Ex-escort Javier Landes is asking for his third chance at love. And the third time is the charm. He meets an art therapist named Steffen Finch and what starts as casual deepens into a passionate relationship—everything Jav has ever wanted, and everything he fears losing.
Stef’s business card reads Curator & Sailor. His creativity and insightful nature have made him into a talented therapist, the one to call for tough cases. His professional success can’t conceal a deep need to connect with someone, but Javier Landes is the last person Stef expected.
Geronimo “Geno” Caan is Stef’s most challenging case. To cope with his ordeal, he’s allowed an alter-ego called Mos to make decisions, and now lives a double life within a web of lies. Under Stef’s navigation, Geno uses art to express what Mos forbids to be spoken aloud. But as Geno’s attachment to Stef gradually extends to Jav, the boundaries between professional and personal begin to blur.
Over the course of a year, Jav, Stef and Geno form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings. The long-awaited second book of the Venery series, A Charm of Finches is an epic tale of survival and secrets guaranteed to make you think and feel and remember.
I should start this post off by saying if sexual assault and sexual abuse are triggers for you, this story may not be for you. It’s not a trigger for me and yet I was profoundly affected by the scenes and reactions described.
While reading A Charm of Finches, there was little that I could actually relate to from my own experiences but I still felt everything. Therein lies the glory of Suanne Laqueur’s writing. She makes you understand and relate to people and situations outside your norm.
If the first book in The Venery series (An Exaltation of Larks) was beautiful and engrossing this one was harsh and captivating. The story is raw, primal, visceral, sexual and sensual. The words and imagery poured from the pages to wrap around me, covering and squeezing until I experienced the story as though I was inside it. It was a crazy difficult read and there were times I had to put the book down because it was just too much to hold in. Buddy reading it was a huge help, knowing someone else was caught up in the same emotions.
I’ve never read anything like this before. I’ve read books that made me cry and feel sad but this one hurt. Its stories and characters followed me, tightening nooses around my fragile heart. The fact that the victims’ stories are but a reflection of very real suffering is agonizing.
“You know how men make love with each other and you know how men make war on each other.”
But there are aspects of the tale which are poignant for their beauty too. Jav and Stef meeting, falling in love, deepening their relationship is such a joy to read. Javier finally confronting his past is breath-stealing in its anguish; as are the scenes where Geno relives and faces his torment.
Geno, Micah, Max and Jav are survivors whose stories should be told.
Through it all Stef is the curator, the guide, he is home and haven for those who need him. This world needs more real people like him.
Suanne’s writing style is one that holds the reader hostage. Her use of metaphors, her word choice, and even what she chooses to leave unsaid (as Jay points out) make for a truly compelling narrative. The pacing of the story is spot on. Short chapters, scene shifts and flashbacks flow across the pages drenching the reader in its intensity and pulling you along for the ride. The dialogues are perfection and build up the complex characters who make up the novel. This author is a magnificent storyteller and deserves to have her work highlighted far more!
A Charm of Finches probably isn’t a story I’d be able to revisit any time soon but I am in awe of it.
I give the novel 5/5 espresso shots.
Jay and I agreed to do a buddy read of this book. All I can say is… man you owe me a drink at the very least after this emotional railroading packed in a novel. 😃😃 (Click on the link to check out his review).