Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: July 12th, 2016
Rating: 5 Stars
Heat Rating: 4.5 Stars
All The Feels Rating: 5++++ Stars
Series: True North #2- Can be read as a standalone!
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Normally I’m so indecisive when it comes to my favorite Sarina Bowen book. It often changes with my mood and there is never a wrong answer. However, after reading Steadfast I can say it is now, hands down, my favorite one. This book is one emotional roller-coaster and I never wanted the ride to end. So hold on tight, because this one has drops, loops, and twists and turns that will leave your head spinning and your heart pounding. In the best possible way.
When Jude’s job at the Shipley‘s farm is over, he finds himself back in his hometown, one of the last places he wants to be. For an ex-con and recovering drug addict, being back in Colebury, Vermont means the memories are too strong and the drug offers are right around the corner. Not to mention Sophie Haines is also in Colebury, which is equally awesome and awful to Jude.
Jude has always been in the back of Sophie’s mind, no matter if she wants him there or not. There are so many reasons why Sophie shouldn’t spare Jude a single thought, let alone miss him but you can’t always control your mind. Or your broken heart.
Small towns aren’t usually on your side when attempting to avoid someone, and it’s only a matter of time before Jude and Sophie run into each other. The more time they spend together, the more the spark grows between the two of them- the spark that never really faded out. However, it’s not that easy or simple. No one wants the two of them to be together, even Jude and Sophie themselves at times. There are struggles to overcome. Mistakes to forgive. Bridges to rebuild. But sometimes, just sometimes, love does really conquer all.
Sarina Bowen truly deserves a round of applause for Steadfast, particularly with Jude’s character. He was so raw, so genuine, that at times I had to remind myself he wasn’t a real person. I felt his heartache and his regret. I felt his shame and his pride. I felt his desire to change and grow. I felt his cravings for the drugs he wants nothing to do with. Jude’s recovery journey wasn’t always easy to read. My heart broke for him and admittedly, I shed a lot of tears. His character was a reminder that we shouldn’t write off people struggling with addiction, or judge their journey with it. That even good people make stupid mistakes, and those stupid mistakes shouldn’t completely define what kind of person they are. I can’t enough how much I ❤ Jude.
Jude doesn’t completely steal the show, because Sophie is a great character as well. The struggles Sophie feels with her feelings for Jude are believable and at times heartbreaking. She had a battle to get through between what is right and wrong, though she finds it isn’t always so black and white. Her family life isn’t the best, yet she remains a positive, selfless person. I loved the little side story featuring Sophie’s job, it was very sweet and touching.
You also got to see some familar faces in this book, featuring Audrey and the whole Shipley gang. In addiction to Sophie, they are a positive light in Jude’s life, and I loved seeing his bond with them grow even more in this book.
Steadfast is truly an incredible read, that you don’t want to miss. Yes, it’s dark at times. Yes, it keeps you on the edge of your seat- or in my case, turning my stomach into butterfly conservatory. But it’s also touching, heartwarming and when it’s all said and done, is a true feel good read.
With Elle Kennedy, Sarina is the author of HIM and US.
COMING IN 2016: Two New Series!
Stay tuned for a new Vermont contemporary romance series, True North, and 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.