*A forever grateful thank you to NetGalley and “Cathedral Rock Press” for providing a free ARC*
”They shared breath, poised on a shared edge, shaking all their separate pieces into one.”
Do you know the kind of book that swallows you whole? That makes you want to pick it up even though it’s in the middle of the night and you just closed it. The sort of story that takes over your mind, body and soul? The kind that makes you restless and achy with the need to continue? This special sort of book that touches you on such a profound and fundamental level your heart quite literally bursts from hurting, but, boy it hurts so good?!
“An Exaltation of Larks” was everything of the above and so, so, so much more! I had no idea what I was getting myself into until it was already too late. Until I found myself so deeply immersed in this story that it seemed to be impossible to get away from its words. They followed me around, taunted me, teased me, wanted to be read with such a relentless fervour that I couldn’t even think about uttering the word “no”.
”All his movements were clumsy and reluctant. His fingers balked at tying his sneakers. Turned locks the wrong way while opening the door. He stumbled going down the hall and the elevator door banged him on the elbow as it was closing.
He didn’t want to go.”
That’s exactly how this book made me feel and even after finishing it two weeks ago it still didn’t let me go. This story swept me off my feet, dug its claws into my skin and sang me to sleep. And to be entirely honest, this effect is still going on. By now I think “An Exaltation of Larks” was written to bury itself in my soul so that I would never feel alone again. And if that is truly the case, then all I can say is that it can have every inch of my heart it conquered.
”Many people like being alone, but nobody likes to be lonely.”
There are so many things I loved about this book, so many in fact that I don’t even know where to start. I adored Val and Alex, I worshipped Jav, whose character was so similar to mine that it sometimes felt like torture to read on. I connected with him on such a basic level that it killed me to accompany him on his difficult journey. But just like him I longed for more and no matter how much I got, I just couldn’t get enough. Of the strong friendships in this book, of the relationships between the characters, of the family they became. I swear the relationships in this book were everything!!! Just everything!! The humour, the banter, I loved how they joked, how comfortable they were around each other, how effortlessly those two families merged into one.
”Te lo agradezco mucho,” Alex said.
“You don’t have to thank me.”
“No sé cómo agradecértelo.”
“Stop.” Jav kissed his head. “You guys are my family. I’d do anything.”
He kissed Val’s head. Then six arms wove and wrapped and they held each other tight.
There are three people that found each other because they were meant to, because destiny had chosen them before they even knew it themselves and they love each other so deeply, so madly, so unconditionally that it broke my heart. The way Suanne let them deal with their troubles, how they acted around each other, how they were angry and mad but still so very much in love. How they fought for their love, how they realized that they had to accept their feelings with all their consequences, weaknesses and flaws. It just blew me away!! Suanne can write! And it’s so convincing, so realistic that it killed me. The chemistry of those characters, the cozy atmosphere, the strong feeling of belonging, of kinship and above all else the affection and love that connects them all.
”It’s not the Larks that kill you. It’s the exaltation.”
I swear at times I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I felt so fragile you could have shattered me with a soft breeze. Val’s and Alex’s marriage was so wonderful, yet I also loved the idea of Alex and Jav. To be entirely honest, the mere thought of all of them together kind of blew my mind and I suppose in some way or another those three actually kind of were in some sort of relationship. They were so connected, it was hard to even imagine them not being involved with each other and their children Ari and Deane only seemed to add to that intense sensation of all-encompassing love.
”I want you to be all right. I wanted that long before all this other stuff showed up. I wanted you to stay in Guelisten, I wanted my home to be your home. A place where you feel good. A place you can come as yourself and bring along your happiness and your pain. I wanted you around since the beginning.”
Of course none of those characters had it easy, because as we all know life may be described with an abundance of words but “easy” is certainly none of them. This said there are quite a lot of serious topics that are tackled by Suanne and they were woven so gently into the rug of this story that you don’t know where the seam begins or ends. They are as much a part of the book as they are a part of the characters and I’m still in awe of the author’s ability to let those stories speak for themselves. “The Disappeared” of Chile, 9/11 and its effects, the way our family and our personal history shapes us. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried throughout the entire chapter that dealt with 9/11 and that the only thing that made it better was to remind myself of the things that are good in this world. Namely, a short peek at my kid while she was fast asleep in her bed. This chapter wrecked me, big time, as did so many other moments in this book… ¡Vale! I just had to take a deep breath because my emotions are still all over the place and I’m pretty certain this will never change.
”It caught Jav under the ribs and his teeth trembled together. He felt the ground tilt beneath his feet. His heart flailed, making desperate minute adjustments, frantically trying to find center. Find his way home, even as home insisted it was here. Right here in this house. With Alex.”
So this was my rather futile attempt to convey how much this book means to me and I can’t help but feel like I failed miserably. There is no way to put all of those emotions into words and if I’d live a million years I still wouldn’t be able to describe this painful contentment that I feel. “Therapy Fiction”, “Contemporary Train Wreck”, “Emotionally Intelligent Romance” those are all terms that are used to describe Suanne’s books. Well, I guess I have a new one for you: “Heart-breaking Realism”.
Make of that what you want, but I can guarantee you one thing: If you read this, you will never be the same again. All the paws! All the paws, por siempre jamás! ❤