Jay delivers a spectacular hurt/comfort romance with a Kiwi ‘Flare’
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Well, that was a ride and a half and I loved every bit of the tumultuous journey.
Flare is set in Auckland’s high fashion world and its two central characters couldn’t be more different if they tried, an opposites’ attract romance which worked on every level for me.
Rhys is just the type of man I adore to read about finding a happy ever after, he’s someone who suffered great trauma (read the trigger warnings, the effects of it are a critical part of the plot which unfolds many years later) and has learned to control and compartmentalise his life.
He’s sharp, spikey, but also achingly vulnerable and lonely, though he would never let himself think about it.
Beckett, by contrast, is a lumberjack of a man, an English Professor of Poetry who doesn’t hide his romantic soul half as well as he thinks he does. He’s also unexpectedly found himself having to parent his 16-year-old nephew Jack and it’s his struggles that throw the two men in to each other’s orbit.
There’ll be no plot spoilers here but, like with all Jay’s stories, there is a solid and strong sense of place, a cast of both blood and found family to bring depth and strength to the narrative and it’s this which is a such a draw for me with Jay’s writing.
She creates a compelling tale which feels like you’re being given a window into real peoples’ lives, as they struggle to deal with emotions, with teenage fears and hormones, with the consequences of choices either made or abandoned.
But, most of all, they’re about love. About the missing puzzle piece which slots into place when you find someone who will not only be your rock, they’ll also lean on you too when no-one else will comfort them.
My only niggle relates to something I won’t spoil which happens late in the story and which, for me, just felt like maybe one dramatic step too far.
Not that it doesn’t fit within the plot, it does, but on top of everything else, it felt more like it was redundant given the other tension arising elements which had worked beautifully for me and which had already driven key moments to fruition.
It also didn’t ruin anything either, which is why it’s only a niggle and not something which affected my enjoyment of the book.
Overall though, this story is a triumph and I cannot wait for more in the series.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review