Here to Stay, written by Suanne Laqueur, is the follow up to the author’s first two novels, The Man I Love and Give Me Your Answer True. When last readers left them, Daisy and Erik had finally reunited after over a decade apart – both needing time and space to heal separately from their past tragedies. Now back together, their college flame has rekindled all the brighter. Audiences who loved the first two books will find great enjoyment in seeing the fictional couple fall back in love after all this time and face new struggles in their lives together. Here to Stay is a book about the importance of family, the need to carry on a name, and the promise of a lifelong love story.
Much like Give Me Your Answer True, audiences may wonder if a third book in this series is entirely necessary. The answer is yes, the book does serve a purpose (and serves it quite well), but its existence is certainly weaker than the prior novel’s. For starters, the main event of the two companion novels – the shooting at Daisy and Erik’s college – really grounded the story and gave it a central focus. While the shooting is certainly brought up in Here to Stay and is still an important part of these characters’ journeys, it does not hold the same gravity it did in the previous books. Instead, Here to Stay has trouble deciding what kind of story it wants to be; it can never truly seem to find its footing. Is it a book about uncovering family history? A rekindling love story with plenty of sex? A tale of overcoming past trauma while experiencing a whole new kind of trauma? A story of the importance of embracing parenthood? It wants to be all of this, and while it succeeds at times, most of the book feels muddled in shifting from one tone to the other.
Yes, seeing Erik and Daisy reunite is wonderful, and of course the notion of tying up loose ends is tempting, but the first half of the novel is solely focused on Daisy and Erik falling back into this picturesque love story. While romantic and quaint, this is something the audience could have assumed solely based off of the endings of the other books; is it something readers really needed? It isn’t until halfway through the novel when the plot really picks up and feels like a viable, important story to tell.
That being said, Here to Stay is still a quality novel. More than quality, really. All the great writing Laqueur showcases in the first two books of her series is still very much present. She fills the book with lovely descriptions, sensuality on every page, and so much deep beauty in these characters and their tales. Although the continuation may not be entirely necessary, the reappearance of these characters is enough to make any fan of Laqueur’s fling their arms open with joy. The author’s ability to find poignancy in delicate issues – both carried over from the previous books and introduced to the characters’ lives in this one – is nothing short of brilliance. Laqueur has such wondrous insight and bestows it into her characters with both meticulous crafting and effortless ease.
When all is said and done, it is simply nice to see Erik, Daisy, Lucky, Will, and the rest of the cast back together again. Here to Stay will bring joy to readers’ hearts and perhaps a tear or two to some eyes; a gorgeous wrap up to a beautiful love story.
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