AN EXALTATION OF LARKS by SUANNE LAQUEUR :: REVIEW


A TBB TOP READ
5++ STAR SPOILER FREE REVIEW 

Standalone
Deeply emotional, heartbreaking, uplifting and moving exploration of love.
“We’re so alike, you and I. It’s no wonder we kept finding each other.”

exaltation-of-larks

SYNOPSIS
September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.
September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he’s long suppressed.
Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11’s, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.
“Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn’t yours.”
Across three decades and two continents, Suanne Laqueur’s fifth novel explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love’s downfall can turn to exaltation.

An Exaltation of Larks is available to pre order below – Releasing 22nd November

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Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny 

‘My heart beats with yours. Wake up to hear my heart one day. This day. Every day.’

Suanne Laqueur is a master of the written word, a master of ‘reader- character’ connection and a master at making us feel as if we are in the story heart, body, mind and soul. This story is so flawlessly written producing an epic saga of love that’s not to be missed. A masterpiece that showcases the dynamics of love in all its beautiful, heart-breaking and emotionally stunning glory.

“It is no wonder we found each other.”

“Within the dread is hope.”

An Exaltation of Larks grabbed us instantly, the words mesmerising us and the characters burrowing deep within our hearts from the onset. The intensity of the emotional aspects of this story went beyond much we’ve read before, to the degree that it went straight to the top of our list of best books we’ve ever read. We thoroughly felt every single emotion so passionately, as the undercurrents of love, lust and friendship literally bled from the pages into our soul whilst we had a front seat to an incredible depth and attention to detail.

“I will do this and you will give me…Nothing. This does not come at a price.”

We came to know every character, what made them who they are and were, as well as their unique personality features, with us growing, living and experiencing life alongside them, we also grew to fall in love and develop an innate protectiveness and understanding of each and every one of them.  How a lioness loves and protects her cubs, if you will, that is how we came to feel about the characters in this story. This led us to an overwhelming compassion, love, understanding, frustration, despair, sadness and laughter. We held hands with the characters throughout their journey as we discovered an incredible strength of bond and circumstance impacting all aspects of relationships. Alex, Valerie and Javier stole our very being as with them, we experienced a sense of separation, loss, loneliness, abandonment, joy and love with no character dramatization in sight. It was incredible. Love wears many coats and cannot be placed in a box, nor can it be defined. To do so would be unjust and devastating.

“So who loves you?”

“That is a story for another day.”

What we’ve been through in the past can shape our minds, our hearts and our lives for now and perhaps even forever. As we tread through life on any given path the choice of detour and direction will carry the markings of what came before.

‘Echoes of the past ricocheted off the insides of his skull.’

Javier quickly became one of our all-time favourite characters, that man is incredibly special to us. Whilst vulnerable he had a quiet strength that stilled the chaos in others. He gave, expecting nothing in return. He knew not of love, so created his own in life, until his heart truly fell for another. This man overcame brutality, condemnation, judgement, tragedy as well as being used by others, some being friends – some being foes. We fell in love with Alex, whose path on some emotional level mirrored that of the tragedies of Javier’s. From childhood, Alex has known harrowing pain and grief. Finding a place to belong. Finding an accepting family. Finding love in a world full of chaos, becomes his ultimate wish as it was with Javier. This is what bonded the two men, their backgrounds broke us and the consequential experiences and survival in life had such an impact. Javier and Alex are flawed characters, yet believably so. Whereas on the other side of the coin Valerie came across as a tower of strength, a beacon in life with a dash of human judgement running through the veins. Mistakes are made, as is life. We felt she was very much what held the story together rather than being an emotional focal point.

“I know it’s dark. I know you hate the dark. Believe the light is there. Believe it’s going to come back on. As long as you believe, I’m not afraid of this.”

We saw, felt, tasted and experienced every single moment to its full potential. Which is why, perhaps, we felt at times towards the end that some drama was added where it didn’t need to, rather something would’ve been the most epically beautiful union which ties up the love of three souls, a full circle if you will.  This story felt devastatingly honest at times, to the point of frustration and heart-break, where perhaps scorn became synonymous with sympathy and love became the vicious strike.  Suanne Laqueur left us breathless and in awe. This book is not just words on a page. It is an epic experience. It’s so much more than a love story. It’s everything.

“It’s not the Larks that kill you. It’s the exaltation.”


TBB ALSO RECOMMENDS

THE FISH TALES SERIES – A TBB 5 Star Series
(Please Note: The synopsis for Books #2 and #3 contain spoilers for Book #1)

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the man i love

THE MAN I LOVE BOOK ONE

‘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…’

SYNOPSIS
“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.

Available to purchase below:

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give me your answer

GIVE ME YOUR ANSWER TRUE BOOK TWO

“I can’t breathe without you.”

SYNOPSIS
“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.

Available to purchase below:

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here to stay

HERE TO STAY BOOK THREE

“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. “

SYNOPSIS
“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.

Available to purchase below:

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