“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Author: Posy Roberts
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 330 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: 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?
Review: Flare is the third and final installment in Posy Roberts’ wonderful North Star series. It is our final (unless she chooses to grace us with a short story about them sometime in the future) chance to spend some time with Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus. I wanted to savor every moment of the last book about these characters I have come to know and love.
The story picks up about six months after Kevin’s wife and Hugo’s very close friend, Erin, died. Kevin, Hugo, Brooke and Finn are still grieving her loss while trying to build a family together. The family that Erin made clear was what she wanted for her children after her death. Evidently, her parents didn’t get the memo because they sue for custody of Finn and Brooke. Surely the root cause of their action is the fact that Kevin is with a man instead of a woman, but the Clarkes won’t admit that.
It seems that life is throwing fastballs at this newly formed family unit from every direction. Hugo’s job as an actor is taking him out of town more and more frequently and he misses his family desperately. Finn regresses back to behaviors he hasn’t displayed since right after Erin’s death. Brooke is being mercilessly bullied at school and on social media. Even Hugo is being bullied by Kevin’s “friends”, the people who knew Erin and somehow blame Hugo for her death.
Hugo and Kevin are forced to hire a nanny to help with the children. They want to be hands-on parents but are having trouble doing that since Hugo is getting as much work as he is. He had been playing the role of Mr. Mom up until now. The nanny’s presence is supposed to make Hugo feel free to take more jobs, but instead, she unintentionally makes him feel like he isn’t needed. In an effort to make himself feel like a more permanent part of the family, he finally gives up his rarely used apartment in the city and actually moves all of his belongings to Kevin’s house. He also makes some career choices that allow him to be more present.
I loved this book. I loved watching Kevin and Hugo’s relationship develop to its full potential. I loved watching Brooke grow into a young lady who is smart, courageous and beautiful. I loved seeing Finn be Finn. Summer and Russell play a large role in one of the sub-plots, but it’s too good to disclose! It was so deeply delightful to see Hugo assert himself and really explain to Kevin that some of his needs weren’t being met. On a lighter note, Kevin also made some of his up until now unknown desires, known.
I am sad to see this series end. But, Posy Roberts ended it absolutely exquisitely. The epilogue is masterfully done. It wasn’t the first time I cried while reading Flare, but it was the last. And it wasn’t a pretty cry either. But they were joyful tears. I really hope you will all read this book. In order to enjoy them to their fullest, they should be read in order: Spark, Fusion and Flare.