Just look at this lovely cover. I wondered if the book would live up to it. Yes, yes, yes! This is Mary Alice Monroe’s best novel yet.
Beginning in Wisconsin, and journeying through the midwest, down through Texas, and on into Mexico, “The Butterfly’s Daughter” is a journey full of traditions, both family and myth. When Luz Avila loses her beloved abuela suddenly, she is forced to take a true look at her life and make some serious decisions.
Luz is 21 when we meet her. She has been raised all her life by her beloved abuela. She never knew her mother Mariposa. Abuela always just said, “Your mother’s dead.” Not only did Luz not know her mother, but she did not know any of their family. She didn’t even know how to speak in her native Mexican tongue.
Abuela bought Luz a crazy looking beat up ancient orange VW bug with her life savings. She actually had the money hidden beneath her mattress. Luz was shocked and unhappy. They had been struggling financially for some time. But, the real shocker was when abuela told Luz the reason behind the purchase. They were going to drive this piece of crap to Mexico, for heaven’s sake.” And why?” Luz wanted to know. And the real story begins.
Why, indeed, would abuela want to take Luz to Mexico? She said they had to arrive before November, 1, the Day of the Dead. It was as if it was life or death.
This novel deals with transformations; both of the characters and the lovely monarch butterflies that Mary Alice Monroe has so artfully incorporated into her fascinating story. It also tells the story of strong and quite unique personalities. Then she throws in drug use and its driving force, how it is similar to the caterpillar’s eating, which leads to ruin.
The research Monroe has done for this story is monumental. And some of the most engaging I’ve come across. I found myself drawn to the monarch butterfly. I will never look at another butterfly of any kind the same way again.The scenes at the end of the book are mind boggling and oh so exciting She has made me want to visit this fabulous mountain and experience this phenomenon.
I love the way Mary Alice has woven the Aztec myths throughout her novel. They help to set up that final scene. And they totally give credence to the family traditions.
Who is Luz? How does she end up meeting four unusual women on such a special trek? What does she find out about her family during this trip? And how does her life change? And what about the big mystery in the midst of the story? Find out all this and more as you read Mary Alice Monroe’s new novel,”The Butterfly’s Daughter.”
This review will run in the Naples Daily News at some point. I just couldn’t wait any longer to present it. The reviews I send in to the paper are in print as room is available.