The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Published March 27, 2014 by Walker Books AU
Source: the publisher
Rating: 4 stars
From the blurb: Foolish love appears to be a Roux family birthright. And for Ava Lavender, a girl born with the wings of a bird, it is an ominous thing to inherit. In her quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to join her peers, sixteen-year-old Ava ventures into the wider world. But it is a dangerous world for a naive girl - a world which may view her as girl or angel. On the night of the summer solstice celebration, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air and Ava s journey and her family s saga reaches a devastating crescendo.The title of Leslye Walton’s debut novel, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, perfectly sums up the story within: it is at times strange and magical, beautifully written, and full of sorrow. Ava’s narrative starts out in France, moves to Manhattan, and finally ends up in Seattle. At the age of thirty she decides to look into her family history and it is this story she shares with us, starting with her great grandmother, known to her descendants as Maman.
The beginning of the novel focuses on her mother and grandmother’s earlier lives, the death and heartbreak that came with being a part of their family, and finally the relocation to Seattle and the opening of the family bakery. It was a slow moving introduction but it laid the foundation for the rest of Ava’s story.
For me the story really took flight once Ava starts leaving the house she has been confined to. Ava was born with a pair of wings, her twin Henry was not, but he chooses not to communicate verbally most of the time. Viviane, Ava’s mother, feels it’s better than the twins stay home for fear they will be abused or talked about, and Ava has no issue with this until she is persuaded by her friend Cardigan, and her brother, Rowe, to join them late at night at a gathering at the lake.
There was such a strong undercurrent of sadness to this story and I had no doubt that Ava’s life, just like the women’s before her, would be touched by violence and sorrow. This has a large impact on her family and I appreciated the inclusion of her recuperation and healing process. I got the sense that luck for the Lavender/Roux family had changed for the better.
Thank you to Walker Books for my review copy.
As soon as I saw this cover I wanted to recreate it on my nails - it's gorgeous and so beautifully designed.
I started with 2 coats of Natio Turquoise. Once dry, I used a fan brush and two shades of acrylic paint to create the lines.
I outlined each nail with the darker shade of blue and striper brush.
I used a fine brush and acrylic paint for the feather.
I'm not happy with the feather, but I have major neck and shoulder pain at the moment so painting my nails was probably a bad idea to begin with. I re-did it and was still unhappy with how short it looked compared to the one on the cover, and my pain meant that instead of adding in some orange to match the cover, I just left the feather yellow. Looking back I really should have done half the feather - c'est la vie!