♥ 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.
♥ My Thoughts ♥
ARC’s kindly given by the author via NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
OK third attempt at writing this review. I had the same problem with The Butterfly Project by Emma Scott and that’s no wonder as she is Suanne Laqueur’s buddy!
I’ve loved this book so much and I don’t know how to express all the feelings it made me experience. So here I go with my heart and my guts, sorry if this is messy.
First I went in this book totally blind. I had barely read the blurb. I had finished The Man I Love some weeks ago and I was smitten with Mrs Laqueur’s writing. So the story took me totally by surprise but it made me fall deeper in love with her penmanship.
√ I never expected a story building upon decades, following different characters whose paths kept crossing each other.
√ I did not expect a story so smartly written everything would come together at the end and make unexpected and dramatic sense.
√ I did not expect a story that would make me wish some taboos did not exist because it just was so beautiful it had to be right.
√ I did not expect a story that would leave me exhausted, fulfilled and yet empty at the same time because I wanted something else for Jav and yet I would not have loved the other option. But Alex was right, Javier deserved more.
√ I did not expect a story that would made me hurt so bad with some of the characters that I wanted to jump right through my Kindle and be their light in the night, their safe haven, their security blanket, their home.
In this story the women are the strong ones. Valerie is a strong woman and I never cried on her fate even when she’s been betrayed. But I cried buckets, rivers even on these beautiful and broken men. Alex and Javier are big men pure masculine perfection but they were wounded by their past. Strong in their bodies , bleeding in their souls. Their experiences and lives have a similar edge and they keep colliding with each other time and again.
So many scenes had me morphing into a blubbering mess. The first scene when little Alejandro showed compassion on his street, beneath his windows but at what price? Later on when Jav was helping his friend on 9/11 showing immense strength but crumbling inside. How he coped the months after.
I loved Alex and Val but Jav really broke my heart. I just wanted to embrace him and soothe his soul. He had so much hope just to be squashed in the bud. How many slaps and hard knocks can a man endure before losing himself and crumbling under life’s unfairness? He was my favorite.
I thought he was a disturbance in the beginning. I wanted to follow only Val and Alex’s story but he soon hijacked my heart. I think Mrs Laqueur you’ve been really hard on him and you tore my heart off so many times! I swear if you send me Jav under bubble wrap I’ll take good care of his poor soul and neglected heart.
Suanne Laqueur penmanship is extraordinary. She gives all these little details (the shape of a button, the color of Val’s creations, the smells and tastes…) helping the reader to really SEE the story. She made me live inside her characters head. I was their friend, their lover and I HURT with them.
She is able to give all the nuances and intricacies of human relationships. She proves nothing is black or white, even topics you’re certain are wrong or taboo. She is shaking your beliefs, moving you out of your comfort zone not with brute force but with feather touches here and there. Who would have guessed I would have rooted for a male escort. Found his profession perfectly “honorable”? Would have been nearly ready to support this attraction? Me the “straight laced” girl?
I also loved how she lightened the mood sharing the love and support of the Larks family with me. Be it with buoyant Roger, eccentric Trelawney or my favorite when she explained how to deal with a moody teenage girl. Now just for all mothers of teenagers, just enjoy this one because this is SO TRUE:
” Eighth grade to sophomore year, Alex often referred to Deane as “the exchange student.” For a time, they literally didn’t speak her name. She. Her. It. The spawn. Val’s head ached from perpetually butting against the alien living in her house. Riding out the unpredictable mood swings. Running interference on the senseless drama. Val couldn’t say good morning without rolling eyes or an exasperated sigh in return. A simple request for household chores was treated as an order to cut one’s arm off and eat it. Nothing was simple. Everything turned into a negotiation with life-or-death terms. Val read once that teen.”
Oh and a very wise parting quote I enjoyed being a mother myself: “Parenting,” she said under her breath. “It ain’t for sissies.”
Now would I recommend this book? A thousand times!