Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Suanne Laqueur - The Man I Love (The Fish Tales #1)

*Contains adult themes
**Review by Stacey

One look brought them together. One bullet tore them apart.
Winner of the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award for romance, Suanne Laqueur's astonishing debut novel follows a young man's emotional journey to salvage relationships destroyed in the wake of a school shooting.
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, Erik and Daisy 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 fifteen 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.

In The Man I Love we meet Erik who after a few years of tinkering behind the scenes at school productions, lands a place at a top fine arts university. Here he meets Daisy and though another student (David) has fought for her affections, Erik & Daisy slowly fall in love and eventually begin a serious relationship.

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"Caught up in her savage and greedy grip, he kissed her, crushed her down into the bed even as the joy in him spiraled up through the roof and burst into the sky."
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Lucky is Daisy's best friend and room-mate and her affections are with Will - who over the years becomes best friends and roomies with Erik. There are so many other people within the storyline but they all blend together seamlessly within the story and so are easy to remember who is who. In Erik's junior year another student arrives at Lancaster - James.

The students of Lancaster university are in the throes of rehearsing for the spring performance when disaster strikes. James has fallen for one of the group and after a brief fling they shut him off. After having a breakdown and disappearing for 10 days, he returns to school with a gun and this is where everyone's life starts falling apart. I did see this coming but it didn't take away from the story at all as it is so well written and captivating.

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"They knelt around the altar of the coffee table. Will patted David's head, and David smiled like a well-praised puppy. He was the high priest now: King David, singer of songs, bearer of gifts and bringer of comfort."
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From here on in we see their futures with and without each other, but it's not at all rushed. I didn't feel like there was anything missing as Suanne touches upon everything brilliantly at one point or another. I like how their are sections for each character as it helped put their story into perspective. The whole story of The Man I Love touches upon many themes; education, sex, drugs, mental illness, but above all it is a brilliant story of growth & development - individually and within relationships in many forms; personal, sexual, family, friendship.

I can't say much more about this book without giving lots away but what I can say is that it really tugged at my emotions. As a subject which we hear about in the news and find incredibly shocking but really have no idea about, reading this book really threw me into sympathising what the characters went through and how one person can shape the rest of your life, and Suanne is a brilliant writer really drawing you in to the story. The way she writes about everything never falters, it is so strong and passionate. A definite 5/5 stars and the gain of a place in my top ten books for this year.

You can keep up with Suanne and news about her books on her websiteFacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Get your copy of The Man I Love here (UK) or here (US). Add to your Goodreads TBR here.

Disclosure
I was sent a copy of this book to review. All thoughts & opinions are honest & my own.

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