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Review…The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

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Winner of the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award, Suanne Laqueur’s astonishing debut novel follows a young man’s emotional journey to salvage relationships destroyed in the wake of a school shooting.

Synopsis:

As a college freshman, Erik Fiskare is drawn to the world of theater but prefers backstage to center stage. The moment he lays eyes on a beautiful, accomplished dancer named Daisy Bianco, his atoms rearrange themselves and he is drawn into a romance both youthfully passionate and maturely soulful. Their love story thrives within a tight-knit circle of friends, all bound by creativity and artistry. A newcomer arrives–a brilliant but erratic dancer with an unquenchable thirst for connection. And when this disturbed friend brings a gun into the theater, the story is forever changed. Daisy is shot and left seriously injured. And Erik finds himself alone in the aisle, looking down the muzzle of a pistol and trying to stop the madness. He succeeds, but with tremendous repercussions to his well-being and that of his loved ones.

Traumatized by the experience, the lovers spiral into depression and drug use until a shocking act of betrayal destroys their relationship. To survive, Erik must leave school and disconnect from all he loves. He buries his heartbreak and puts the past behind. Or so he believes.

As he moves into adulthood, Erik comes to grips with his role in the shooting, and slowly heals the most wounded parts of his soul. But the unresolved grief for Daisy continues to shape his dreams at night. Once those dreams were haunted by blood and gunfire. Now they are haunted by the refrain of a Gershwin song and a single question: is leaving always the end of loving?

Spanning 15 years, The Man I Love explores themes of love and sexuality, trauma—physical and mental—and its long-lasting effects, the burden of unfinished business and the power of reconciliation. Through Erik’s experience we reflect on what it means to be a man, a son and a leader. A soul mate, a partner and a lover. What it means to live the truth of who you are and what you feel. What it means to fight for what you love.

 

My review:

The Man I Love is the debut work from author Suanne Laqueur and let me say, what an amazing debut it is. Packed with raw emotion, beauty, horrors, and so many ups and downs, I was riveted and glued to each page.
Ok, so the synopsis is pretty much self-explanatory so I will skip to telling you all why this book was just so amazing.

The relationships that author Laqueur builds between these characters was done thoughtfully and lovingly. They are friendships and first time loves that we all have been through. It was wonderful to read these talented and artistic young group’s journey into becoming quite a close-knit group. I loved the individual personals that add so much to the group as a whole. They banter, their conversations, their work at artists. It was refreshing and exciting and just so different from what I’ve been reading these days. And then it’s all shattered. When I got to the pivotal moment in this book, I was reading wide-eyed and with sweaty palms. I was nervous and nauseated and so sick with worry. To me, that’s the sign of a great story. I felt all of the emotions the characters felt. Then things got better…only to get awful again. I went through such a range of emotions while reading this story and I loved every gut wrenching moment.

I felt for every one of these characters. They all have their ways of dealing with the trauma they endured one fateful day and good, bad, or indifferent, it shaped who they end up being as adults.

Of course, I felt most for Erik and Daisy. So much so. They find love, experience so many wonderful first time things together, grow together as couple and then it’s all ripped away. But I understood it all. I understood how dealing with a life altering event at such a still fresh-faced age would be difficult to deal with alone, yet alone together. Of course just because I understood it didn’t make it less painful to read.

Now, I won’t ruin anything as far as the ending but I will say that I was pleased with where we left off and I am certainly looking forward to see what is next!

Thank you, Ms. Laqueur, for one hell of an emotional story.

4LovesRLBFour Loves

 

Book links:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 

About the author:

Suanne 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 www.eatsreadsthinks in 2010, and now writes at www.suannelaqueur.com. Suanne lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children. The Man I Love is her first novel, to be followed by Give Me Your Answer True in June 2015.

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