Steadfast by Sarina Bowen

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

SteadfastSteadfast by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North, Book Two
Release Date: July 12, 2016
Pages: 313 • Format: eARC
Published By: Rennie Road Books
Purchase Links:
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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.

 

five-stars

 

It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. ~ Saint Augustine. 

Goodness. This was gorgeous.

I have a confession to make. I stopped reading hetero contemporary romance because 90% of the female leads got on my nerves for one reason or another. There was always something that kept me from connecting with them and I gave up, but kudos to Sarina Bowen for bringing me back to the genre. I connected so much with Sophie and got lost in who she was and how she loves Jude. Sophie is stunning in her unwavering love and loyalty to Jude. From their first meeting together as young teens in high school, she knew where she stood with him and she knew what being with him meant and she took it all. I absolutely loved her! I cried with her numerous times, fretted with her over choices and fell in love with her first love right along with her. The backstory of Jude and Sophie is a romance all by itself but seeing them fight their way to another level of love and togetherness was breathtaking and was a special treat to read. It really solidifies who they are as individuals and how they came to be this devoted couple. To exclude their past would have been a shame and I am so happy we get all the important parts of their history.

The title of this book, it’s so true for their love… it’s steadfast. It’s forever.

They are forever.

Sophie is the daughter of the police chief and dating the tattooed bad boy of the town is not looked highly upon by daddy dearest. But she doesn’t care. Jude is the only person in her life who gives a damn about her and shows it. He is the only person who truly listens to her and always has. But Jude is hiding a dark secret of addiction from Sophie and everyone close to him and one fateful ride with her brother, changes their lives forever.

When the accident happens and the family is told, Sophie is sad for the loss of her brother but she repeatedly asks about Jude. She needs to know that Jude is okay and when he is sentenced to prison for manslaughter, she writes him but all her letters are refused. It breaks her heart that Jude has rejected her and yet, he is never far from her mind or her heart for the three plus years he is gone.

Goodness. I knew when I met Jude in Bittersweet he was going to be an amazing character and seeing him this way just solidifies my intuition. I love Jude. He is this strong and amazing man who has made some terrible choices in his life and carries the weight of it and more on his shoulders. So much that he wants is wrapped up in his sobriety and in Sophie. It’s twisted, it’s turbulent and it’s terrific.

I have a soft spot for characters with addictions. There is something that tugs at me to see the struggle to stay sober and the redeeming of the wrongs that have been made. It’s not an easy thing, overcoming addiction and it’s not easy trying to understand someone with addition. The author did a beautiful job of showing how Jude fights it, how he feels from day to day and that he knows it would be so easy to slip and just give in but he wants more than the chase of a high. He wants a life and he can’t have that if he falls off the wagon.

Wow. The twists and turns this book takes really brings it to another level. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t but it was good. It was hard to read and broke my heart but it was all worth it.

This was just a wonderful romance. I held my breath waiting for the first face to face meeting with Jude and Sophie and it was beyond my expectations. Everything about this book was beyond what I was expecting and while it seems like a simple second chance romance, it’s so much more. I loved that Sophie never gave up, that she dug into the accident to get the answers no one would give her. I loved that Jude finally found a home with the Shipley’s and how special Thursday’s became to him and to me. It wouldn’t be part of Jude’s story if we didn’t visit the Shipley farm (why do I find it poetic that Jude lost everything crashing into an apple tree and found his life again working on an apple farm?) and get that feeling of home and acceptance he craved. Oh and the bits with Zach… can I just say I am jonseing for his story! Yeah, Keepsake is going to be so good.

But back to Jude and Sophie. They owned me. This was so sweet and so freaking sexy and just so good that I am once again doing my rambling thing and if you know me, that means something.  I know I have said a lot already but I just loved the hell out of this book. It amazes me to write that and it shocks me that I am giving it five stars but it deserves it. Yeah, this book was so damn good and I can’t help but sigh at the whole of it and fall head over heels for both Jude and Sophie.

One last thing. When I read the “Dear Reviewer” note from the author at the beginning of this book I was floored. It was so heartfelt and emotional I had a feeling if the book made me feel one eighth of what the note did, I would fall head over heels in love with this story. Score one for a gingers institution.

About Sarina Bowen

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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