is a dellawisp a real bird

When Other Birds begins, it’s just suffused with melancholy and sadness. We have several point of view protagonists carrying the story — here’s the setup:

When Zoey Hennessey comes to claim her deceased mother’s condo at The Dellawisp, she meets her quirky, enigmatic neighbors including a girl on the run, a grieving chef whose comfort food does not comfort him, two estranged middle-aged sisters, and three ghosts. Each with their own story. Each with their own longings. Each whose ending isn’t yet written.

So we have Zoey, who is chipper and upbeat, but her mother died when she was twelve and her father has barely tolerated her since he remarried. She does, however, have an invisible pigeon, so, I mean, there’s that.

Then we have the “girl on the run,” which is a dreadful description because Charlotte is not a girl; she is a young woman, and “on the run” is a serious exaggeration. Charlotte has a terrible past, however, and it’s true that she doesn’t want her past to catch up to her. Zoey and Charlotte are the two main protagonists.

— anybody else pause at that? Because that is just as great as you’re imagining. No, it’s more great than that. Mac is a wonderful character and I want SO MUCH to eat at his restaurant. But he was orphaned young and raised by the woman who taught him to cook, and she passed away some time ago — she was really old — and Mac has had trouble letting go of her. You recall the ghosts from the description, yes?

But moving on. Lizbeth Lime, who is seriously mentally unstable. Her sister, Lucy Lime, from whom she is bitterly estranged. Lizbeth’s son Oliver, who is hanging out with the wrong crowd way across the country. Also Frasier, who is the manager of the condo building called the Dellawisp, which is also the name of the little turquoise birds with the orange beaks, which live only here, apparently.

I’m not crazy about the cover, by the way, because while I’m all for artistic license, the birds look very wrong to me. Birds are unlikely to be so utterly mono-colored. Here, for example is an actual turquoise bird:

This is a turquoise dacnis, which is a type of honeycreeper, I believe. Photo by Dimitry B on Unsplash.

No real birds have solid, unchanging color all over. The birds on the cover look weird, like plastic toys. Cheap plastic toys. Personally, I made a real effort to visualize the dellawisps pretty much like the turquoise dacnis, because they’re described as really small and perky, and to me the dacnis looks right for the role.

Back to the actual book. As I say, initially the story is sad. It’s not that Zoey is sad, exactly. She’s actually really happy! She wants to live in her mother’s condo and get a feel for her mother that way. She wants to explore a new town and meet new people and she’s happy about the idea of starting college in the fall and really, Zoey is a charming protagonist, very easy to spend time with. But there’s this sadness in her past. I will just add that her mother’s name was Paloma, in case that suggests anything to anyone about the invisible pigeon.

Mac is not just a great chef with a difficult childhood behind him, he’s also shy and kind and did I mention I love Mac? But there’s all this sadness in his past. Everyone has some kind of sadness behind them …

… and then the story moves on. Zoey is so outgoing that she pulls Charlotte into a friendship, and then Mac, and it turns out Mac has been attracted to Charlotte for years — you probably recall that Sarah Addison Allen writes romances — and Oliver starts texting with Zoey and is reluctantly charmed and everything pulls together and is thoroughly touching and satisfying. Here’s a great exchange between Oliver and Zoey shortly after they meet in person:

“If you come, I promise not to scream your name and run into you, like I’ve done twice already,” she said. “Think about it.” “I don’t know, that’s a nice way to be greeted.” “You say that now, but wait until I do it to you in public.” He stared at her before saying, “You’re exactly how I imagined you.” “Thank you,” she said, delighted with the idea of him imagining anything about her. But then, “Wait. Was that a compliment?” “Yes,” he said, “it was a compliment.”

I see from reviews that I’m not the only one who felt this novel opened with a sad, difficult feel to it. Some readers, I see, did not like this book, partly because of that, but I do wonder if that means they stopped partway through, because, again, see above, completely delightful moment, and that certainly does show you how the story moves gently past the sadness in everyone’s past.

Other comments refer to the way that nothing exciting happens. Well, to be fair, I don’t think the story was super exciting and in fact the most exciting element could have been removed and that would have worked exactly as well as far as I’m concerned. Excitement is not what this story is about and not what it needs.

I think I would say that this story is understated, and that it’s essential theme is grief, and recovery via found family. I found it deeply touching. I don’t know that this is my favorite book by Sarah Addison Allen, maybe it isn’t. But on the other hand, maybe it is. It stuck in my head long after I finished it.

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It was truly enjoyable to read this book because of how interesting and captivating the writing was. Though I’ve only read one of Sarah Addison Allen’s books, I’m starting to feel like I should read them all!

Zoey Hennessey didn’t know the apartment she inherited from her mother would be haunted by three ghosts in addition to oddball neighbors when she first moved in. Every person living in the building has a unique backstory and set of secrets, and everything seems a little bit out of the ordinary. Zoey finds herself enmeshed in a mystery as intriguing as the tiny turquoise birds that inhabit the apartment courtyard when one of the residents passes away shortly after she arrives.

Hello everyone, I’m Shanna, a bookworm who resides in Seattle at the moment. I consume far too much grilled cheese, run on lattes, and have a never-ending list of books I want to read. Come join me on my book journeys!.

One of my favorite literary devices, found family, appears in this book. As they let go of their past, the residents of The Dellawisp eventually come to know one another and become closer. Each character’s story unfolds throughout the book in different ways. People gradually discover they have a lot in common, and strangers become family. Some stories are told by the characters, and some are told by the ghosts that reside at The Dellawisp.

This is a turquoise dacnis, which is a type of honeycreeper, I believe. Photo by Dimitry B on Unsplash.

I believe the main theme of this story is grief and healing through family, and it is subtly told. I found it deeply touching. Maybe this isn’t my favorite Sarah Addison Allen book, but I’m not sure. But on the other hand, maybe it is. It stuck in my head long after I finished it.

Next, we have the awful description of the “girl on the run,” which is a gross overstatement given that Charlotte is a young woman and not a girl. Though it’s true that Charlotte doesn’t want her horrible past to catch up with her, Zoey and Charlotte are the two main protagonists.

Back to the actual book. As I say, initially the story is sad. It’s not that Zoey is sad, exactly. She truly wants to move into her mother’s condo and experience her mother firsthand because she is so happy there. Indeed, Zoey is a delightful lead character who is a pleasure to spend time with. She is excited about the prospect of attending college in the fall and wants to explore a new town and meet new people. But there’s this sadness in her past. I will just mention that, in case it gives anyone any ideas regarding the invisible pigeon, her mother’s name was Paloma.

Here we have Zoey, who is happy and positive, but her father hasn’t really tolerated her since he remarried, and her mother passed away when she was twelve. Still, she does have an invisible pigeon, so there’s that.


What is a Dellawisp bird?

The Dellawisps are the tiny turquoise birds that the five unit, well hidden, apartment building in Mallow Island, South Carolina, is named after. This birds inhabit the courtyard garden of the apartment complex, and they can be found around and on the apartment manager, Frasier, too.

Who is Oliver in other birds?

Zoey’s support characters are the other residents of Dellawisp Condo: Mac Garrett, a chef; Lucy Lime, a shut-in; Elizabeth Lime, a busybody and estranged sister of Lucy Lime; Oliver Lime, Elizabeth’s son who is away looking for a job; Charlotte Lungren, a free spirit and henna artist; and Frasier, the caretaker/manager …

Who is Camille in other birds?

They get to know Mac, who’s still grieving the loss of his surrogate mother, Camille. Camille was famous for her cornbread, and now Mac unconsciously conjures cornmeal around him when he sleeps.