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The Lavender Hour: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Anne Leclaire
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $19.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $9.01 (47%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Downsized from her teaching job, Jessie longs for a sense of renewal and decides to spend a year on Cape Cod, seeking to be cleansed by rushing ocean waters and comforted by the lavender hues of the setting sun. While there she volunteers with a local hospice program, where she meets Luke, a once proud fisherman whose life and body have been ravaged by cancer. Jessie’s presence is a great help to Luke’s mother, who has moved in to take care of her son.

After initial misgivings Jessie and Luke forge a deep friendship, and the former teacher is surprised to find herself opening up about her life, the loss of her father when she was a girl, her often difficult relationship with her mother, and her own battle with illness. When Luke makes a critical request of his new friend, Jessie must look deep within herself for an answer, knowing that her actions will have far-reaching effects on Luke’s family and forever change the bonds within her own.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

LeClaire's eighth novel (Entering Normal; Leaving Eden) centers on troubled Jessie Long, a cancer survivor who has passed the crucial five-year all-clear mark. Still unsettled and unattached at 32 with a self-proclaimed habit of looking for love in the wrong places, Jessie moves to her family's empty cottage on Cape Cod where she hopes to find some equilibrium while indulging in her side business—making jewelry. In the first of a series of increasingly destructive decisions, Jessie hides her medical history and volunteers to be a hospice worker. She is assigned to Luke Ryder, a 45-year-old commercial fisherman in the last stages of pancreatic cancer. Jessie falls in love before she ever meets with Luke, on the basis of a few candid photos, and as her need for love grows stronger and clouds her judgments, Luke inches ever closer to death. After Luke dies of a painkiller overdose, Jessie is hauled into court to face charges of assisting in his suicide. LeClaire might have brought some insight and complexity to her narrative during the trial, but instead it putters along. Jessie's epilogue epiphany, similarly, fails to convince. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In her eighth novel, LeClaire pulls out all the emotional stops in an operatic tale of 32-year-old cancer survivor Jessie Long. Five years after undergoing brain surgery, Jessie is declared cancer free and relocates to the family cottage in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, far from her mother and sister in Richmond, Virginia. The former art teacher lies about her medical history and becomes a volunteer at a hospice center. She freely admits that her romantic history has been disastrous and then promptly falls in love with her first hospice patient, 45-year-old commercial fisherman Luke Ryder, who is dying of pancreatic cancer. Jessie's emotional involvement clouds her judgment, and she ends up breaking nearly all of the guidelines laid out for volunteers. When Luke commits suicide by overdosing on pain medication, Jessie is charged with his murder. LeClaire's uninhibited portrayal of Jessie's more unfortunate tendencies--her unappealing hobby of making jewelry out of human hair, her constant carping about her mother's newfound happiness--makes this tale far more entertaining than its heavy subject matter would indicate. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 632 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345460480
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 22, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,801 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I've loved all of Anne's books, but The Lavender Hour is now my favorite. It's the story of an artist in her thirties who creates jewelry from human hair--very cool descriptions of this craft that made me want to see it in person--and who is a cancer survivor,trying to reconcile her life after the dreaded "downsizing" that isn't doing our current education system any favors. Jess moves to Cape Cod to regroup and then signs on to attend a man in hospice and begins to love him, knowing the feelings will be intense but their time together bitterly brief. This book took me to such surprising places. It was vividly told with realistic setting, and I could see each character clearly as if I were visiting, bringing along muffins or a loaf of bread. Without giving away the plot, I just want to say that I would love to read a book about EACH of the characters, and in fact I slowed my usual reading pace so as not to have to say good-bye to them too quickly. I wanted to be with them, go to the beach, eat lobster rolls, sip coffee, walk the dog (Rocker is such a great dog) and listen to Jessie tell me how her life is going now. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a story about real people demonstrating the ordinary grace required to get through real life situations. What it says about love I will be mulling over for a long time. Great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting character study April 5, 2007
Having passed the mystical five year mark of surviving cancer, but recently losing her Virginia teaching position and with no male attachments, thirty-two years old Jessie Long feels a need to start over. Ironically as she draws that conclusion the radio plays her life record with the other sex, Johnny Lee's oldie "Lookin for Love in All the Wrong Places. Jessie decides to move into the lavender smelling vacant family-owned cottage on Cape Cod.

Jessie volunteers to work at a local hospice, but conceals her cancer history from everyone. She is assigned to assist dying forty-five years old fisherman Luke Ryder. As they spend his last moments together, they fall in love. When the pancreatic cancer becomes too painful, she assists him with an overdose of pills. Not given time to mourn her loss, Jessie stands trial for murder as assisted suicide in Massachusetts is against the law and Luke's acrimonious daughter Paige, jealous of the intruder's time with her dad especially at the end, wants her hung.

This is an interesting character study that transcends the grieving process by looking at the complete person that Jessie is. Her decisions to abet Luke are not easy life and death choices though that it is black and white as far as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. No pampering to the right to die with dignity crowd or to thou shall live regardless of the quality of life commandment crew. Instead readers obtain a discerning look at loving another human enough to sacrifice your own well being by assisting them with something that goes against your very need of more time with them.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking without being heavy April 24, 2007
I've read all of Anne LeClaire's book and this is her best work yet.

Ms. LeClaire's insight into the human soul as demonstrated through her characters' development shows an intuition of the human spirit few writers can express. The result is that the readers are presented with characters with whom they can immediately identify, empathize and grow close to.

The storyline flows so easily and is so compelling, I found I didn't want to put the book down and didn't want it to end. Yet even after the cover is closed, the story lingers on and the thoughts it provokes turn over and over in our minds.

Put this on the top of your list for this summer's "must read"!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life and all its challenges March 27, 2007
Anne D. LeClaire is the author of eight previous novels including Entering Normal, Leaving Eden and Land's End.

Jessie Long is 32, has lost her teaching job through downsizing, her love life is non-existent (she's experienced numerous disasters in that area), her mother, to Jessie's dismay, is in love with a much younger man, and Jessie is five years into recovery from cancer.

A year on Cape Cod, in the family lodgings, might help Jessie reclaim her life and give her a sense of direction. She settles in the cottage, far from Virginia, where she creates jewelry made of human hair and volunteers with the hospice program. Jess is assigned to Luke, a fisherman who has little time to live and is angry about it. Luke's mother takes care of him, and it is Jessie's job to give her respite.

It is weeks before Jessie meets her charge as he is adamant about keeping to himself. During those weeks, Jessie sees photographs of him, feels his presence in the house and falls in love with the shadow of the man. When she does meet him, they slowly build a deep friendship; one in which they both share their lives with the other in a way they haven't with others.

As death draws nearer, Luke makes a request of Jessie that, should she agree to the request, will alter her own life and that of Luke's family forever.

LeClaire's novel is thought-provoking. It challenges the reader to examine their own life, how they're living that life and how far will they go to help a loved one who is dying a difficult and heart-wrenching death. Some of the lines were so beautifully written that I found myself re-reading them and finally writing them down to savor later.

Armchair Interviews says: The Lavender Hour is dark and meanders through parts of us that we don't always want to visit. Its message will linger with you long after you've finished the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The book is a great read! The foreshadowing could have been more...
The book is a great read! The foreshadowing could have been more subtle, but it's an excellent example of character study that affects the reader in his/her soul. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Constantreader
2.0 out of 5 stars liked the first part, not the second
I picked this book up at the library and thought I'd enjoy the story: a woman becomes attached to her Hospice patient and must deal with all that entails. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amy in Ohio
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
This was the first book I have read by Anne LeClaire; I enjoyed reading it. She kept me guessing throughout the book, as she dropped hints. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Doranne
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Jessie's attachment to Luke so quickly was hard to buy into. Not my favorite read of the summer, but glad I read it.
Published 19 months ago by Susan Maher
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Author
I am not really a reader of tales like this one; but I have to say I love this author's writing so much I will read anything she writes. Read more
Published on July 21, 2011 by Ann L. Newman
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading
This story is predictable, but I love the relationships outside of the dying cancer patient Luke and Jessie. Read more
Published on March 12, 2008 by L. Phipps
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-Wrenching
I think that this is possibly one of the best books I have ever read. I don't think many authors could have pulled this of, but LeClaire did. Read more
Published on February 8, 2008 by Elle Reads
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult theme, gently treated
This book handled a difficult theme with devotion and grace. It was like a gentle rain that whipped to a storm in the night, only to bring a gentle and promising dawn. Read more
Published on September 3, 2007 by OlivesMom
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing story
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story was well told and was a real page turner. The only problem I had with the book was that the foreshadowing was a bit heavy-handed. Read more
Published on July 1, 2007 by hopeaw
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story -- a page turner!

May 23, 2007

Rating: 5 Stars

THE LAVENDER HOUR by Anne D. Read more
Published on May 23, 2007 by Ratmammy
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