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.
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I am so excited to have Ms. Velez join us today for the release of her newest book, Lavender in Bloom. She stops by today to share a playlist for the book and a bit of why each song made the cut. There are some fabulous songs on this list and hopefully some new ones to discover as well. Read and enjoy!
I absolutely love music and its power to stir the heart and so deeply move us. Creating a playlist for my books is one of my go-to strategies in my writer’s toolbox because listening to that playlist is the easiest way for me to get into the mood of a scene or the headspace of a particular character. Below, check out the tracks that made it onto the playlist for Lavender in Bloom, along with commentary on why each song’s so perfect for the story.
You can listen to the entire playlist for Lavender in Bloom here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2GrUHSQ_FVEgy8rJdNnbqRBE_c0GZT_l
Frail Love by Cloves — This song was an absolute Godsend and I’m so glad I found it, as it ended up becoming the ‘theme song’ for Lavender in Bloom. Every last lyric was just perfect for Noah and Jeremie’s story. Especially these particular lines: I can’t live it like I’m living, I can’t live a lie, I’m giving up more than I should, forgive me for my frail love.
All I Want by Kodaline — For the longest time, this track was the theme song for Lavender in Bloom. I honestly couldn’t listen to it without getting teary-eyed, as it so perfectly captures the tragedy of Noah and Jeremie’s story. Favorite lines: When you said your last goodbye, I died a little bit inside and If you loved me, then why’d you leave me?
The Beautiful Ones by The Battle of Land and Sea — I love this song because, for one, it’s a break from the sad songs, but also because I feel it sets the mood for Noah’s life in the countryside. It has a very rural feel to it that makes me think of a simple and tranquil living.
Say Something by A Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera — Another perfect song for Noah and Jeremie’s story. In fact, there’s a point in Lavender in Bloom where Jeremie outright tells Noah to just say the word, and he’ll be his. There’s also a point where they’re sort of at odds, waiting for the other to make the first move (or speak the first word, as it were), and this song really captures that. Favorite lines: Anywhere I would’ve followed you and I will swallow my pride: you’re the one that I love and I’m saying goodbye.
The Power of Love by Gabrielle Aplin — I included this song because it really captured the mood for a fable that’s featured in Lavender in Bloom. In fact, it’s a fable that describes how lavender first came into bloom in France. It’s based on an ‘alternate universe’ story featuring Noah and Jeremie, and it would be the perfect song for a montage of their love. Favorite line: The power of love, a force from above, cleaning my soul.
Make it Holy by The Staves — This is such a pretty song, and it’s perfect from Jeremie’s perspective. Favorite lines: I could make you want me, make you need me, make you mine. I could make it holy, make it special, make it right.
Forgetting by David Gray — Another sad song. From the very first chords, this song just sets the mood for a scene of heartbreak. It kind of has a nostalgic feel to it. Despite the title of the song, it’s the type of song that makes you remember times long past.
Ashes by Madi Diaz — This is another song I see as being from Jeremie’s perspective, especially toward the end of the book, when he asks Noah to make a certain decision. Favorite lines: Don’t you let me down and No, I won’t stand to keep watching you stay.
I Will Love You by Gin Wigmore — One of the few happy love song on the Lavender in Bloom playlist, and the only one with a more upbeat melody. As such, it’s very much treasured. This is a cute one, too. I love every single lyric, but my favorite lines are: If you die before I do, I know that heartache will kill me, too, so if I ever lived again, it would be to find you. It’s especially perfect because I can definitely see Noah and Jeremie as living many lives and finding each other in each one.
Tell Me How to Feel by Maggie Eckford — This song captures one of the main character’s thoughts in the wake of the book’s concluding actions, in which they just feel so blindsided, lost, and heartbroken.
Benediction by Luke Sital-Singh — This song has a sad vibe from the start, and it’s also one I picked because it instantly makes me think of the lavender fable and Noah and Jeremie’s ‘alternate universe’ story. Favorite lines: There’s a knock in the silence, I see death at the door, But I know we’ll be alright, ‘Cause your hands are still warm and I’m sorry we don’t have forever, but come die with me.
Hengilas by Jonsi — This song’s in another language (Icelandic!), but it has such an atmospheric quality to it that just draws you in. Favorite lines: We look into foreign eyes, yet we have always known each other. Perfect, because Jeremie has a line in Lavender in Bloom about Noah’s eyes feeling like home even from the moment he first looked into them.
Jeremie’s abrupt materialization not just on the farm but right before him incinerated the last of Noah’s comprehensible ideations. He didn’t know what to think or what to say. He was hopelessly held captive by this unheralded and unforeseen visit such that he could only stand there, rendered mute, utterly immobilized.
Jeremie’s eyes roamed Noah’s face, weary drifters treading familiar lands. They moved in a seamless stream as he absorbed the dark gold of Noah’s hair, the fair tint of his skin, the bone shape of his eyebrows and nose and cheeks and jawline. It was as if he were committing it all to memory.
He raised a hand, and his fingertips fell one by one along the side of Noah’s face, like beads of rain taking to a windowpane. Noah’s eyelids briefly fluttered shut, and in the darkness there was only Jeremie and Jeremie’s touch. It was gentle, delicate.
Jeremie stepped closer. He brought his free hand to the other side of Noah’s face, smoothing a thumb across his cheekbone, as if tracing the path on a weathered map. With his soft, warm palms, he handled Noah’s face with such great care, even more so than he did with one of his rare books, that Noah’s chest swam with emotion—no, drowned in it. He was overcome by the moment, which to him unraveled such tenderness as he had never before known or experienced. He didn’t know whether to laugh or weep, whether to speak or maintain this strange wordlessness between them.
He additionally didn’t know what struck him more: the overpowering silence, or the blatant despair in Jeremie’s eyes, eyes that still hadn’t met his own. Instead, Jeremie closed them, moving closer until their bodies were no longer separated—Noah was immediately as hot as if he’d stepped through fire—and then he rested his forehead against Noah’s, still holding his face. There they remained, breathing in sync, and Noah could almost feel their hearts beating as one. He’d known many states over the past weeks: anxiety, fear, shame. But here with Jeremie, trapped within this impossible capsule of frozen time, all else melted away. In the aftermath, Noah felt only the faintest glimpse of bittersweet peace.
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.
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