Lavender in Bloom
Publication date: July 25th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
It’s the year 1802 in Avignon, France…
Noah Capet has spent most of his young life living simple and unvaried days in the hushed countryside of southern France. Quiet, reserved, and diffident, his preference for existing is to do so in solitude, keeping to himself both in town and on his family’s farm—a predilection that’s altogether disrupted when a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault begins an unremitting quest to befriend him.
Jeremie is everything Noah is not. Charismatic and gregarious, he leaves a trail of charmed admirers in his wake wherever he goes. Expressive and idealistic, he talks without end about his deep love for old books and his spirited dream to one day travel the world on a literary pilgrimage.
Over the course of a single summer, the two form an unlikely friendship, but just as quickly as it develops, it soon entirely dissolves as they’re forced to face the truth of what has unexpectedly emerged between them.
Lavender in Bloom is a tender and tragic coming-of-age story about first love and self-discovery, and a poignant reminder that time is fleeting and always takes with it the choices we’re too afraid to make.
Can you tell us more about the cover for Lavender in Bloom?
I’d be happy to! To start off, you can see the full-jacket cover design for Lavender in Bloom here: http://www.lilyvelezbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Lavender-in-bloom-5x8_BW_250.jpg
The cover was designed by Stephanie Hobbs over at Steph’s Cover Design.
Lavender in Bloom is a historical, coming-of-age romance set in the 1800s in southern France. It follows the friendship that develops between a quiet and reserved boy named Noah, and a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault who’s his opposite in almost every possible way.
I knew from the start that I wanted the cover to focus on three elements that are central to Noah and Jeremie’s story: lavender, books, and horseshoes.
The lavender is obvious enough, of course. It would tie in with the title. But lavender fields (which flower in the summer in southern France) play a central role in the evolution of Noah and Jeremie’s relationship, too. There are key moments between them that involve lavender in some way, and about midway into the story, a character tells a fable about how lavender first came into bloom in France, and it really drives home the meaning of the title and what the novel as a whole represents. So, yes–lavender had to be on the cover by all means, and I’m so happy with the images that were used. They’re absolutely beautiful!
I must say, though, that the back cover is my favorite part of the full jacket. It’s a perfect representation of Noah and Jeremie. On the back cover, you’ll see a pair of horseshoes and a bouquet of lavender at rest upon an old, weathered book.
The horseshoes are for Noah. Noah is a farrier (someone who takes care of horse hooves and who nails on horseshoes). Since he apprenticed with a blacksmith, he makes his own horseshoes as well. A gentle and quiet soul, Noah is the type of person who’s most comfortable in the company of animals. As such, he puts all of himself into his work as a farrier. It’s his very own art in a way. He’s happiest when he’s at his anvil, crafting new horseshoes. But the biggest reason I wanted a horseshoe on the back cover was because it ends up signifying something special between Noah and Jeremie and is really where their friendship begins. You’ll see what I mean if/when you read the book. 😉
The picture of the old book on the back cover is representative of Jeremie, who is absolutely in love with rare and antique books. It’s the reason he’s come to Avignon, France in the first place: to open up a bookshop and surround himself with books, which to him are the world’s greatest treasures. He’s especially taken by the trade of bookbinding. Long before we had New York publishing houses, professional binders were the ones who put books together, and back in the day, it was practically an art. Many books would have beautiful leather covers with gold tooling, jeweled onlays–they’d basically look like mosaics sometimes!
So all in all, the cover so perfectly encapsulates the soul of Lavender in Bloom. An aspect of Noah and an aspect of Jeremie unite in perfect harmony on the back cover, and the front cover shows off a beautiful flower that becomes symbolic to their relationship.
“I think of you almost every moment, Noah. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I am utterly tormented by these things I feel for you.”
It was as if lightning had struck Noah. He was paralyzed by the admission, stricken silent, and at his core, an inferno devoured him. Its heat filled his veins, spread from ligament to ligament, muscle to muscle. Jeremie had once read aloud a poem regarding a phoenix making its nest in a person’s bosom. Noah felt the phoenix now, felt her awakening, shifting, extending her wings and beating them powerfully so that he was left breathless, but no more breathless than by what Jeremie did next.
Jeremie came to him at once, erasing the last of the distance between them, and this time, Noah didn’t back away. The thin gap of space between their bodies sweltered. Still, Noah didn’t move. He didn’t move as Jeremie cupped Noah’s elbows, fingers grasping at bone. He didn’t move as Jeremie pulled him nearer. He didn’t even move when their faces were close enough for him to feel Jeremie’s warm breath against his mouth.
“Tell me you feel the same,” Jeremie whispered. It sounded like a prayer. His head was bowed slightly to be at level with Noah’s.
There was a pull in Noah’s stomach, an unfamiliar desire growing heavier. He was close enough now to see the velvet trimming on the collar of Jeremie’s coat, the paisley design of the white ascot at his neck. Jeremie’s lips lingered before his own, daring, eager, ravenous. It would’ve been effortless to give in, to lean his body into Jeremie’s, to be overtaken by the fever consuming him. He wanted to. Of that much he was certain, and it shocked him like nothing else ever had.
Tell me you feel the same, Jeremie had whispered.
And Noah, still fighting a war he hadn’t even known had begun long ago, had thought to, had nearly conceded to it. But then he saw an image of Jeremie’s father, cold and cruel, bringing his own son to ruins, and in the end, he couldn’t. He wouldn’t. For Jeremie’s sake, he couldn’t fall.
Firm in his resolve, he drew up his strength and stepped back out of Jeremie’s hold. The moment he did, the phoenix extinguished herself.
Tell me you feel the same.
Noah met his eyes, forcefully, meaningfully. “I don’t.”
Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she’s not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at http://www.lilyvelezbooks.com.
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