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.


Finalist, 2012 Book of the Year by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)

Winner of The International Book Award for Green Fiction

“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, NY Times author

“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

“Synchronicity. Life isn’t a series of random events at all, but rather an expression of a deeper order.”
THE BUTTERFLY’S DAUGHTER