Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Release Day Review: 5 ★'s for Steadfast (True North #2) by Sarina Bowen

She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.

Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there's no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.

For Sophie Haines, coming face to face with the man who broke her heart is gut-wrenching. Suddenly, he’s everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never turn up volunteer in the church kitchen.

She knows it’s foolish to yearn for the man who returned all the heartsick letters she wrote him in prison. But the looks he sends her now speak volumes.

No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie's police chief father. But it's a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.


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What I thought about Steadfast

After Bittersweet, the first book in the True North series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Jude’s story.

In Steadfast, Sarina Bowen has crafted a beautiful second chance love story against the backdrop of opiate addiction and recovery, a very timely problem that touches so many lives and often doesn’t end well. Jude and Sophie have a difficult path ahead of them, and Steadfast is at times gut-wrenching and had me grabbing at every moment of hope in their journey.  I couldn’t put this book down.

Jude has returned home after leaving the Shipley farm and finds himself in a bit of trouble. There’s temptation all around him while he deals with his drug cravings and his feelings for his  ex-girlfriend, Sophie. Their history is a difficult one and Jude knows they shouldn’t be together, but Sophie and Jude are like moth to flame. I loved these two, especially the determination that runs so deep in both of them. Even so, I wondered for a good part of this book how they were going to be able to make it.

There’s a great cast of secondary characters, including the Shipley family (I’d like to adopt Ruth Shipley as my mom -- can I do that?)  and some darker local characters too. Steadfast is not a fluffy sort of romance, but it’s well worth the ride, especially if you like writing that will make you feel things.

From the very first pages of Sarina Bowen’s introduction, I knew this was going to be a special book. Addiction and recovery is not an easy topic, and Sarina does a perfect job of making you feel just how hard recovery is.  That’s not to say it’s a downer either but it does depict some of the harder moments in life, which only make the good ones all the more beautiful.

I adored Steadfast.  It’s definitely a contender for my best read of 2016. Overall, this is a  well-written series with good writing, finely developed characters, great emotional content and romance that runs the full gamut of emotions. Oh, and did I mention steamy?  Yes, this series has it all. Definitely recommended.

ARC provided for review.


About the Author

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont's Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.


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