Monday, 31 October 2016

Keepsake (True North #3) by Sarina Bowen


There's a first time for everything.

Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he's good for much more than farm labor.

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: October 2016.

I've been a huge fan of Sarina Bowen's for a while now, her writing goes from strength to strength for me, the True North series has easily captured my heart, but Keepsake was something else entirely, it was special in the way that the author's words spoke directly to my heart, every moment had me lost in the story, eager for more and yet desperate to savour every little nuance. Keepsake was everything I look for in a book, the sweet and blissful interspersed with heartbreak made this the kind of book that will stay with me long after I turn the last page.

"Lying in a girls bed was not something I'd ever done before last week. Touching people didn't come easily to me. But Lark didn't have the same hang ups."

Zack intrigued me from the moment he was introduced in Bittersweet, he was quiet and reserved, funny and sweet, the ultimate hard worker, he was dedicated to his duties and in turn to the Shipley's. His upbringing in a religious cult formed the man he is in so many ways, but the last four years spent in Vermont also has a huge impact on his mental well being and character, now free  from the life he once knew, Zack has grown exponentially, letting people  in, loving the friends that have become his family, finally a part of the world around him, Zack is experiencing all kinds of things he never knew about and finding someone he wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with was something he expected until Lark came crashing back into his life.

"But lust isn't shameful, no matter what they used to tell you. Now's your chance to stick it to 'em. Name a desire. It doesn't even have to be realistic."
Lark was once the life of the party, she was fearless, ready to take on the world, any challenge she was game to tackle, until her work transfer to Guatemala ended with her being kidnapped from the busy street market and held captive. Returning to her normal life seemed impossible, crippled by guilt and shame over what transpired, nightmares that won't abate, and feeling like she's a burden on her parents, she jumps at the chance to spend some time in Vermont, picking apples and forgetting everything that happened that changed her from the fun loving girl she once was.

"You're so much more than a bad memory. I love you and even if my life is kind of a mess right now, I still want you in it."
When Lark and Zark meet again for the second time there was something there, like two souls recognising their mate, while they both seem okay on the outside, they are harbouring past hurts that have the ability to break them. When Lark's nightmares leave her screaming in her sleep, Zack is the one who provides comfort. It was in those quiet moments that Keepsake easily became one of my favourites of 2016. Their connection was tangible, their chemistry unmistakable, knowing that Zack offered comfort without expectation, seeing the light return to Lark's eyes only served to make Zack more endearing. Keepsake was more than just a story, more than just a romance novel, it was a beautiful combination of lust, heartbreak and happiness. For fans of this series, reconnecting with the Shipley's and Jude only made this story more special. Zack proved to be the kind of hero that I love, strong, sure, a man with a pure and good heart, everything about him made me smile, he came from a place that could of ruined him, but instead he found himself thriving, meeting Lark changed him again, and allowed him to push past his comfort zone and become a new version of an already good man who loved his lady wholeheartedly, without fear. Lark left me in awe of the woman she became, her tenacity and perseverance showed her strength. Keepsake filled with elegant prose, and heady romance left me sated and yet desperate for more, but what I truly loved was how this story beautifully captured the essence of true life, showcasing two people fighting for their chance at something good, happiness in all it's forms, showing that those with pasts that threaten to defeat them overcome anything. Keepsake imprinted itself on my heart, scoring itself on my soul, leaving me cheering for these two characters that felt so real. Beautifully written, Bowen ensured that this is a story I won't soon forget.

About Sarina Bowen:

Sarina Bowen is the USA Today bestselling author of steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction. She lives in the wilds of New England.

She is the author of The Ivy Years, an award-winning series set amid the hockey team at an elite Connecticut college. Also, the The Gravity series.

With Elle Kennedy, Sarina is the author of the RITA award winning HIM, and its sequel, US.

NEW IN 2016: Two New Series!

Sarina has begun a new Vermont contemporary romance series, True North. She's also unrolled new hockey novels from Penguin Berkley including Rookie Move.

Sarina enjoys skiing, espresso drinks and the occasional margarita. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.

Connect with Sarina on Facebook

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