Author: Leslye Walton
The Roux family has always been unusual. The matriarch of the family eventually faded away, her children’s touch passing right through her, her daughter was born with a rather keen intuition, seeing signs where others may only hear an owl hoot. And strangest of all were the twins, Ava Lavender with her angelic wings and Henry Lavender, born mute until the day he finally spoke. Each generation of Roux’s has endured the euphoria of youth and the sting of love. Now Ava, secluded for far too long from the outside world, reaches out for freedom, not knowing that her uniqueness has drawn not only curious eyes but possessive ones.
“There it was again. Fate. As a child, that word was often my only companion. It whispered to me from dark corners during lonely nights. It was the song of the birds in spring and the call of the wind through bare branches on a cold winter afternoon. Fate. Both my anguish and my solace. My escort and my cage.”
Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is full of magic, love, and woe. With a rich historical backdrop peppered with stories more closely resembling fables, this novel weaves both fact fiction together seamlessly. The writing is both whimsical and tragically mesmerizing, taking the reader on a journey from France, to New York, and eventually Ava’s birth and life in Seattle, Washington. Each generation’s story is told with care, the author laying out a great tale for the reader, one that charms with fanciful tales and peculiar characters.
Walton is a skilled storyteller. Each minor character is given personality and while some may only be given a few lines, as a reader you believe that each has their own story to tell even if this one isn’t about them. The women of the Roux family are the main focus of the narrative and every betrayal cuts to the core, forever altering their lives and consequently each other’s. Their brokenness breeds bitterness and isolation, their innocence, blind trust. They are alluring and stubborn, fearful and ethereal.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is unlike any book I’ve ever read. Full of characters that will fascinate and others that will fill your heart with trepidation, this novel will break your heart, horrify you, and have you falling in love all at once.