Tales from Cushman Row would only work if you have read the Venery series, which I would highly recommend that you do. Author Suanne Laqueur opens up her writing notebook here and offers a framework to the series and the characters. It is a fascinating read as we are shown the early start to the character of Javier before his career was settled. The author offers candid insight into her thought process as to the progression of the characters. She includes how the relationship between Javier and his nephew, Ari, started and subsequently changed, and how the epic love story between Javier and Stef evolved. Her words speak to the reader on many levels and it’s a rare treat to be offered a true behind-the-scenes look.
Some scenes are early in the process and show the evolution of the characters and you know they have not happened. Yet other scenes were written for the author to get to know her characters better and some were never intended to be part of the finished book. So, then the question becomes, if the scenes were never part of the novels, did they really happen? A good portion of this book are scenes between Javier and Stef and the author notes that the book includes, “a f**k-ton of gratuitous boning.” I am going to choose to believe that of course these scenes truly happened, off page somewhere, in between other scenes, because this stuff is too good to leave behind.
The romance and love between Javier and Stef is breathtaking. The men can’t stop thinking about each other and can’t touching each other and the way the author explores their devastating intimacy made these characters incredibly real. The scenes are raw and stripped bare and it was addictive to read scene after scene of these men exploring each other. From my view, there was absolutely nothing gratuitous about it, although quite possibly Javier may wish I didn’t know quite so much.
The men laugh and play and love each other with a fierce intensity that even they can’t understand. Both men are in their 40s and have lived a lot of life and find themselves so drawn to each other they become an extension of each other while still remaining true to themselves. There are few, if any, characters or couples that I feel I know so intimately, and it was incredibly unique for the author to share these scenes.
If you have read this series, you will absolutely want to check this out and if you haven’t gotten to it yet, add it to your list so Suanne Laqueur can become your next favorite author.