I immediately fell in love with the two characters in this touching, romantic story and can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the North Star series. The big question is: Where has Posy Roberts been all my life?
Author: Posy Roberts
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
North Star: Book One
In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.
By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.
When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.
Let me start by saying that I read the YA version of Hugo and Kevin’s story, Private Display of Affection, before I read Spark. Although it is not necessary to do so in order to fully enjoy Spark, I would highly recommend it. First, it lays a beautiful foundation for the relationship the men re-discover as adults with details and family dynamics only seen in flashback in Spark. More importantly, however, it would be a shame to miss out on such a sweet, tender story of the young love that Hugo and Kevin discover in one another. Gently wrought, it stole my heart and solidified my investment in the characters before I even picked up Spark. It was a true gem of a story that I am deeply pleased to have read.
That said, Spark is told in alternating perspectives of Hugo and Kevin, two men who met as teens, fell in love, and had to deal with the consequences of secrets and the burdens of family responsibilities at a tender age. Their history is told in a series of flashbacks, sweeping the reader into the past they shared even as they are reunited by chance 17 years after separating to attend college. The re-discovery that ensues is immediate and intense, but there are still hurdles to overcome as ghosts from the past and present insecurities threaten to extinguish the flame before it has a chance to spark.
I knew I was in trouble when the prologue had me reaching for the box of tissues. Hugo and Kevin had already wriggled their way into my heart, snuggling in for the duration even before their present-day story began. When it did, I liked the fact that they were able to pick up as adults where they left off as teenagers. There is a quiet desperation in their attempt to re-connect and to reclaim lost time that I found very appealing.
Posy Roberts tells a significant part of the story through dialogue that, for the most part, flows easily and sounds authentic and natural. The characters speak truths about relationships and give solid advice to one another for solving both internal and external conflicts that stand in the way of finding love and happiness. Hugo’s line during a conversation with his best friend Summer struck a chord with me:
“Don’t you want to be with someone who walks into the living room, who sees you wearing your flannel pajamas with a pint of ice cream in hand and who will still tell you you’re perfect just like that, even if your mascara is smudged because you just got done watching a sad movie?”
At the heart of this story is our need for unconditional love and acceptance – not just by others, but acceptance of our own selves, as well. Both Hugo and Kevin struggle with past issues that keep them from moving forward, and it is the recognition of that and the process of letting go of old wounds that allow these two men to begin to grow together.
I adored the adult versions of Hugo and Kevin. They are flawed but unwilling to give up on reclaiming what they once had as youth. Beautifully written vulnerability is balanced with maturity brought about by years of separate life experiences. I also appreciated the secondary female character of Summer, whose voice brought fresh perspective and a common sense approach to life and relationships.
Spark is the first installment of the North Star series, which follows the characters as they work to create a commitment amidst the complications of adult responsibilities and past relationships. I am anxious to read the next two volumes to see how these wonderful characters grow and to share in their journey together. Posy Roberts has me in the palm of her hand, and I rest there, gladly!
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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