Publisher: Candlewick Press (2014)
Hardcover (301 pages)
Reading Challenges: 2016 Backlist Books, Read 2016
Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.
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, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.
That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.
First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a unique book. It is a multi-generational story with elements of the paranormal.
Ava’s family has always been peculiar. Her grandmother, Emilienne, emigrated to New York from France as a child. Emilienne’s mother literally faded away and her sister turned herself into a bird.
Then Emilienne married and moved to north of Seattle where she was thought of as a witch. It was there that she raised her daughter, Viviane.
Viviane gave birth to twins: Henry and Ava. Where Henry was born normal, Ava was born with the wings of a bird. The doctors could find no explanation and could only say that the wings could not be surgically removed.
As Ava had wings and Henry refused to speak for years, their mother kept them at home. Ava was pretty content to stay there until one summer when things started to happen.
The book was basically Ava telling her story and sometimes it wasn’t terribly interesting. However, the prose was beautiful! This is the main reason I did not DNF the book in the middle. The descriptive writing kept me turning the pages just to read more of it.
This book also had descriptions of beautiful food that had me drooling after pastries I’m unable to eat. I also wanted to devour some of Emilienne’s fresh bread a few times.
In all, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was interesting and unique with beautiful writing.