THE MAN I LOVE and HERE TO STAY
The Fish Tales Series by Suanne Lequeur
“I don’t know what I’d do without you.
“You’ll never have to know.”
* * * *
Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
‘Loving her felt like creating something. A cathedral. Spires and stained glass and bells. But she broke one window and I indiscriminately tore the whole thing down…’
With tears streaming down our cheeks, we want to give Suanne Laqueur a standing ovation and a big thank you for the privilege of experiencing this achingly compelling, stunningly written, powerful and incredibly moving series of which we’ll never forget. The dramatic threads of this story were so intrinsically and superbly woven by an author who gave us her all through heartbreaking, beautiful and inspiring words. Not just an epic love story, this was an epically remarkable story of life, love, loss, friendship, family and second chances.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you.
“You’ll never have to know.”
We found it hard to function whenever real life forced us to put this book down, anxious to continue Daisy and Erik’s story, caring for them so deeply it became that we were unable to focus on anything other than their journey. To say it consumed us would be an understatement…we desperately wanted to pause life to sit, devour and savour every breathtakingly incredible word.
‘You can bury your pain or avoid it. You can tattoo over it. But you won’t be free of it until you feel it.’
There are books you read and enjoy; then there are the precious few, like The Fish Tales series which leave an indelible imprint on your heart, marking you as though you’ve actually lived and breathed the story along with the characters – such stories need to be treasured. Honest, raw, intelligent and passionate, this series was so rich in detail, with such realistic dialogue we couldn’t help but become swept up in a story that was epic in every sense of the word and we will be treasuring this series.
‘She was a beautiful china cup on a table, quietly asking to be filled. And little by little, Erik was tipping over and pouring out.’
Suanne Laqueur laid the foundations of her story so meticulously and with such a wonderful simmering burn, taking her time to introduce her characters and in doing so ensured we came to know Erik, Daisy and their tight knit group of friends intimately. Knowing them on such a level meant we experienced every moment of their lives, the good, the bad and all the associated emotions as they unfolded. Honestly, when Erik and Daisy met for the first time, we were so invested in them as people we could feel the excited butterflies flutter in our stomachs as though we were right there witnessing the first gaze, feeling the first zap of chemistry between them. Although they would certainly test us and put our hearts through the wringer, our immense affection for these characters never wavered.
“What’s happening to us? We’re better than this.”
“We used to be.”
This is not a light read. It’s an intense, evocative, heartbreaking, frustrating, infuriating, joyful, romantic, passionate, tragic and deeply emotional story chronicling the lives, loves and destruction of characters who became our friends. There were times their story crushed our hearts, times we were incensed, times we smiled, times we swooned, times we cried, but every single emotion was precious to us because to feel a story so implicitly is what reading is all about. It’s what keeps the passion burning.
‘Where once he’d been surprised to discover the depths of his passion, he was now equally astonished at how well he could shut down.’
We are introduced to Daisy and Erik as they meet at College in 1989. Erik was 19, Daisy 17, following them through to their 30’s bearing witness to the many tumultuous, happy, tragic, meaningful and life changing events throughout their lives. Daisy and Erik shared a soul deep love that was etched in their hearts from the time they met, an unrestrained and obvious bond between; a true meeting of soulmates, a love that was as spiritual as it was physical and emotional.
‘Time was plentiful, a spilling basket of golden minutes and hours. Time was a gift from this girl who had waited for him to find her.’
The background setting of the theatre was so artfully and vividly brought to life, the dance aspect and how the interpretation of Daisy’s dancing techniques revealed to Erik so much of Daisy’s character was conveyed magnificently and breathtakingly so. We witnessed Daisy through Erik’s eyes and she was exquisite. The buzz of the theatre, the love of the dance, the heart rending love story, the true and deep friendships…it was all there for the taking and thanks to the brilliance of this author, we were held captive whilst embracing and feeling every moment.
“I know how to dance,” she said. “And I know how to love you.”
Erik and Daisy were in complete happiness, drinking in each other, their love, their friends, their families, their surroundings. Everything was falling into place until a life changing and traumatising event would rock their world, the aftermath causing a divide between them that would prove devastating to not only them, but their close knit friends, having a profound effect on them all. Finding their way, healing and accepting would prove difficult and through the years observing them crumble under the weight of their pain, watching them spiral out of control – making decisions that would affect the rest of their lives.
‘Nothing man-made was perfect. Not even massive churches. A partnership wasn’t about being beautiful and adored in the spotlight, it was about incorporating the mistakes into the architecture and continuing to build something beautiful. Together.’
When we came to the end of The Man I Love we were wrung out, our emotions raw and exposed feeling as though we needed some sort of closure immediately. It was for this reason we made the decision to head straight into Here To Stay leaving Give Me Your Answer True until our emotions were back in check.
“Leaving isn’t always the end of loving.”
Here to Stay wrecked us and put us back together. It was a perfect and fitting conclusion to Erik and Daisy’s journey but it wasn’t only that aspect that drew us in. The theme of friendship throughout this series was as every bit as meaningful and stirring as the gripping and potent love story between Erik and Daisy, with the relationship between Will and Erik being particularly fascinating and beautiful. Their story was a revelation and had us both agreeing it was one of the most heart-warming, heartbreakingly honest and beautiful relationships we’ve ever experienced.
We spent a weekend lost in Suanne Laqueur’s world, her intoxicating and arousing words eliciting such heartfelt emotion, with a finesse as enthralling as Daisy’s dance and as vividly stunning as any treasured painting. This isn’t merely a love story, it’s a sweeping saga of love, life, pain and healing. We want to grab every reader and implore them to pick up this series! Brace your heart and lose yourself to love in all its many forms and we promise you will experience an unforgettable reading experience.
“Love can bring out the best and worst in us. We’ve all been a jackass for love. But love makes us do amazing things. And if love drives us away, love is what brings us back. Love makes up pick up the phone. Love makes us listen. Love makes us say I’m sorry. Love makes us forgive. Love makes us better. Love makes us our best. “
THE FISH TALES SERIES
(Please Note: The synopsis for Books #2 and #3 contain spoilers for Book #1)
THE MAN I LOVE BOOK ONE
“Like it or not, she made you the man you are. And you never got over her. You just left.”
The man is Erik “Fish” Fiskare, a student of technical theatre at a Philadelphia university. At twenty-two, he is the lover and soul mate of Daisy Bianco, a beautiful and talented ballerina. His best friend is William Kaeger, Daisy’s charismatic, free-spirited partner.
While deeply in love with Daisy and astonished by their physical passion, Erik is fascinated by Will’s bisexuality. But when Will embarks on a disastrous affair with a dancer named James Dow, it pushes Erik’s tolerance and trust to the limit. Rejection soon pushes James over the edge of sanity, taking Will and Daisy with him and leaving Erik in the ruins.
The young stagehand soon discovers that in the face of heartache, grief and betrayal, love is not always enough to make you stay. And sometimes, it’s the only thing that can bring you back.
Spanning fifteen years and following a man’s thrilling emotional journey back to the truth of himself, Laqueur’s debut novel explores the complexities of sexual passion, the dark side of devotion and the futility of running from one’s past. The Man I Love is an epic tale of love and forgiveness that will linger long after the last page is turned.
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GIVE ME YOUR ANSWER TRUE BOOK TWO
“What I feel has no name…”
Suanne Laqueur’s award-winning debut novel The Man I Lovethrilled readers with its memorable characters and depth of emotion. Erik Fiskare’s journey of love, recovery and forgiveness captivated hearts but also left questions unanswered. Now Daisy Bianco has a chance to tell her story.
It’s been three years since a single lapse of judgment cost Daisy the love of her life. Erik was a conduit to her soul but now he’s chosen a path of total disconnection, refusing to speak to her or acknowledge her betrayal. Alone and shattered, Daisy attempts to take responsibility for her actions while building her career as a professional dancer in New York City. But Erik’s unforgiving estrangement proves too much for her strength. Plagued by flashbacks to the Lancaster shootings, she falls into a dangerous spiral of self-harm, cutting into her own skin as a means to atone. Only the timely appearance of an old friend, John “Opie” Quillis, saves her from self-destruction and gives her a chance to love again.
Laqueur skillfully weaves flashbacks to the college years with Daisy’s present life. Supported by John’s patient affection, she works to separate her evolution as an adult from the unresolved guilt and grief of her youth. As her professional accomplishments lift her out of depression, Daisy learns to hold onto her accountability without letting it become her identity. Years pass and she builds a beautiful life filled with dance and friends. Lovers come and eventually go, leaving her on her own with the old thought: Come back to me.
In this parallel narrative, Laqueur peels open the beloved characters from The Man I Love to reveal new and complex layers of vulnerability. The scars from the shooting are deep and pervasive within this circle of friends. Like Daisy, they are trying to evolve without being fully resolved. But when questions from the past go unheeded, you alone must find and give your answers true.
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HERE TO STAY BOOK THREE
“You can’t sort of do this, Fish. Draw a line and get on one side or the other…”
Love is never so sweet as when it receives a second chance. In the sequel to her award-winning novel The Man I Love, Suanne Laqueur continues the story of Erik Fiskare’s romance with Daisy Bianco. Though separated for twelve years, the extraordinary bond forged in their youth has endured. But when your soulmate has caused you indescribable pain, how easy is it to forgive? How much trust is needed to place your heart back into the hands that once broke it? How much faith does it take to ask the question, “Do you still want me?” and believe in the reply: “I still want us.”
Erik and Daisy commit to creating a new life together. They are separated by geography, loyal to career commitments and burdened with lingering pain from a decade spent apart. Yet despite the challenges, Erik knows Daisy is the best thing to happen to him twice.
Slowly Erik earns back Daisy’s love as well as the trust of his incomparable friend, Will Kaeger. Both relationships grow deeper and more complex, as do Erik’s ties to the past. Unexpected contact with distant cousins offers new insight to the cruel childhood desertion that shaped so much of Erik’s adult life. With Daisy at his side, he travels back to his hometown to meet his people, explore his family’s history and learn about the men who wore his heirloom necklace before him.
The cathedral once burned down is rebuilt. But a love affair is never a finished thing. Life is never without its tragedies. Daisy and Erik soon face a threat more harrowing than gunfire, more sorrowful than the lost years. With Will at his back and family close by, Erik must fight for the things he once walked away from and prove his love is here to stay.
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