The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

This book has been sitting on my book shelf for the past three years. Even as I moved, accidentally gave books away, and read hundreds of other books, this darn book stayed on my shelf, unread and untouched for the past three years. So when my mom told me that we were meeting her best friend for lunch, I knew I had to bring something. And I was right. We were there for three hours and I had read half the book.


The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is filled with magic and wonder. The book itself is written in the form of a “history” book as Ava herself is researching her own history. Because of this, there isn’t as much dialogue and more (whimsical) description. It begins with the story of Ava’s great-grandparents, Maman and Beauregard Roux, followed by their children and so on. The Roux/Lavender family is not a stranger to loss and devastation. Death always seemed to follow them, and some people, more than others, couldn’t seem to shake off the grief. (And understandably so.)

What I liked about this book is how the characters reacted to their own losses. It made me think about how I would react if I was in their shoes. Would I go crazy? Would I fade into a shell of myself? Or would I be fine? Let’s just say I don’t really want to find out!

The names, like the rest of the book are equally as beautiful- Ava Lavender, Cardigan, Wilhelmina Dovewolf, to name a few. What’s not to love about those?

Filled with tragedy and loss, love and hope, this book kept me thinking throughout the time I read it. I’m glad I “waited” three years to read it because I doubt I would have understood the little implied phrases…Let’s just face it. I probably wouldn’t have understood anything at all. Because of the ‘textbook’ type layout, it felt like I was reading something for school at some points. I did enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like there was a little something missing.


I surprisingly loved the ending, which is rare, considering I happen to like closure at the end of books. The end of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender has an open ending of sorts, left for you to decide what happens.

In the end, I’d like to think that Ava Lavender is finally happy.

– the unlost wanderer.


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