From Goodreads: 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 Aztec myth of the goddess who brings light to the world, Luz attracts a collection of lost women, each seeking change in their lives. The Mexican people believe the monarchs are the spirits of the recently departed and Luz taps into ancient rituals and myths as she follows the spectacular, glittering river of orange monarchs in the sky to home.
I really enjoyed this one. I was excited to win it as a First Reads pick expecting the Southern fiction I love. Mary Alice Monroe is for me linked to the South Carolina coast but this book took me out of that comfort zone on a journey from Wisconsin to Mexico. I loved how fully Monroe was able to immerse me in the Mexican-American culture with her descriptions. I liked that the characters were multi-faceted, it wasn't a rosy, carefree "girls on the loose" ride to Mexico; the main character, Luz, faced some gritty challenges and it was empowering to feel her grow stronger as she traveled. I liked the bittersweet ending - not everything turns out like a fairy tale. A few of the minor characters were so interesting, that I am hoping they have spin-off potential!