Our Review

‘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.”

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.

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