The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur
Sometimes books slip under my radar and I am ashamed to say that this was one of those books, I had never heard of either the book or the author but that was my mistake because having now completed the story I can put my hand on my heart and honestly say that I now understand why this book has won awards – it is simply fabulous and the author needs to be commended, because as a first novel… I have to say you rock!
I didn’t look at any blurb or reviews before I started and I am pleased that I didn’t because the story didn’t need explanation it just needed a chance to unfold – much like a good wine it needed to be uncorked and left to breathe.
The characters made their play for your soul early on but they initially held their cards fairly close to their chest, slowly seeping little nuggets of their tale to you one glorious piece at a time. They walked a well-worn path but they dance to their own beat in more ways than one.
Erik is just the most astonishing of characters and I instantly felt connected to him, his first year at University was exactly what it should have been, his first step onto the career path that he had always hoped to fulfil but what he didn’t know was that his future would change the instant he met the beautiful Daisy.
Working on the University ballet production, Erik may have been behind the scenes and Daisy taking to the stage but to when this young couple meet, she takes centre stage in his life and the intensity of their relationship is glorious to read.
We are with them every step of the way as they get to know and learn to understand each other, as they find what works and doesn’t for them and as they take the seed they have planted in each other and allow what they have to grow into something that is truly beautiful. They gave their love time to breath and afford themselves the opportunity to soak up the feelings that they share.
The ebb and flow of the story is pitched to absolute perfection and the story gives a new meaning to the term real time – they are not perfect, they have their issues but they accept that they are far better together than they could ever be apart.
But is everything too good to be true, there is a constant reminder that these two are destined for other things and that the strength they share together is set to be tested to the max but while the author plays with her words very carefully, her descriptive tones and the colourful hues of implication are never far from the page.
I loved the implication that oozed from every page and this forced my fingers to almost adopt a life of their own turning the pages in a frantic attempt to discover what was destined to happen next.
The author uses every word to such effect that I felt she built me to a frenzy as she gave me the entirety of the love between Erik and Daisy and showed me just what it was like for them to be completely besotted by each other but she left me broken and bereft when she unleashed a tragedy on the young couple that had me aghast. I held my breath, shook my head and tried to clear the tears from my eyes as struggled to comprehend the emotion that almost overwhelmed me. Both my heart and my head hurt with the events that unfolded.
My love for the characters felt tested and I found myself wanting… I found it hard to assimilate what had happened and that was a master stroke on behalf of the author because through her ability to determine that emotion from me as the reader, she made it so easy for me to empathise with Erik as he fought to piece himself back together.
The book rightfully centres around Erik and Daisy but it also has a plethora of well-rounded and credible secondary characters, the author gave deference to both family and friends, notably Will – who as Daisy’s dance partner was and integral part of her life but also David, who I have to say I found really interesting, his drug use as a means to wipe away the demons that he fought on a daily basis had me completely engrossed.
I look forward to what comes next and can safely say that for me, this is one of my reads of the year so far.