Friday, February 3, 2017

Amie's Review of An Exaltation Of Larks by Suanne Laqueur

"We're so alike, you and I. It's no wonder we kept finding each other."

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.


I don't even know where to begin with this book - that seems to be my go to phrase for everything this author writes !! 5 stars doesn't do it justice and honestly just the fact that I can read a 500 page book , put it down and pick it back up in between parts says a lot for the writing.  4 parts filled with many lives entangled with each other yet they all have their struggles to work through. After I finished each part of the story I would write some notes , highlights or things I thought I might want to include in my review and now I sit here baffled with what to say and how to do any justice to the beauty of this story. I am throwing it all out the window now but just know that anything written by Suanne is worth the read , and when you do read it , read it slowly and carefully and really take in the stories and details. I am not sure how she keeps it all together but it is amazing how so many things end up lining up and connecting. 

The story starts with Alex in 1973 and the first couple parts carry us through until Alex is in his 40's. We get the heartbreaking story of his childhood , the day the doorbell rang and the sadness he felt when he had to leave what he knew to go to America. Luckily for him there was someone nice to look out for him and when he ended up with the Larks in New York they took him in and treated him like family. Meeting Val would change his life in so many ways BUT it took years of back and forth to get there. The Larks were a great family and sadly for them they suffered some tragedy , thankfully the 3 siblings and Alex had each other. We also meet Jav in the late 70's and he also has a story to tell. His family was not as loving and the things he was discovering about himself led to shame and guilt and banishment from his family. When he met Gloria we can see how he becomes what he does and his stories then are erotic and fun. Of course a big piece of this is the way that Jav , Alex and Val's lives all intertwine. When they meet in their 20's it may be Alex that Jav gives his card to but to his surprise it is Val who calls !! By the end of part 2 they have survived 9-11 and all seem to be on their way to better things. Alex and Val together and Jav still finding his way. By part three in 2006 Jav is thrown a curveball that gives him some info on his family that he wondered about yet also sets him up to be thrown back into the lives of Val and Alex.  As we meet Ari and Deane it becomes clear that regardless of past issues or reasoning these families will forever be imprinted on each other. I loved the banter of Alex and Jav, the true love and devotion Val and Alex shared and of course the way the kids were treated and loved. It was touching at times and funny at others. Some struggles from the past never really went away and although Val was always there for Alex he and Jav shared so many similarities that they had a special bond that was just as amazing. This was when I really wanted an unconventional family to form with Val, Alex and Jav !! Maybe a touchy subject and not as easy as it seemed but the connections and chemistry was overwhelming at times. By part four the friendly friendship between the 3 turned a bit chaotic and when secrets came out it seemed the perfect world they had built for me was over. Part four was very emotional to read because after all these years there was still many lingering questions and hurt. Regardless it is an amazing story of how these 3 came to be who they are and how they grew and learned to deal with the struggles and heartache of their pasts. There were obviously many more characters than the 3 but for me the story of Alex, Val and Jav just took over everything !! I know it is a stand alone but there are a lot of interesting characters and possible stories to be told !!

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