by Suanne Laqueur
Published November 22nd 2016 by Cathedral Rock Press
“We’re so alike, you and I. It’s no wonder we kept finding each other.”
This is one of the best books I have read in 2017 and I cannot believe it was just sitting there on my kindle, unread since November. WOW! I love unconventional stories. Twisted, taboo, not-for-everyone stories are my kind of stories and this one was awesome. I have been seeing people talking about Suanne Laqueur’s work for years now and I get the hype now. I’ve never read The Fish Tale series and I might have to now just to have more of her writing. She made me enjoy verbosity just as much as I enjoy it in Mariana Zapata’s work.
This is not your everyday romance story, there’s so much more to it than that. Check out the blurb:
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 was not planning on reading it when I picked it up. I was doing that thing you do when you have a book hangover, read the first chapter of every book in your TBR list until you find one that draws you in. I had gone through about six books when I got to this one and most of them I had not even managed to read more than a few pages, not even a chapter. But this one drew me in with a couple of sentences. I just could not put it down except for when I had to because I was crying too much. She is such a talented writer with an amazing way with words. If you happen to read it, you’ll see what I am saying. She describes everyday ordinary things in such a poetic way. Poetic? Is that the word I’m looking for? But it’s the kind of book you finish and find you have highlighted a lot of the parts. She’s got words. She’s got beautiful words. (Trump voice right there).
“You’re rake thin with obese emotions.”
The book was well researched. It was one of those books with historical facts in it which I always find refreshing. It makes you learn things you never expected to learn at any point in your life. Who would have thought I would dig deeper into the Chilean dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet from reading a romance novel? I would have finished this book in one go if I hadn’t stopped to find out more about it all. That’s one of the reasons I love reading, you get knowledge expansion on matters you wouldn’t bother looking for.
The story revolves around several characters over a long period of time. It’s a story of survival, healing and love. It’s about finding family where you have no blood relations and thriving in a world when many things have failed you. Alex and Val meet when they are children. Alex, the Chilean immigrant, and Val the confident girl from the neighborhood see each other grow up even when they know they have feelings for each other which they ignore. They remain friends into their adult years.
Jav has nobody in his life when he meets Val and Alex. His family let him down in the worst possible way and he has had to raise himself in order to survive. And even when he is older and having had to support himself, he still seems lost. He is on a journey of self-discovery that was just heartbreaking. There were a lot of times his life choices in any other book would have made me cringe but my heart hurt for him the whole time. All through the book I kept thinking about one of my favorite quotes:
“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”
Which brings me to my favorites from the book:
“What I want is nothing I am.”
“Wanting isn’t having. Wanting isn’t doing. Wanting isn’t making come to fruition. Everyone wants. I want. It’s the human condition.”
Jav, Alex and Val have another chance encounter that brings them back together. That connection that was there years ago is still present among the friends. Some were closer to each other than others and they find that in spite of that, their friendship is greater now they all feel like family. I feel like if I mention more I will be giving away too much. But throughout the book I just wanted to hold Jav, hug him and never let go. And Alex too. Alejo felt like those guys you have around who are ever trying to find the positive side of things even when the world is full of shit. Val was too strong, I don’t even know how she did it all.
“I want to be your home.” His lips ran soft across her brow. “I want to wake up every morning and listen to your heart. I want to be the last man you slept with. When you say it’s been a long time since you made love, I want that time to be a matter of hours. Because I loved you last night. And I’m going to love you again tonight.”
There was a part of the book that had me in tears I put down my iPad and walked away from it and started shouting stop it at it. LOL! Seriously, that’s how emotional it was I started yelling at an iPad to stop making me cry like an idiot.
“I will do this and you will give me…Nothing. This does not come at a price.”
That last twist pissed me off a lot. I didn’t like it at all, not necessary but then at the end of it all it was necessary. Should you go by what the society tells you? What seems right to them at the moment is what is right? What seems wrong is just wrong? Remember, there was a time the same society thought interracial relationships were a crime. So, can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?
“Life lived for such moments. It fucking loved to find you relaxed and blissful and hit you like a car bomb disguised as a phone call.”