The Man I Love


Fiction - Realistic
476 Pages
Reviewed on 07/16/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Suanne Laqueur's debut novel The Man I Love won a gold medal in the 2015 Readers' Favorite Book Awards. Its other accolades include the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award, a gold medal at the 2015 eLit Awards, and is a current finalist in the 2015 Kindle Book Awards.

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. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.

With The Man I Love and its companion novel, Give Me Your Answer True, Laqueur has gone from choreographing dancers to choreographing words. Her goal is to create a new kind of emotionally-intelligent romance that appeals to all readers, crossing gender, age and genre. Visit her at www.suannelaqueur.com for more of her writing.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers' Favorite

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur is a beautiful romance that explores love, sexuality, and the blossoming of a new relationship, as well as the trauma and anguish in the wake of a school shooting. College freshman Erik Fiskare is drawn into the world of theater where he helps craft the backdrop for the dancers taking center stage. He's drawn into a romance with Daisy Bianco, a beautiful, accomplished dancer, and their love blossoms. It's something that seems as if it will last a lifetime, but when a fellow dancer and student brings a gun into a theater, their lives are forever changed. With some friends dead and others gravely injured, Daisy and Erik try their best not to let the trauma affect their relationship, but in the end a shocking act of betrayal threatens to tear it apart. As the years pass, Erik must battle the demons that have haunted him since the shooting, and learn that he must tackle them head on instead of avoiding them if he ever hopes for any sort of reconciliation.

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur joins the handful of truly spectacular books I've read this year. The writing is gorgeous, each passage has a sort of rhythm that flows beautifully, drawing you deeper and deeper into Daisy and Erik's story. I loved how, though it was a romance, the readers weren't trapped in the vacuum of their relationship. We got to see and learn about their friends and families, and how their presence influenced them. It made for a richer, meatier story, and I'm thoroughly satisfied. When I first picked up The Man I Love, I hadn't read the blurb or any of the reviews, even though I'd heard a lot of good things about it. It made each scene and moment new, fresh, and shocking, and made for the perfect reading experience. I can't recommend this book highly enough!

Hayling Kent

This book came highly recommended by a friend and it's not hard to see why. Oh this book, this book ripped my heart open. You think it's going to be another cute romance but then it turns completely inside-out and upside-down. It sucks you in and chews you up and spits you out changed. This book makes you THINK. I finished it two weeks ago and I'm still thinking about it. Laqueur creates characters that are so believable, so real, so genuine and flawed and heroic. This is truly the mother of all love stories.

Erik is a gorgeous character. So complex and guarded and secretly passionate. His love for Daisy is romantic and sexually charged but it's grounded as well. These aren't two dopey teenagers staring goofily at each other or playing stupid head games. The last time I was this refreshingly entertained by two intelligent teens was Hazel and Augustus in "Fault in Our Stars." But I digress.

It was also refreshing to have a female teenaged character who was a virgin but not neurotic about sex. A virgin by choice but still sexually curious and not apologetic about it. I think this book has good crossover appeal to teens and college kids because the sex is handled so beautifully. Even when the sex becomes dark and dangerous later on.

The book does go dark and ventures into depression, PTSD and therapy. The scenes with ERik's psychologist were gripping and real as he deals with both his lost love and his lost father. He never ceases to be believable, no matter if he was acting like a hero or acting like a fool. You really got to know him and he was always true to his character.

I thought it was an amzing story and beautifully written. The chapters were short and enticing so the pages just flew by. The language went from punchy and crisp to lyrical and mesmerizing. The dialogue was authentic and often hilariously funny. And besides Erik and Daisy there is a cast of diverse supporting characters (I love Will Kaeger) who turn this story into a three-dimensional universe.

If you want a book that will move you and perhaps even change you, read The Man I Love. To quote the author, your atoms will rearrange themselves.

Marie Charles

Erik and Daisy meet in college and are intensely bonded from the very beginnings of their affair. What could be a fairytale romance turns into a nightmare when a mutual friend, intent on revenge, goes on a shooting spree in their university theater and forever changes their lives. The trauma eventually destroys their love and they part horribly and completely. For twelve years. Thinking they got over it. But the truth is they are adults outside but frozen in their 20s within, still waiting for resolution. Because they still belong to each other.

This was such a beautiful, tender and intelligent love story. Makes you think about who you are and what you stand for. What you run from and what you fight for. You will remember your first love and your first forays into sexuality. You might ponder things you left unfinished and why. Or maybe how you yourself were emotionally "abandoned" and never grieved for it.

Erik and Daisy completely captured my interest and my emotions. I was utterly invested in their story. They still linger in my head weeks after finishing.

An amazing debut work from an author with a gift for expression and emotional nuance. Her use of language is first-rate. I look forward to reading more of her works.

Rosie

Frankly the only thing wrong with “The Man I Love” is THAT IT ENDS. What a beautiful book. It’s so much more than a love story, I couldn’t put it down until I knew what happened next. It was hard to find a palce to stop for the night before I went to sleep.

Erik is a fantastic character. I wanted to meet him and talk to him. It was really cool to watch him use his best qualities to fight his worst demons. His journey is compelling and real and you’re behind him all the way, even though you want to smack him in the head and yell CALL HER ALREADY! But not once did I get the feeling the author was creating a lot of nonsense just to put time between ERik and Daisy. Every situation was believable and necessary. Yeah it’s a long book, but a really swift read. The chapters are short and the pace moves fast. I wanted a more decisive ending because I’m just one of those “happy ever after” people but the way it ended was probably more realistic anyway. Reality just bites sometimes, ha ha.

By the way, the sex scenes were really good. Maybe TMI, ha ha, but THIS is the kind of sex I want in a book, not that 50 Shades crap. Anyway, I think everyone can relate to this book, not just women. We all have an Erik. We all have a Daisy. We all have ghosts from the past. We all have grief we didn’t deal with. A lot of us don’t trust happiness. Probably this book is marketed to adults but I really think late high school and definitely college age kids will totally love it. Anyone can relate to it, like I said. I highly recommend this unique story and I hope this author has something else to publish soon. Hopefully about Erik and Daisy because I really want to know how it works out for them!!!!

Rach Lawrence

*I was gifted a copy of The Man I Love by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Erik Fiskare enjoys taking things apart and putting them back together, having multiple versions of the plan for his life, and building things. He’s drawn into the theater, where he plans to specialize in set design and lighting. As a college freshman, the theater becomes his life, and it’s where he meets the beautiful ballerina Daisy Bianco. Their instant attraction goes well beyond the physical; Erik and Daisy are each other’s missing piece. Their souls connect on a level neither knew possible before, and now neither can live without the other.

Erik and Daisy’s tight group of theater friends is forever changed by a series of events that lead to a gun in the theater, lives lost, and devastating injuries. They each spiral out of control in their own way, until an unexpected betrayal forces Erik to leave school and cut all ties to his former life. But life without Daisy isn’t much of a life at all, and Erik must find a way to deal with his demons and face the past. The story spans fifteen years and the growth and changes that occur as Erik goes from college freshman to responsible adult.

The Man I Love is the kind of book that sucks you in right from the start and never lets you go. It’s a long book (590 pages in paperback according to Goodreads), but you won’t be able to put it down. This novel has a little of everything: love and romance, exploring sexuality, physical and emotional trauma, major character growth, betrayal, heartbreak, and forgiveness. It will pull your heartstrings in so many directions you won’t know which way is up. I’m not typically a huge fan of angst, but somehow Suanne Laqueur was able to make it okay that I cried big, ugly tears, because the story was so deep that those tears were necessary. And it wasn’t just once. I probably cried throughout a third of the book. The shooting and the aftermath were gut-wrenching, but it wasn’t until Erik and Daisy’s relationship imploded that I started to lose control of my emotions on a regular basis. I’ll spare you the full details and skip to the part where I assure you this is a happily-ever-after.

The character growth in The Man I Love is outstanding. Of course there will be some growth when a book spans such a large amount of time, but the things Erik has to face are not your run-of-the-mill college student problems. Erik literally goes from the happiest he’s ever been to staring down the barrel of a gun while his soul mate lies bleeding to death on the other side of the shooter. Even that isn’t the worst thing he has to deal with. It takes some time for Erik to hit rock bottom before he can begin to work his way back up. And let me tell you, his rock bottom plea for help nearly did me in.

Although the story mostly follows Erik, we get to know many other characters and go through their struggles with them. Of course there’s Daisy, and we see a lot of her quiet, contemplative nature through her relationship with Erik as well as second-hand information of her growth and changes. But there are also several other people we know intimately. The secondary characters all have a purpose, and we feel their struggles throughout the story as well.

While reading this novel, I was amazed to find out that not only was it the author’s debut novel, but also that she wrote most of it twenty years ago. The companion novel, Give Me Your Answer True, is Daisy’s story of the same time period and is due to be released on June 20, 2015. I am excited to see how much the author’s writing has grown, if that’s even possible. The Man I Love has already skyrocketed to the top of my all-time favorites. I honestly don’t remember the last time I read something that moved me so much. As soon as I reached the end, I wanted to start it all over again!

If I could, I’d give The Man I Love ten stars. This amazing journey is not to be missed.

For more of my reviews, please visit https://rachlawrencebooks.wordpress.com/.

Melissa P.

‘The Man I Love’ by Suanne Laqueur was a wonderful surprise. It had all the elements of a good novel that I enjoy. Excellent character development, good story, romance, sex, heartbreak, and without giving anything away, it is wrapped up nicely at the end. The main character is Erik Fiskare and you can’t help but fall in love with him and his girlfriend Daisy. A terrible tragedy occurs, and Erik and Daisy have a difficult time coping with it. The characters display very realistic emotions and post-traumatic stress behaviors, and the story takes us on a journey through finding peace within. The author is very descriptive and paints a picture in every scene that makes it seem like something I watched instead of something I’ve read. I loved every bit of this book and because I really didn’t want to put it down, I read it very quickly. As an added bonus, the descriptions of the love making in the book are delicious and sure to please both men and women. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a great story about real people and real issues.

Ami

This book is brilliantly written. The world of dance may not be familiar to all, but the author brings it to life in bold, living color. The characters are beautifully developed and real. You feel with them, love with them, bleed with them, cry with them, and carry them with you long after the book is closed. Don't be afraid of the page count; not a single word is wasted. A strong debut, and one if the best books I've read in years. Highly recommend.

Emma Scott

Once, when I was in college, I had a date with a young gent and we tossed back a few too many cocktails before deciding to see Saving Private Ryan in the movie theatre. We got there late and had to sit about three rows back from the front. And then the invasion began.

If you recall this movie, the first ten minutes or so is the storming of the beach at Normandy. I had to watch it with one eye closed, sort of unable to process it all. Maybe that was the booze, but I think it was more the reality of it. I remember thinking, "Thanks a lot, Spielberg. If I wanted to fight in WWII I would hop in my time machine and go." I felt like I had been right there, in the thick of it.

What, pray-tell, has this to do with The Man I Love? Because that's sort of how I felt reading this book. Like I was right there, right in it, too close for comfort sometimes. In fact the sweetness of the first 30% I read with a vague sense of unease twisting in my gut. I was anxious the entire time because I knew this sweet, soul-deep love story was going to get blown to bits and I was going to be splattered with the blood and guts of it.

There's a word, "interiority". There is a regular definition for it, but the literary one is Interiority is defined as a character's thoughts, feelings, and reactions to the situation. It's a flashier word for "show" (as in show, don't tell) but it's a little more than that. The ability of an author to do this is what connects a reader to the characters, and if it's done in the jaw-droppingly masterful way that this author does it, instead of watching or reading the text, you're living in it, absorbing it, you're RIGHT THERE. This novel is a textbook definition of interiority done right. Despite the--sometimes--pages of almost unbroken exposition, Erik's interiority never wavers. We're right there with him, intimately so. Every joy, heartache, pain, loss, grief. You live it right a long with him. His story comes to life, and there's a LOT of story.

I don't do recap reviews; as a writer myself, I like to focus on mechanics and the HOW of the writing. How did she do it? Why? So this probably doesn't read as a typical review but it's the only way I know to describe and process artistry such as this. Suffice it to say, this author had a story to tell and she told it. She gripped it tight, twisted, and wrung it dry, and was unapologetic about all of it.

For instance, insta-love. It's a generally hated term in the romance world and something most authors tend to avoid, incurring the insta-wrath of readers if done poorly. And rightly so, as it usually comes off as a cliche. Here the author is unapologetic, having her characters even come out and say it, "It's only been a week." And it worked. Why? Two reasons: The first being once you've mastered all the rules you're free to break them. So she did and fuck it, it was glorious. Secondly, there are those who recognize the longevity of a soul, its agelessness while bodies wither and die. If one is a believer in the idea of soulmates then one must write honestly about how two soulmates would react upon being confronted with one another again.

She said it with her eyes, he heard it clearly in his head, and it wasn’t hello. It was, “Well, here you are.”

Here I am, he thought.

And that's how it's done.

"Insta-love" is cheesy and stupid when two characters meet and fall in love in order to speed the plot along or for the convenience of the author. Insta-love, when it's the core principle in the novel itself, when it's soul mates reconnecting, is as integral to it as a beating heart is to a body. There is a difference and this is it.

Now there were two parts that threw me out a bit, though neither was unable to the shake the book from a 5 star perch, and are spoilers to boot, so I'll leave them out.

Nits aside, I thought this book was astounding. I was RIGHT THERE the whole time and it wasn't always easy. This is not the book you reach for when you want some fluffy escapism, nor is it even the book you want when you're feeling angsty for some good drama. This is the book you read when you want to jump heads and live another life or when you want to submerge yourself into another reality, blood, guts and all. It's the first 10 minutes of Saving Private Ryan, the chaotic battle for survival against impossible odds, and you are--say it with me now--RIGHT THERE.

As for me, this is the book I will only read once, though I may return to certain parts for the phrasing. And I will read the sequel, though I'm going to need to buffer myself with other books of fluffy escapism first. Then, when I have amassed the mental fortitude to journey into Daisy's mind, I'll read the second which I bought the instant I finished reading the sample.

Insta-one-click, of this author. Insta-love for the win!

ES

Love this book!

Let me just start by saying when I selected this book I had no idea what I was getting into; I had never heard of the book or its author. During the first chapter I was confused – I had not read anything so captivating and detailed in a very long time and was surprised. By the time I got to chapter three I was hooked and could not put it down.

The story of Erik and Daisy (from Erik’s POV which I love) is a beautiful story of first love and tragedy and how people (no matter what the age in my opinion) handle very extreme situations. I also liked the idea of people tending to repeat behavior they learn from their parents even when they do not mean to and in this book Erik did just that. Suanne does a wonderful job taking the reader on the journey with Erik and both the reader and he figure it out almost at the same time – nicely done. There where times I was frustrated with Daisy but again coming from Erik’s POV it makes sense because he was frustrated. The secondary characters (especially Will) are well thought out and are an integral part of the story (Will again but wont give it away) and are sometimes fun sometimes not – but help move the story forward. I was happy with the ending though it felt rushed to me – like there was more to work through for Erik and Daisy but my understanding is that there will be another book which I am sure will wrap up the story for them and I hope they get their HEA.

All in all a fantastic story and would highly recommend it.

Bianca Koehler

The Man I Love is one of the best books I've read this year. It is intense, passionate and heartbreaking at times.

Daisy and Erik's love story is incredible! They are perfectly matched. Yet, their love must endure.

This was a gripping, wonderfully written novel, that we'll mesmerise you. Erik Fiskare is my new favourite book boyfriend.

Astounding debut novel! I can't recommend it enough!