Title: An Exaltation of Larks
Author: Suanne Laqueur
Genre: Emotionally Intelligent Romance
Release Date: November 22, 2016
The paths of a married couple and a male escort cross in Suanne Laqueur’s new novel about the price of love.
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 9/11s, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.
Across three decades and two continents, An Exaltation of Larks 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 by Suanne Laqueur may be one of the best novels I’ve read. It covers the full gamut of emotions you hope to have when immersing yourself in a novel. It awoke something in me that I haven’t felt from a book in quite some time. It dug in deep and cut me wide open, but along with all the heartbreak and tears there was so much love and joy.
I love when literary fiction incorporates historical events into the story. I studied Pinochet’s coup in undergrad and have been haunted by the stories of Los Desaparecidos for years. It’s something I couldn’t even begin to fathom yet Laqueur paints such a vivid picture of Alex’s loss and yearning that I was already sobbing by 7%. Tie that in with the tragic events of our 9/11 and it was almost too much to bear.
“Where are you? What did they do to you? What became of you? Why am I alive and you are disappeared?”
This novel is a sweeping epic that follows the characters over the decades and the way their lives spiral together is equal parts exhilarating and devastating. I wanted to crawl into the book and become part of the Lark tribe. I wanted to sooth them and comfort them and love them and sit at their table for holiday meals, secure in the knowledge I was with people who love fiercely and would go to the ends of the earth to save each other.
“I want to be your home.”
I am in awe of the author’s ability to make me empathize with each and every character regardless of their actions. There are really intense subjects covered in this novel. Everything from loss to sexual orientation to sexual awakening to monogamy to intense love. Laqueur’s writing is some of the best I’ve seen. The dialogue and internal thoughts completely blew me away.
“I imprinted like a little bird.”
I started pulling these quotes to include in my review and now I’m sobbing again in the middle of a Starbucks. Seriously. This book is just the best thing ever. Please read it. Let yourself get lost in this world with these amazingly perfectly flawed and wondrous characters. I’ll be here to hold your hand after the fall.
“It’s not the Larks that kill you. It’s the exaltation.”
About the Author
A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur has gone from choreographing music to choreographing words. Her goal is to create a new kind of emotionally-intelligent romance that appeals to the passions of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre.
Laqueur’s debut novel The Man I Love won a gold medal in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and was named Best Debut in the Feathered Quill Book Awards. Her follow-up novel, Give Me Your Answer True, was also a gold medal winner at the 2016 RFBA.
Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010.
Suanne lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.