Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Book Review: "A Charm of Finches" by Suanne Laqueur

Tell me about it. I think I just pulled myself together emotionally, and I finished this book last night!!

Two weeks ago, I read Suanne Laqueur's An Exaltation of Larks (see my review), and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. Amazingly, people told me that as good as this book was, I needed to read Laqueur's follow-up, A Charm of Finches, because it was even better. Some even called it the best book they've read so far this year.

Honestly, that sounds about right. I am loath to compare books, but I can honestly say that A Charm of Finches reminds me a bit of Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life (an easy pick to be the best book I've read this decade), although it didn't leave me a total emotional wreck. This book is a little more brutal than its predecessor, but it's also a little bit more hopeful, and it illustrates life's beautiful and painful moments so expertly.

"I think love is a big wisdom made up of small understandings."

Javier Landes has never believed himself worthy of love. That's why he was an escort for so long—it was so much easier to keep people at arm's length than allow them to see how vulnerable he truly is. After his first two attempts at love went horribly awry, he's not sure what he wants—until he meets Steffen Finch. They're clearly attracted to one another and enjoy each other's company, but as their relationship intensifies, they both pray they've found the one, although they can't believe how easy it all seems.

"From any direction, any angle, Stef rested on Jav's eyes the way a classic rock song always sounded good to your ears, even for the eight millionth time. You knew the words, you sang without thought, you air guitared or drummed on some available surface. Because you couldn't not. Your ears heard and your soul obeyed. Jav looked at Stef and goddammit, his soul started singing."

An art therapist working with male victims of sexual assault, Stef is excellent at his job, but he's always sought a connection, both physical and emotional, to help bring him back from the brink where his clients' problems take him. The more time they spend together, Stef realizes that Jav provides those connections for him—he just hopes that the anxieties of Jav's past don't keep him from falling as deeply as he wants to.

Stef's newest client is Geno Caan, a young college student whose brutal sexual assault left him psychologically shattered, physically broken, and more alone than he could ever imagine. The things Geno saw and experienced make it unbelievably hard to trust anyone, yet little by little he lets down his guard to let Stef in. But the more Geno becomes attached to Stef, the lines between professional and personal get blurred, and threaten both Stef's relationship with Jav and Geno's recovery.

There is so much more to A Charm of Finches than I've described. It's a beautiful story of finding love and self-worth, of realizing it's okay to depend on others, and of how redemptive that love can be. It's also a story of courage in the most desperate of situations, how our strength somehow allows us not to fully break and keeps us from losing the very best of us, even if it's buried deep under our scars.

This is a gorgeous, sensitive, sexy, emotional book, full of moments that made me smile, made me blush, horrified me, and made me full-on ugly cry at times (on a plane, no less). Laqueur's ability to pull you into her books so completely, to feel such attachment to her characters that you can't stop thinking about them when you're finished reading, is absolutely dazzling.

Suanne, now that you've hooked me, please say there's another book coming in this series. Don't leave me without Jav and Stef, not to mention Alex and Val, Roger, Stav, Trelawney, Ari, and Deane—how's a person supposed to cope?

Read these books. You've simply got to.

The author provided me a copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

1 comment:

  1. I see you followed my advice an Goodreads Larry! Can I say how happy I am and how your review is just wonderful and so true? Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"