Flare by Posy Roberts ~ Review by Christine

The conclusion of the North Star Series provides a satisfying ending to Hugo and Kevin’s story, though I’m sorry to have to say farewell to these characters, their friends, and their family.

flareTitle: Flare

Author: Posy Roberts

PublisherDreamspinner Press

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus are learning to live again after the death of Kevin’s wife, Erin. They’re doing everything they can to make a stable home for Kevin’s kids, but that stability is threatened when Kevin is served legal documents: Erin’s parents want custody of Brooke and Finn.

Meanwhile, Hugo is offered several acting jobs; to encourage him to take them, Kevin hires a nanny who is very hands-on with the kids. But Hugo feels distanced from his new family, so he makes the decision to leave his eclectic neighborhood and moves in with Kevin. He quickly finds he has a hard time fitting in with the suburbanites, and Kevin’s passive-aggressive “friends” make Hugo feel anything but welcome. Yet he keeps his concerns a secret and tries to take it all in stride.

When Brooke is bullied about having two dads, Hugo realizes his mere presence might be doing more harm than good. The stress will force him to make a choice: does he stay and fight for the family he loves, or does he walk away to let them live in peace?

My View

As the blurb indicates, Hugo and Kevin are working hard to create a loving family environment for Kevin’s children and to move their own relationship forward in the wake of Erin’s death.  In doing so, they encounter many obstacles and struggles, including custody battles, identity issues, bullying by adults and children, hospital visits, and failures in communication.  The changes that occurred in the family dynamic before and after Erin’s death create major conflicts, both internal and external, and this story centers on Hugo and Kevin trying to maintain stability in their relationship amidst the chaos that prevails.

It’s no secret that I adore Hugo and Kevin, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending more time with them. The secondary characters are also thoughtfully drawn and continue to grow, playing vital roles in enriching the plot and helping to develop the best traits in the main characters. I greatly appreciate Posy Roberts’ ability to create realistic, engaging players who garner the reader’s empathy and tug at the heartstrings with their authenticity and integrity.  The dialogue continues to be a strong aspect in Flare, as it was in prior books in the series, and the interactions between the characters feel genuine and compassionate.

I believe that is why I became a bit frustrated with the number of conflicts that the characters endured in this story.  I felt that too many obstacles in the plot overshadowed the strongest aspects of Posy Roberts’ storytelling – her ability to create beautifully tender yet pragmatic dialogue and her gift for deepening the reader’s connection to the characters.  External conflicts occurred one after another in Flare, almost like a stone skipping across a pond, diverting my attention away from the evolution of the characters and their relationships.

However, I was intrigued by certain conflicts and story lines that I felt were riveting anchors to the story.  The bullying problem was powerful and heart breaking for both Brooke and Hugo.  I was particularly drawn to that aspect of the story, which was connected to Hugo’s frustration to find where he “fit” in Kevin’s life in suburbia.  Hugo is a multi-faceted, driven character with a huge capacity for kindness and compassion, and this also makes him sensitive and vulnerable.  I found that to be very appealing and wanted to see more of his internal conflicts, which I considered to be pure, valid, and of high interest.  Additionally, without giving away any spoilers, I enjoyed the beautiful and heartwarming storyline involving Hugo’s best friend, Summer, and found myself longing for even more detail and development of that plot point.  Finally, I delighted in the expanded intimacy between Hugo and Kevin, as their tentative experimentation and risk-taking ramped up the sex scenes a bit and helped to further solidify their trust in and love for one another.

I have become very attached to Hugo, Kevin, and their friends and family. Captivated by their sweet, tender story throughout the North Star Series, I am sad to see it come to its conclusion. I have been enveloped in their journey from their teen years in Private Display of Affection, to their rediscovery of one another in Spark, and on through their commitment to family and each other in Fusion and Flare.  I highly recommend reading all the books in the series, and I applaud Posy Roberts again for creating these subtle stories full of interesting, lovable characters and authentic, relatable life events.  Well done!

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
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,

Brandilyn
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