The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Summary & Study Guide

Leslye Walton
This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.
This section contains 647 words
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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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“The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender” is a young adult fantasy novel by Leslye Walton, which recounts the family history, and early life of Ava Lavender, a girl born with wings. Ava’s maternal family originates from France to settle in New York, including her grandmother, Emilienne. Emilienne struggles with love in her youth, and the deaths of her three siblings and both parents leave her shaken and wanting to leave New York. As a result, at the age of 20, she marries 31-year-old baker, Connor Lavender, who had previously believed he was not marriageable material due to his deformed leg as a result of childhood polio. Emilienne promises him one child if he will get her as far away from New York as possible. She and Connor then move to Seattle, where several months later, Emilienne gives birth to their only child, a daughter named Viviane. Connor dies of a heart-attack not long after, leaving Emilienne to run the bakery.

Viviane, as a child, befriends Jack Griffith, a neighborhood kid, and as teenagers, they fall in love with one another. Jack’s father, however, has high expectation of his son, which Jack can never meet. He breaks up with Viviane in order to marry a wealthy girl for her money and for the status it will afford him. Nevertheless, Jack still sleeps with Viviane once, who later gives birth to twins –the winged Ava Lavender, and her brother, the very-quiet Henry Lavender.

Ava and Henry are kept at home by Viviane, who worries that they will not do well out in the world. Nevertheless, Ava befriends a new girl on the block named Cardigan, who is happy to visit with Ava regularly. When they are both 15, they notice a young man arriving at the Widow Marigold Pie’s house in the neighborhood. They learn the man is an aspiring priest named Nathaniel Sorrows, who has been sent to take care of his aunt and help her get her health in order. Ava is immediately smitten with Nathaniel. On the first night Ava ever sneaks out with Cardigan, along with Cardigan’s older brother, Rowe, to head to the reservoir, while heading home alone, she encounters Nathaniel. Nathaniel has been struck by her wings, believing her to be an angel. She allows Nathaniel to touch her wings, and over the next few weeks, does everything she can to get Nathaniel to notice her. She preens her feathers in her open window so he can see her, and she leaves piles of feathers for him on his aunt’s doorstep. She begins to imagine what a married life with Nathaniel would be like, only to discover, in the end, that her crush is no more than a crush. Ava ends up falling in love with Rowe, instead.

Nathaniel, however, has become obsessed with Ava. While she is on her way home one night in the rain after a neighborhood celebration, Nathaniel invites her into his aunt’s house, where he proceeds to attack and rape her, stunned to discover that she is not an angel after all. Enraged, he hacks off her wings, and flees the house. Viviane, who has noticed her daughter is missing, is driving to find Ava when she sees Nathaniel running down the street. Two of Viviane’s dead ancestors appear with Nathaniel, and cause him to burst into flames and disappear. Ava is rushed to the hospital, while the entire neighborhood turns out in a vigil of prayer for her. At home, she recovers slowly, her wings regrowing, and she endeavors to survive in order to return the love Rowe has given her. While Ava recovers, Emilienne herself begins to weaken, and ultimately passes away. At the end of the novel, now recovered, for the first time in her life, Ava takes to the night sky in flight.

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This section contains 647 words
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