Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender


The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava LavenderThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.


(I did my best to make this a spoiler-free review.)

The following is the story of my young life as I remember it. It is the truth as I know it. Of the stories and the myths that surrounded my family and my life — some of them thoughtfully scattered by you perhaps — let it be said that, in the end, I found all of them to be strangely, even beautifully, true.

The book title sums up the book in general thought. It is a strange story, that used beautiful words and it tells us about the sorrows of Ava Lavender.

This book was written beautifully. There is no other way to put it than that. It is one of the reasons why I couldn’t put it down, the sentences were so magnificently constructed it was like reading poetry. I felt that the whole book was a poem.

The story goes from the early life of Ava’s grandmother, Emilienne, to the story of Ava’s mother, Vivian and then lastly the story of Ava herself. I like how complex each story was, how the past still connects with the present events in the story. I also like how each character has a unique ability and personality.

She worried she couldn’t protect me from all of the things that had hurt her: loss and fear, pain and love. Most especially from love.

This book explores the depths of love and the lack of it. The lovely fleeting feeling of young love, the foolishness of people in love, the pain, fear, and loss that it brings. The deadliness of it. The relief of finally escaping the grasp of it that had caged you your whole life. It is remarkable how love was portrayed in this book.

It is truly a book full of sorrows, misfortunes and deaths. The way that some minor characters died was truly odd. The characters were rarely happy, they were always miserable and trapped with fear.

I found the Magical Realism part of this book strange at times. In some scenes it just felt off and bizarre. But it did create an indescribable atmosphere that I’ve only found in this book.

With all that being said, you  might think— Why did I only gave this book 3 stars?

One reason is that, behind the beautiful writing style I did not relate and connect with the characters. I just didn’t care about what or will happen to them. When I got to the scene where I think was the climax of Ava’s story, I wasn’t overwhelmed with emotions like I usually do. I felt a general feeling for her because of what happened but I could not really connect with her. Same goes with the other characters.

Ava’s story on the whole felt insufficient. I just wanted more from her. And I know most of the strange things in this book were left unexplained but I was disappointed that she didn’t seek for the reason of her having wings. I mean if I was her, I’ll be super curious.

Regardless of my rating on this book, I really enjoyed reading it. It is a one-of-a-kind and refreshing book. I cannot emphasize how beautifully written it is.

And there’s something I forgot to mention. One of the things that I liked about this book is the bakery and delicacies. Each bread or baked goods made me hungry just by reading about them. I found myself craving for a freshly-baked bread.

 “Just because love don’t look the way you think it should don’t mean you don’t have it.”

That’s all, thank you so much for reading. If you want to read more book reviews from this blog, just click here. And you could also find my reviews in Goodreads.

9 thoughts on “Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

  1. It sounds like my type of book. I love magical realism. I hope I can relate more to Ava, though. Great review! I also love reading about food in books, it’s amazing how it can make you crave things you don’t even know how they taste!

    Liked by 1 person

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