Mar 22, 2016

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender book cover

  by LESLYE WALTON  

book review rating 3 out of 5

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows ...continue at Goodreads

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To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth — deep down, I always did.

I was just a girl…Ava Wilhelmina Lavender.

MY EMOTIONS ARE raw, and conflicting. On the one hand, I never quite connected with these characters. But on the other hand, the story, this ending, was so gut-wrenching that it ripped me to pieces—glorious little particles.

In The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (absolutely gorgeous title), first-time author Leslye Walton creates a heartbreaking and heart-healing tale of regret and redemption of characters haunted by their past. The Roux family has experienced more than their share of heartaches. Can their newest members—twins Ava and Henry—put an end to their family’s tragic legacy?

Ava is such a lovely character. The story is told from her POV. I thought it was quite melodic and soothing, even though I didn’t always find it particular engaging. For much of the book, Ava takes me on long narratives recounting generations of family history. I drifted from one Roux member to another, and then back again, never staying with one ancestor long enough to develop any solid connections. Sometimes I found them whimsical, but mostly I found them eccentric and unrelatable.

It isn’t until the arrival of Nathaniel Sorrows that the story finally has a point of conflict. The pious Nathaniel mistakes Ava for an angel. His obsession for her grows until the night of the summer solstice—taking the story to a fever-pitched. 

Before I leave to pick up the pieces of me, I’d like to share that, overall, I enjoyed The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. It is undoubtably very original. Ms. Walton writes with the kind of wisdom and compassion that effortlessly captures the nuances of the heart. She beautifully renders emotions perfectly capturing the evisceration of love and loss.

I loved you before, Ava. Let me love you still. ~Rowe

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BOOK TALK: This book was recommended to me by the lovely Alicia at A Kernel of Nonsense. Do you enjoy giving or receiving book recommendations? What was the last book recommendation you received? What book would you recommend for someone who likes magical realism?