Review: An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur
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. Each was shaped by a 9/11, 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.
Wow, what a book! This is my first book by Ms. Laqueur and it won’t be my last.
While reading this book I felt I like experienced growing up with these characters. The book spans several decades starting when the main characters are children and continuing until they are midlife adults. Their lives and the journey they are on is messy and at times very complicated which leads to the realism of the book.
I once heard if you reevaluate your life every 5 years you’ll notice the friends you were closest to will change. The things that interested you will evolve. I do that every so often – I reflect back on who I was friends with and what I was interested in years ago. When I do that with this storyline I can see how friendships and passions evolve and their interest change. It’s like watching the puzzle pieces of their lives intertwine and then begin unraveling.
Larks are a songbird and a group of larks is called an exaltation. Exaltation is that extreme feeling of joy and happiness. While nothing is easy in life the joy and happiness you can find within the depths of friendship and family are one to cherish and something these characters strive for.
AN EXALTATION OF LARKS is the first book in Venery series. It can be read as a standalone. It’s a beautifully written story that will have you thinking about things beyond yourself. At times I was angry at the characters and at other times I just wanted to hug them and say, “Everything is going to be alright.” The interweaving of the two storylines into one was done remarkably. For those who love stories that leave you thinking about them long after you close the book, you’ll want to read this one.
•To see more reviews by Amy click here•