Title : Flare
Series : North Star, Book #3
Author : Posy Roberts
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 330 pages (e-book)
Published : January 13, 2014
Rating : ★★★★★
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?
I was both excited and a little sad to read this conclusion to Posy Robert’s North Star Trilogy. I have lived through so much with the characters that have become like fictional family.
The first book, Spark, introduced us to Hugo and Kevin as teenagers. This book was about how they met, their friendship, discovering their sexuality, and how families and friends influenced their lives and who they were. It was also about finding and losing love and getting that second chance they thought would never happen.
In Fusion, we found Hugo and Kevin trying to work out their relationship. It was not only about Hugo and Kevin, but also Kevin’s children, his soon- to- be ex- wife and how they both felt about where they stood in society. Hugo was out and never wanted to deny who he was again. This was all new for Kevin and there were events that neither one of them expected that made everything more complicated. It was beautiful and touching.
Now we conclude with Flare. We pick up after Erin’s death, with Kevin, Hugo, Brooke and Finn all trying to cope with her loss and find their way as a family. Everything is finally starting to feel more stable; until Kevin takes the children to visit Erin’s parents and Erin’s mother, Tasha, upsets Finn. Finn can sometimes hurt himself when he is very upset and out of control of his emotions. Kevin walks in just as he sees Erin’s father start to strike Finn. He stops him and uses a technique that the therapist helped them develop. Finn calls it a bear hug and it helps to center him. Unfortunately, Tasha sees it as abuse and she uses it to bring a custody suit against Kevin. As more is revealed, it becomes apparent that this is not the only reason for her seeking custody.
This is just the beginning of their life challenges. Hugo is an actor and his career was on hold while Erin was sick and he was her caregiver. Now his career is taking off and he is travelling more, so Kevin decides to bring in a nanny to help. It allows Hugo to pursue his career but he feels lost from his family and misses the closeness he had with the children. He is also lonely for Kevin and wants to be there to help. Having a nanny also allows Kevin to rekindle some old friendships with people he knew when he and Erin were married. Kevin hopes to bring Hugo into the group so they can have adult friends in their community. What Kevin does not realize is how some of these friends are treating Hugo. Another stressor on the family is when Brooke starts middle school and a girl decides to bully her because of her father’s relationship with Hugo. There are so many real life issues woven into this story.
The author takes us through Kevin and Hugo’s journey of finding their roles as partners, parents and balancing their individual careers. Many of the situations are those that any family could face – loss, grief, family dynamics, communicating with one another, making friends in the community, careers, juggling all those things people deal with in their daily lives. Then add in a gay/bi relationship and how some of society perceives it, how cruel and uncaring people can be, not only to the adults involved but also to the children, and it makes for a much more complicated situation. The shame is that it is even an issue at all, and the author handles this subject with thoughtfulness and care.
There were moments that I was frustrated with Kevin for not realizing what was happening to Hugo. I was also frustrated at Hugo for not sharing those things with Kevin. Communication is a key part of some of the problems they are dealing with. I loved the way Hugo and Kevin eventually were able to open up to one another. It was wonderful to see Brooke grow and see how beautifully she dealt with the challenges she faced in this book. I adore Finn and I would love to see this young man grow up. We also get to revisit Summer and Russell. All of which made for a lovely ending to the series.
Reading this trilogy has been a wonderful experience and I will miss the characters very much.
Rated 5 stars by Deb