New Release Review | Steadfast 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.

Sarina Bowen wrote in one of her newsletters that someone told her no one would like Jude because he wasn’t “heroic” enough. No, Jude is most definitely not your typical romance novel hero, but he is one of the best I have ever read. If not, THEE best.
He’s far from perfect. He’s done bad things. He’s contaminated his precious body and life with harmful drugs.
BUT he managed to dig himself out of the massive grave he constructed for himself. His story is heartbreaking and dark, but it’s also very beautiful and inspiring. With every dark thought comes an illuminating petal of hope. 

I was intrigued by Jude when he was introduced in the first book of this series. However, I had no idea how invested I would become once I started reading his story. 
The topics involved in this book were written so tastefully. I felt every single second of Jude’s pain and withdrawals. The emotions, while devastating, were so powerful and breathtaking. I loved the creative way the author showed us Jude’s cravings and in turn gave us Sophie’s “internal playlist”.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Sophie at first, but the more I read about her past with Jude, the more she snuggled into my heart. Her life isn’t so joyous either. I rapidly grew an enormous amount of respect for all that she was doing and putting up with. It was plain to see that she not only lost Jude the night he was arrested, but she lost herself too.

Seeing the Shipley farm and family make appearances brought such warmth into my own heart, much as it did for Jude. To him, that’s his place of solace, and the author has done a beautiful job of making it feel like that for the reader, as well.

I implore you to purchase this book as to not miss out on this glorious story of faith and survival. Survival of manipulative and abusive family members. Survival of drug addiction. Survival of being torn away from the love of your life. Survival of life itself and its many misfortunes.

The first book in this series was adorable and sexy, the second, steamy and dark, yet uplifting, the third…I can only imagine what Bowen will conjure up for Zach’s story. I have a feeling it’ll be just as intense and magical.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

Farmers make the earth move.
The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago. 
At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.
Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous cider-making lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.
They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.


Zach's book.

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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