Author Mary Alice Monroe is quite prolific, and I haven’t ever read a single book she’s written. That always surprises me, because I read a lot. From what I can tell, many – if not most – of her novels take place in the south, primarily the low country of South Carolina. I think most also contain some sort of environmental element, though I can’t say that for sure because, well, see above. First one I’ve ever read.
I’m saying this so that you will understand that I can’t compare this book to any of her other novels, as many reviewers have done. Having said this, I will tell you that I found it to be a pleasant, if not compelling, story.
Luz Avila lives with her grandmother in Minnesota, having been deserted by her mother when she was a small child. Luz believes that her mother is dead. Her abuela (grandmother) announces one day that she wants to travel with Luz back to the small town in Mexico where she was born and reared, stopping in San Antonio on the way to introduce her to other family. Luz declines, and the inevitable happens. Grandma dies. Luz decides to make the trip of which her abuela had dreamed, taking the ashes back to her home town in Mexico.
Driving a beat-up Volkswagen bug, and armed with her grandmother’s ashes, she sets off on a journey that her grandmother would have loved. Along the way, Luz meets a variety of people who have a surprisingly profound impact on her life given that she only knows them a brief time.
While not great literature, The Butterfly’s Daughter was a lovely book that contained some of the elements I like most when reading – interesting information (in this case, the flight that monarch butterflies make yearly from the northern United States to Mexico), delicious sounding food (in this case, Mexican food that made my mouth water), and a bit of romance (just a bit, not too much).
If you are looking for a light read with characters who are, while not unforgettable, at least likeable and interesting, The Butterfly’s Daughter will offer you enjoyable experience.
And if nothing else, read it for the food and the butterflies.