodding. The ...more
Dec 23, 2012 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The other books I have read by this author were stories about women trying to save baby loggerhead turtles along the South Carolina coast. This time the story is built around butterflies, and I enjoyed the myriad ways Monroe brings the life of the Monarchs into the story. Each chapter begins with a short fact about monarchs and their annual migrations. The story culminates in the mountains of Mexico where the Monarch butterflies spend the winters, and where the characters in this novel find some ...more
Nov 08, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
This is a book about a young women's emotional and physical journey back to her family's home country, Mexico, after her grandmother's death. She goes to Mexico to return her grandmother's ashes, and to meet the return of the Monarch butterly's (who return there in the fall), that her grandmother so loved. Along the way she meets a few women who touch her life, and learns the real story about her mother.

I really enjoyed this book, even though it was a bit trite and fairly predictable. I think t
Jan 03, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
Nicely done, and especially interesting if you are a fan of monarch butterflies. Now I really want to visit Michoacan!
May 02, 2011 Diane rated it it was amazing
I received the ARC I won through GoodReads, (Thank you!!) and once I started reading, I found it hard to put the book down. As I am reading the story of the metamorphosis of the lives of the butterfly and the characters who are also accepting great change within their lives, their thinking, actions, and reactions. The story brought tears and smiles as the events progressed. I finished the book and knew I would miss reading more about these strong women. Life goes on and the painful stages in our ...more
Liz Neering
May 02, 2015 Liz Neering rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book desperately needed a harsh editor. I was initially very pleased with the number of women in the book, and their varied personalities and strengths, but they're all quickly revealed to be flat stereotypes. Further, they're overshadowed by paternal, condescending, and sometimes abusive men. There's constant othering, subtle and overt. There are typos and misused words galore, and it's too long by half (at least). It's at best a beach read masquerading as something more.

For real Hispanic
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New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe found her true calling in environmental fiction when she moved to coastal South Carolina. Already a successful author, she was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Her experiences living in the midst of a habitat that was quickly changing gave her a strong and important focus for her books.

Mary Alice Monroe writes richly textur
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“She thought how sharp words could sting when they held the truth.” 5 likes
“Luz felt as though all the millions of butterflies that were flying on this same journey south were fluttering in her stomach.” 1 likes
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