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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton


Publisher:  Walker Books Ltd./ originally Candlewick Press


Date/Year that it was Published: October 2nd 2014/ orginally March 13th 2014


Pages: 320


Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism


Best for Boys/Girls: Girls


Format: Paperback/ Hardback


My Criticisms


This has to be one of the greatest books that i have read over 2014 - which has now been and gone sadly. It was a truly different and entricate way of writing that i have never seen before in a book. I think now, since i have read this i want to seek out more of this type of style that Ms Walton has. It has literally changed my life - along with making me think about the most important things in life.
The plot itself is very different to what i have read in the past, as it literally deals with what has happened in the past for certain characters and how it will affect their future. It identifies three women within the same family and how 'love makes them such fools', as it is mainly about their tragic love lives. First of all there is Emilienne who moved to America, but she originally came from France. She is the most important character at the start of the book, as she is one who sets off later events in the book. She eventually meets her husband one day and therefore she becomes pregnant - with the next major character - Viviane. Viviane also has a tragic life with love and falls in love with a man who eventually marries somebody else. She has two children by this man without him knowing who were twins and are called Henry and Ava. Ava is special as she is born with wings which ressembles her quite easily to an angel. This is how towards the end she suffers quite a lot from an ignorant man, believing that she is there for giving him a message from God and obsesses over her. Henry is born more or less mute but is receptive to things around him - but he is good at drawing detailed maps!
Essentially the book is a saga of the Lavender families tragic love lives and how they are able to get over it all.  The book itself is set in the early 20th century, starting from Emilenne. It also has a bit of back story to what the residents were before them, and how it all ties in with the entire novel. I found this in a way quite daunting and freaky, as the house they live in is pretty much haunted. But really it is the characters perceptive eye  to what is around them. The ending itself is very much unexpected, but I am sure that many do not agree with this. This is because of how Ava does not do a particular thing (trust me it is hard to tell you what it is without letting it out what happened!).
I think the book itself is a cracking read. I cannot wait til the next time I am going to pick up this book on a rainy day. Yes, it is different as it focuses more on the family than Ava herself, but I think it is a fluid way to get the whole plot across to the reader. Also it gives a bit more understanding to what the characters have all been through. As well as a sort of closeness that the reader and the character would not be able to experience, unless we were to know a bit more about their own personal background. If Ms Walton was to do another book herself - even if it is not connected to Ava Lavender I would still read it. As she has a style of writing which is much like an art. Then again isn't the English Language an art in its own right? Although it is more like a game to me.
My overall rating would be :

4 Stars



Next week I will be reviewing the book 'When She Smiled' which is a book on the Kindle.


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