A single, drunken misunderstanding is all it took for Javier Landes to be thrown out of his home at the age of seventeen. His keen survival instincts and power of imagination guide him to a career as one of Manhattan’s top-paid escorts. Shrewd and street-smart, Jav has no interest or faith in love, and familial loyalty is a thing of the past until he is named guardian for an unknown nephew in an upstate town. Reunited with his late sister’s son, Jav is not only forced to confront the long-buried pain of his childhood, but he comes face-to-face with a fascinating couple he’s met before: Alex Penda and Valerie Lark.
Val and Alex evolved from childhood friends to casual lovers and finally to husband and wife. Along the way, each crossed secret paths with Javier Landes, walking away slightly changed. Now in their forties, their marriage is fiercely passionate and unshakeably devoted. But when Jav reappears in their town, a rekindled attraction causes an unexpected reaction, and nothing in their shared life can be the same.
Winner of the Grand Prize in the 2017 Writer’s Digest Awards, An Exaltation of Larks will take you across fifteen years and two continents, exploring both the business of sex and the price of love.
A real story
This is real writing. Thoughtfully crafted sentences leading to paragraphs where all of them are necessary. It’s engaging and I connected with every character. Just flawless writing. And I cried.
ALL THE STARS!!!
“My heart beats with yours. Wake up to hear my heart one day. This day. Every day."
All the stars for 'An Exaltation of Larks'!! My words cannot do justice to this epic story. A richly woven tale of love, family, marriage, sex, loyalty and friendship. Not to be missed!
At its core, this book is the story of three intertwined lives: Javier, Alex and Val. The author paints an incredibly detailed portrait of their lives, following them through their childhoods and later on into adulthood, complete with families, relationships, broken hearts and very rich, full lives.
Alex comes to live with the Lark family as a child, orphaned by the terrible war in Chile. He is taken into this big, beautiful family. His childhood memories never, ever fade and continue to haunt him the rest of his life.
“As images of Chile faded and curled at the edges, the photo album in Alex’s heart began to fill with new family snapshots, all with his sleek, dark physique set like a black iris in the Lark bouquet of daffodils."
Constantly fighting and arguing as children, Alex and Valerie Lark later fall madly and passionately in love. Their love is a tight bond that cannot be broken and they are each other's soulmates.
“Seeing her was a key turned in a rusty lock and now all his gears were churning. She’d been the missing link around here. Hers was the action he craved, the fight his nails wanted to dig into. He couldn’t wait to talk and tell stories, to laugh and tease, to bash the bathroom door down and push every button. Val was home, and it was on, baby."
Parallel to their story is Javier's, whose teen years are painful and terrible and traumatic. But he carves a life for himself as a young man, a lonely and loveless one until his path crosses with Alex and Val's. Their lives become intertwined in many different ways. Their experiences are skillfully woven together by the author through many years and many life-changing events. Every page, every word in this story is meaningful, perfect and beautiful.
This gorgeous story proves how fluid and unpredictable and messy love can be. The bonds of friendship, family and marriage are tested. When Javier's path crosses again with the Larks decades after they first meet, no one's life will ever be the same.
“The sunlight through the glass intensified and Jav remembered this was a woman who kicked in the bathroom door to get back what was hers. He imagined Alex came to America with a half-dozen barricaded doors in his heart, and Val either bashed them down, took them off the hinges or picked the locks open. She’d let nothing come between her and her man."
I think I highlighted this entire book. Suanne Laqueur's words haunted me and I can't stop thinking about this book. I think Javier might be one of the most heartbreaking characters I have ever encountered. He has built a fortress around his heart and all I wanted was for him was to love and be loved.
“Let me come in. Let me stay. Let me touch you. I want to come home and talk about it."
I never imagined in a million years that I would love a book as much as 'The Man I Love'. Suanne Laqueur has written another epic story of love, sex, friendship, romance and family that is simply breathtaking. This book spoke to me on so many different levels! It is not to be missed.
“Are you in? Are you breathing this breath? Walking this walk?"
4.5 "Wanting" Stars
An emotional journey through time. A story of what it means to survive and embrace sexuality. A tale of love, family, and the consequences of wanting. I was fully wrapped up in this story. It's words like a cocoon around my battered heart. An Exaltation of Larks was a unique and at times harrowing story about three people and those in their lives and how the ties that bind are sometimes more than meets the eye. This was my first Suanne Laqueur experience and I can say with 100% certainty that it won't be my last.
An Exaltation of Larks follows Alex, Val and Jav on their journeys through three decades. Each faces their own set of trials and tribulations that affect how they live their lives. Alex ran from Chile when a coup forced him to flee for his life leaving his family behind and settling in the US with an uncle and his new neighbors the Larks. Val is a young girl living a normal life when she first meets Alex. Immediately taken with him, she finds herself wanting be his friend. And as life moves on and Alex becomes a part of her family, they fight like siblings but with an added pull that is undeniable even as young children that only grows stronger as they age. Jav was cast out of his Dominican family as a teenager and spent his life trying to survive eventually becoming one of the highest paid escorts in New York. But 9/11 changes Jav as it did Alex and Val. And then just when Jav thinks he has no one left, he finds that he has a teenage nephew who he's just become the sole guardian for.
Over the years coincidence seems strong as Alex, Jav and Val come in and out of each other's lives. Something about their natures is compelling every time and every time the pull just gets stronger. As adults their lives intersect one final time and nothing is the same. Their life stories and experiences are shockingly similar and the connection is undeniable. But "life has rules" and those rules are what these three explore and find startlingly perplexing.
Even though this the first book I've read by Ms. Laqueur, her first series has been on my TBR for a while so I've heard about her and her writing and was so excited to dive into this (I mean that blurb does things to a girl). She has a unique writing style that completely envelops you. It requires that you slow dow and experience it. I can't say that I've read anything like it before and after I got used to it (which honestly took about 20%), I grew to understand just how powerful it was. This is not a story that you can fly through. It really has to be experienced and savored. Yes at times it felt really detailed, but the details were never unnecessary. The build was seemingly slow at times, but that only helped create a setting for this expansive story. I will admit that there were a few times I found myself start to skim through some of the seemingly secondary plot points, but would stop and go back because I knew they were going to be important, and they were. Without all these aspects, I don't know that this story would have been as powerful as Ms. Laqueur was able to make it and it made me more appreciative of her ability to weave a complex and fully involved story that never let me down. And every word pulled me deeper into this story creating a build up to the end was pure magic.
Finally I want to address the characters and their trials and tribulations. The way Suanne weaved this story was impressive. I literally could never guess where the story was going. At one point I had tears in my eyes, then I was laughing out loud and then I was holding my stomach as the bottom seemed to drop out. And while I grew to sympathize with all the characters, I didn't grow to love all their choices or even completely understand them. But that is real life and this was a real story. In the end even when one of the characters still has me a bit at odds with myself and their (what I might call) selfishness, I ended this book with contentment in my heart and a smile on my face.