Series: True North #2
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful,
Published by Rennie Road Books on July 12, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Review Copy Provided By: Author
AMZ US Apple Books
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.
I was provided a review copy; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
A heart pounding, tension-filled, emotional ride!
This book! I finished a couple of days ago and I am still thinking about it. The tension was palpable, the feels, omg, the feels! ‘Steadfast’ slayed me!
I knew I was in for a book that would hit me where I “live” when I read this:
I knew it could go either way, especially as I continued reading and found out our heroine was studying to be a social worker. Getting personal here, my degree is in Social Work and I am a certified alcohol and drug counselor. Yeah, I was a little afraid and yet, after reading the above letter, I was also hopeful and knew whatever the outcome, I had mad respect for Sarina Bowen!
I fell in love with Jude in Bittersweet.
He was an ex-con with a tortured soul. He needed some tender lovin’ — yes, I was volunteering. But he left the Shipley farm, and alas, I did not live in Vermont — nor in his fantasy land, so he set off for the 20-mile journey to his hometown and I waited for his book to come out!
‘Steadfast’ picks up right where ‘Bittersweet’ leaves off, with Jude having left the solid, supportive environment of the Shipley’s to the shaky, volatile surroundings of his home and hometown. The place where he lived and worked with his alcoholic father — not the ideal environment for a newly recovering addict to be, and town where the Police Chief and entire police department would be out to get him when they found out he had returned. Talk about stress. The only saving grace for him, was he had hoped his ex-girlfriend, Sophie had left town to study music as she had planned.
I loved the chapter headings!
Cravings Meter for Jude – brilliant! If you know anyone who has ever suffered from addiction, this will be familiar to you. Called different things for different people, it gauges how you are doing, keeping you in the moment. Song titles for the music lover, Sophie – creative! I knew how she was feeling before I began reading. The use of songs evoked the same feelings in me I assumed she was feeling.
Three stories in one! Recovery, love, suspense!
Sarina Bowen did a fabulous job chronicling Jude’s recovery. From struggling with his inner dialogue and stinking thinking, to dealing with outer stressors, we see how incredibly difficult it is for Jude to deal with his demons. My heart broke for him.
The stigma he faced because of his disease of addiction, was unfair. He was judged because he was an addict. Sure, he did things to support his addiction that were not good, and he should be held accountable for those things, but to treat him badly or automatically assume he is worthless because he is an addict is unjust. Yet, it happens to millions of people daily.
I loved this second chance romance, it was healing for Jude and for Sophie. She provided him with strength and support, and he provided her with honesty, attentiveness, and love. They complimented each other in their weaknesses and strengths. I cried with this couple, I laughed with them, I cheered for them.
There was a suspenseful element to this book which came as a surprise to me. So, I will leave it at that so it can be a surprise to you, too. I loved it. Sometimes this can be risky, adding too much, making it over the top. But it was seamlessly executed.
As I was writing my review, this song came on. I knew instantly, it was perfect for this book. But when I saw the video, I knew it needed to be added to my review.
5 HUGE Stars!!! This is only my second book by Sarina Bowen and I can’t wait to read more and OMG OMG OMG book #3, ‘Keepsake’, ZACH! enough said!