Author: Christina Hart
“She found herself torn between two worlds–a world that she belonged to, and a world that wanted to belong to her.”
Ethelyn Jaslove is seventeen, leading your average life. Waking up, going to a high school day in and day out, where it’s tough to make it through the day. Well, life hasn’t been the same since Ethelyn’s father–Jeremy–passed away 10 years ago. Her mother has lost all life in her eyes since that dreaded phone call, causing her and her mother’s relationship to be quite faulty.
On a warm May day, as Ethelyn is taking her normal route home, praying for a different life–if one at all–her eye catches a beautiful rosebush in the park. Ethelyn is immediately mesmerized by it’s beauty, she does the only logical thing; she touches it’s soft petals examining the pure white and pink centers. This move alone changed Ethelyn’s life forever. A vine reaches out and grabs ahold of her ankle, pulling her deeper into the rosebush and before she knows it she is tumbling, rolling and stumbling landing on her knees atop a hill. As she turns to look, she realizes she’s not in Kansas anymore.
Lavender and Smoke is comparable to Alice in Wonderland. The vivid images of the pure beauty in this new found world that Ethelyn comes into is almost indescribable. She meets creatures that only come alive in fairytales back home and starts to question if she’s dreaming. Who wouldn’t, right? This book contains more than just magic, breathtaking lands, and an evil queen. The message behind is the most powerful. This story touches upon loyalty, trust, love and self exploration. In just a short period of time Ethelyn grows wiser and stronger in her own world and theirs.
Zamatore is by far my favorite character in Lavender and Smoke. He is the epitome of being a great friend. Through all the trials and tribulations Ethelyn faces during this story–Zamatore is the one to help guide and protect her. It also helps that he becomes Ethelyn’s father figure. We know no one will never be able to take his place, but Zamatore shows us, without complaint he’s happy to take on the unspoken role.
One of the more difficult challenges I faced while reading was actually liking Ethelyn. I understood her in more ways than one and my heart went out to her on many occasions. She shows more self growth and strength than any other character in this book and that alone makes me appreciate her. However, she was very whiny and extremely wavering. I understand this is her character, being in a world where you know no outcomes or if you’ll live, but her indecisiveness put me on edge. By the end I realized everything came full circle and Ethelyn just wouldn’t have been herself is she never carried those characteristics.
I would recommend this this fantasy series to anyone who enjoys leaving this world once in awhile and entering another. Christina Hart creates a world for us to escape into with more beauty than we can imagine, but more deception than we expected. Looking to head into Lilia Valley to learn of Ethelyn’s adventures yourself?