Friday, June 19, 2015

Book Review ~ Give Me Your Answer True by Suanne Laqueur

Give Me Your Answer True
by Suanne Laqueur
Published June 20, 2015 by Cathedral Rock Press

“What I feel has no name…”

Following her award-winning debut novel The Man I Love, author Suanne Laqueur now gives Daisy Bianco a chance to tell her story.

It’s been three years since an egregious error of judgement cost Daisy the love of her life. Erik was a conduit to her soul but now he’s chosen a path of total disconnection, refusing to speak to her. Alone and shattered, she attempts to take responsibility for her actions while building her career as a professional dancer in New York City. But Erik’s unforgiving estrangement proves too much for her strength. Plagued by flashbacks to the shootings at Lancaster, she falls into a dangerous spiral of self-harm, cutting into her own skin as a means to atone. Only the timely appearance of an old friend, John “Opie” Quillis, saves her from self-destruction and gives her a chance to love again.

Laqueur skillfully weaves flashbacks to the years at Lancaster with Daisy’s present life. Supported by John’s patient affection, she works to separate her evolution as an adult from the unresolved guilt and grief of her youth. As her professional accomplishments lift her out of depression, Daisy learns to hold onto her accountability without letting it become her identity. Years pass and she builds a beautiful life filled with dance and friends. Lovers come and eventually go, leaving her on her own with the old thought: Come back to me.

In this parallel narrative, Laqueur peels open the beloved characters from The Man I Love to reveal new and complex layers of vulnerability. The scars from the shooting are deep and pervasive within this circle of friends. Like Daisy, they evolved without being resolved. Because when questions from the past go unheeded, you alone must find and give your answers true.

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 “’It’s the first time I understand how love can have a physical expression,” she said.  “Because everything I like about you I want to have inside me.  I want to put it with mine and make it us.’”

In Suanne Laqueur’s first novel, The Man I love, we read the story from Erik’s point of view and what a story it was – I loved every minute of it.  Truth be told, I was somewhat reluctant to read the author’s newest novel, Give Me Your Answer True because this time it’s told from Daisy’s point of view and I was quite afraid it was going to be the same story with just some minor changes.  My fear was for nothing though as this story is far from the same. This new perspective gives a truly epic story even more depth as we take this journey with Daisy.  Give Me Your Answer True is an absolutely beautiful story that flows as effortlessly as a well-choreographed dance.  I was majorly impressed with the author’s debut novel, but with her second novel, I am just simply astounded at the talent she has.  If I had to sum up Ms. Laqueur’s talent and ability to tell a story in just one word it would have to be perfection.

This is Daisy’s side of the story – her words - and is at first told via flashbacks as she is talking with her therapist, Rita – trying to remember the buried memories of that tragic day in April and working through her issues with not only Erik but other things that have plagued her with despair and hopelessness – the need to hurt, the need for pain.  Once the past catches up to the present, Rita really starts to dig into the ‘why’ of everything and helping Daisy deal with her post-traumatic stress disorder and her experience with self-harming.  After discovering the root of her emotional problems, it was a pure joy to ‘see’ Daisy blossoming into the happy person she deserved to be. 

I feel that this way of retelling the story really worked as I had a better and deeper understanding of Daisy and the other supporting characters within the story. I actually felt the love, the despair and the heartache in Daisy’s words as the story unfolded.  The many layers of the complex characters are peeled away and the reader gets to see the rawness, the vulnerability, the flaws and the beauty of each individual person and every incident that makes this story an amazing showcase of brilliant, effortless and beautiful writing.  I must also mention that even though I knew the ending of this story, this time around I found the experience much more fulfilling and my heart is happy due to having a greater connection with Daisy and getting to know her more through the poetic and beautiful words that make this a truly epic and awe-inspiring story.

Give Me Your Answer True is more than just a love story.  It is also a story of innocence lost, heartache and despair, discovery of one’s self and being true to yourself.  From true love, to the loss of friends due to do a horrific act of hate and the need to feel again through pain, to forgiveness,  this story will grab you and forever haunt you and stay within your heart even when the last sentence has been read.

5 stars

Suanne 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 www.eatsreadsthinks in 2010, and now writes at Suanne lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children. The Man I Love is her first novel, to be followed by Give Me Your Answer True in June 2015.

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