Dana reviews Spark (North Star Book 1) by Posy Roberts (Published by Dreamspinner Press, Septermber 1, 2013, 307 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
To read my review of the YA prequel novel Private Display of Affection click here.
After reviewing Private Display of Affection which was written under the pen name, Winter Sandberg, I was looking forward to reviewing Spark. It took me a bit longer than I wanted to get to it, but it was a perfect fit for this week when we decided to collectively review books whose covers represented the colors of the rainbow. For me, I thought this fit the color orange.
Blurb: 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.
Since we were reviewing books by the cover this week, I thought I’d talk about Spark’s cover. It isn’t the traditional romance cover with naked male torsos on it. Not that I’m complaining about those. The cover of Spark is simple and also significant to things that happen in the book. I really like the look of it.
I’ve said this in a lot of my reviews, but second chance romances where the two mc’s reconnect after being separated for years is one of my favorite tropes. Kevin and Hugo first met the summer before their junior year in high school. They both worked a summer job at the same place and the two became fast friends. Their friendship quickly became something more, and though Hugo had already known he was gay, Kevin discovered that he was bisexual. Their budding romance had it’s ups and downs, but there was a sweetness about the two of them together. I enjoyed watching them explore each other and themselves to find out who they were. Private Display of Affection ended with them ready to start their senior year and I had high hopes that they would stay together forever. I definitely recommend reading the prequel if you want to see their story unfold, but Spark does revisit some of their past through flashbacks, so it isn’t necessary to enjoy their story as adults.
In real life, high school romances don’t usually last, and apparently neither did Kevin and Hugo’s relationship. It would be sad, but fairly quickly in this story they reconnect. Hugo is a self assured adult, he has experienced highs and lows in his dating life including a cheating ex, but he is stronger for it. He is confident in his sexuality unlike the boy he was when he met Kevin. Kevin grew up with a very demanding father. When he left for college, he conformed to what his father wanted him to do, and completely repressed his own dreams. He also married a woman. As a bisexual man, it is valid that he would and could fall in love with a woman, but having to meet his father’s expectations might have also played a hand in that. In the present day in Spark, he is in the process of divorcing his wife. It seems like kismet that the two men found each other again as each were about ready to look for love again. They quickly realize that their feelings for each other never died.
Both of them have been leading much different lives, but their coming together felt very natural to me. Hugo has a secret that he isn’t ready to share with Kevin right away, and Kevin has kids and an almost ex-wife that he is worried about coming out to. These things have the possibility to complicate their relationship, but the two men support each other like an established couple that have been together for years. I like that Kevin’s relationship with his ex-wife was cordial and that they were able to remain friends. Hugo and Kevin had other things to worry about than a bitter divorce.
I really enjoyed this story. Not just because of the second chance romance, but the characters were well-written and easy to relate to. I loved Hugo’s best friend Summer and Kevin’s kids as well. I know there is another book in the series but the end of Spark does seem a little vague of where the author intends to take the characters. There is no cliffhanger for those that don’t like them, but I usually like a little hint of what might happen in the next book. Besides that, I thought the book was well-written. I loved watching the two men find in each other, what they had been missing for years. I definitely recommend the book and I look forward to reading and reviewing the next book in the series.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Real. Genuine. Love.
Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.
Posy is a Jill of all trades and master of the drill and paintbrush. She’s married to a partner who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep during her writing frenzies. Her daughter, a budding author and cinematographer, helps her come up with character names. For fun, Posy enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make regular life more interesting