Monday, December 16, 2019

REVIEW: A Scarcity of Condors by Suanne Laqueur


A Scarcity of Condors
Book 3 of the Venery Series
Release Date: December 16, 2019


For those who don't know, I typically reserve New Year's Eve and the day leading up to it (and the day after) for myself. I send my husband and girls to his parents' house and I take advantage of the quiet to reflect on all of the things (good and bad) and I snuggle up with a book that I want to read distraction free. A few years ago I selected the first series Suanne Laqueur wrote and found myself completely consumed by the characters and their hurts, sorrows, and triumphs. Last year, I used the same holiday days to catch up on the Venery series and found myself consumed once again. This year, I was lucky enough to get the third book in the series, A Scarcity of  Condors, earlier than my normal Suanne reading holiday and I decided to take advantage of a nothing to grade weekend and read it. 


I am obsessed. This weekend A Scarcity of Condors had my complete attention and anyone who tried to distract me from it got a death glare. The story of the Tholets was heartwrenching and healing. Their story as told from Jude, Cleon, and Penny was one of fierce love; how they fought for each other and loved each other was incredibly moving. I wish I had the words to express just how deeply this story seeped into my heart, my bones, my brain but I don't. I wish you could've seen me losing my fight against the tears, putting the book down to stare off into space and contemplate everything I just read. Or how there were times I could practically smell or taste the food Tej and Penny prepared. And how I would feel a smile take over after an especially happy scene and I'd reach up to press my lips in the hopes of keeping that smile just a little longer. It's rare these days that I have such visceral reactions to characters so when I do, I treasure the experience. These characters took over my everything for a solid 48 hours and I loved them and their stories so much that I am looking forward to diving into this novel again, just to relive the beauty of it all. 

In addition to how enamored I am with the storytelling, I'm continually in awe of the writer and writing. The amount of time and research Suanne Laqueur puts into all of her novels has to be incalculable; I cannot imagine how she does what she does and puts it into her work so seamlessly. Both the big details and small ones are just so well done that every story feels effortless--but especially this one-- though I know that she must put an enormous amount of time into every single one of those details.  (I just have to acknowledge it; I have so much respect for how well thought out every aspect of this novel is and if you ever read this review, Suanne Laqueur, please know that your attention to detail is so very appreciated.) 

This novel (and series) has captured my heart in a way that few do and so I'm very selfishly hoping that one or two of the tertiary characters who haven't had much attention yet,will get the Suanne Laqueur treatment. I'm happy to beg for more of these characters. Or maybe I'll just sit patiently for whatever idea she dreams up next because I'm absolutely certain it will be worth the wait. 


Juleón "Jude" Tholet has survival in his DNA. His father, Cleón, lived through imprisonment and torture during Pinochet's military coup in Chile. His mother, Penny, risked everything to gain her husband's freedom and flee the country with their newborn son. But as a closeted gay teenager growing up in Vancouver, Jude is targeted by a neighborhood bully called El Cóndor, culminating in a vicious hate crime that forces the Tholets to flee their country again.

Jude cautiously rebuilds his life in Seattle, becoming an accomplished pianist, but his his wings have been clipped and he cannot seem to soar in his relationships. Only family remains a constant source of strength and joy, until a DNA test reveals something that shocks all the Tholets: Jude is not their child.

Stunned by the test results, the Tholets must dig into their painful past, re-examine their lives in 1973 Santiago and the events surrounding Jude's birth story. It’s a tale rooted in South America’s Operation Condor. It spreads through Pinochet’s terrifying regime of detention camps, torture, disappeared civilians and stolen children. The journey forces Penny Tholet to confront the gaps in her memory while Cleón must re-live an ordeal he’s long kept hidden away in a secret world. The tale ends with Jude digging through his genetic code in a quest to find his biological parents. Are they alive? Or are they among Los Desaparecidos—the Disappeared Ones?

Suanne Laqueur’s third book in the Venery series explores the desperate acts of love made in times of war, and the many ways family can be defined.






To be shipped after the December 16th release date



A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur went from choreographing music to choreographing words. Her work has been described as Therapy Fiction, Emotionally Intelligent Romance and Contemporary Train Wreck. Whatever you want to call it, her goal is to write stories that appeal to the passions of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre.

Suanne Laqueur'sAn Exaltation of Larks won the Grand Prize in the 2017 Writer’s Digest Book Awards. Her debut novel The Man I Love and its follow-up, Give Me Your Answer True, won gold medals in the 2015 and 2016 Readers' Favorite Book Awards. Both were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 Kindle Book Awards, and Laqueur was named a gold medal Debut Author with Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater, and 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. Visit her at All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.


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