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A Charm of Finches (Venery) (Volume 2) Paperback – November 1, 2017
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About the Author
Laqueur's novel An Exaltation of Larks was the Grand Prize winner in the 2017 Writer's Digest Awards. Her 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.
Visit her at suannelaqueurwrites.com
Her Facebook page: bit.ly/SLQR_FB
Follow her on Twitter @suannelqr
All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.
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“No,” Jav said. “Why?”
“You’re sighing a lot.”
Stef turned sideways and put his feet on an empty chair. He went back to reading. Jav went on looking at him, finding tiny vulnerabilities juxtaposed against the big, solid frame of Stef’s body. Broad in his chest and shoulders, secure in his brazenly inked skin. Yet the fingers curled around his coffee mug were soft, fidgeting a little. Beneath the harsh, stern frames of his glasses, he was biting on a corner of his lower lip.
Unlike the Compass, Jav thought, the Finch’s mind went down fifteen flights of stairs into a warren of secret rooms and passageways..
I swear to God, I picked this at random, and what do we have? A small moment. Two men sitting at a table having breakfast which becomes a perfectly rendered description of one character's masculinity cracked to reveal his human insecurities, as keenly observed by another character who is clearly a writer, who creates little vignettes in his mind; casting the people in his life as characters in some future work.
The entire book is like this, sucking you in with incredible prose in these little moments, so that it's impossible not to dive headlong into their world. Other reviewers have said this, and I agree, that you don't just read a book from Suanne, you experience it. You become a part of its weave, and you bleed and cry and laugh and hurt with the characters as if you were right there. Even if one isn't a fan of the certain plot points, or dislikes a character, I don't think one can deny the craft at work here. NO ONE WRITES LIKE THIS and after careful consideration, I'd say her genre (which is NOT ROMANCE btw) is Therapy Fiction.
Like Give Me Your Answer True which is still my favorite, Finches is about healing. It's the journey of one broken boy, Geno, who experienced something so horrifying, it defies the imagination. Except it doesn't, here. Without being overtly graphic, Suanne paints Geno's ordeal with broad, yet harsh colors and shadows, whispers and stray hands, not black and white words that the readers would flinch from. Instead, we sense what happened to him, and once that happens, he becomes ours to keep; to stay with him and see him through this.
And the characters that see him through this are Javier, the writer from An Exaltation of Larks and Steffon Finch, an art therapist. Much has been made of Jav--he's a reader favorite from Larks, and with good reason. I wanted so badly for him to find his place in the world and to find the love he'd been seeking. That journey, taken with Stef, if beautiful to watch in its subtle build of connections, little by little, into a strong fortress of everlasting love and belonging.
But it's Stef to whom, for me, this book belongs. He's the hero, the knight in shining armor who rescues Jav from his uncertainty and loneliness, and who literally saves Geno. He is Geno's art therapist, and it is THAT story that I felt encompasses the crux of Suanne's work. Therapy through fiction. Daisy goes through it in Give Me Your Answer True and Geno goes through it with Stef here. And in both instances, WE go through it.
In Finches, we are torn apart by what happened to Geno and put back together with him as Stef fights to help him rediscover his broken identity. By the end, WE feel somehow more whole than we were before, our empathies squeezed dry on a micro level with Geno, and even a broader level with the atrocities of the Holocaust as presented by a survivor in Stef's circle whom Geno meets. Broadly and intimately, we come face to face with what humanity is, what it means when tragedies befall one of our fellow humans--or many millions of our fellow humans--and how the battles we each carry within us, are as broad and wide and dark sometimes as an entire night sky.
No one writes like this. Right now Suanne Laqueur is a bright star in a constellation. But someday, hopefully soon, some agent or publisher or producer, is going to snatch her up and skyrocket her to another stratosphere, and I'm just glad I'll be here to see it happen.
This is probably the most difficult review I’ve ever written. How do you proclaim love for something so heart-wrenching? When one of the characters goes through an ordeal beyond your most horrid imagination? When the story is about loneliness and despair? It feels sacrosanct to shout that this book is amazing and everyone should read it.
But really, everyone should.
A Charm of Finches delves deep into the tough subject of male rape survivors and connecting with others on a human level. This book will shred your heart and stitch it back together piece by delicate piece. The theme of loneliness and surviving—but not really living—is prevalent in all three main characters. It’s jam-packed with emotion, and the characters will stick with you long after you’ve finished their story.
We first met Javier Landes in book 1 of the Venery series, An Exaltation of Larks. If you haven’t read Larks, I highly recommend it, though it’s not strictly necessary before reading Finches. Jav has finally decided to give love a chance, and love comes in the shape of a therapist named Steffen Finch. Stef hasn’t given much thought to a relationship with a man, but the attraction between the two men is undeniable. While Jav and Stef are getting to know each other, a young man named Geno Caan is spiraling down toward rock bottom.
Geno’s life was picture perfect until he became a victim of a horrendous crime. He’s trying to survive, but the world looks like a completely different place now. It’s bad enough he lost those closest to him. Then he realizes the world doesn’t even believe his story. How can he have a life when he’s so alone?
Landing in art therapy sessions with Stef, Geno slowly begins to trust again. He forms a friendship with Jav and begins to get his life back on track, but the journey is long and full of landmines waiting silently to explode.
Ms. Laqueur has a way of reaching deep into your soul and rearranging everything you thought you knew on an elemental level. Her words are powerful and moving, and she has done justice to a subject that rarely gets spoken about. She writes therapy sessions as if she were a fly on the wall, and the pain of sexual assault is vivid even when not described in horrid detail. I felt everything her characters felt—every high and low, every heartbreak and every triumph—thanks to the imagery that put me right in the scene with them.
This is my top book for 2017, and though the subject matter isn’t pretty, everyone should read this epic tale of survival.
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