Author: Sarina Bowen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 Stars
Heat Rating: 4 Stars
All The Feels: 5+++ Stars
Release Date: October 25th, 2016
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Have you ever read a book that was so good, so perfect, that the second you finish you wish you could forget everything so you can read it again? That’s how it was with Keepsake. Sarina Bowen has this uncanny ability to make you feel every emotion when you read her books- even ones you weren’t aware you even had. Keepsake is no different, a total roller-coaster of feelings from start to finish, and I never wanted the ride to end.
After growing up on a ranch by a polygamist cult, its a complete understatement to say that Zach didn’t have the most normal upbringing. It’s been four year since he’s been kicked out of the group, and Zach is still adjusting to his new life. Living and working on the Shipley’s farm has been so good for him- he loves his job and loves the Shipley’s even more. For the first time, it feels like he is part of a real family. Then, everything changes with Mary Shipley’s best friend- Lark Wainwright– arrives on the farm.
Lark has just been to hell and back. While working overseas, Lark was kidnapped and held hostage. While thankfully she made it out alive, Lark can’t escape what has happened to her. When Mary invites Lark to come spend some time on the family farm, Lark doesn’t have to think twice. Working outdoors, fresh Vermont air, a loving and safe atmosphere and getting away from her hovering parents? It’s a no lose situation for her.
Unfortunately her night terrors and anxiety follow her to the farm, and despite her best attempts to hid it from everyone, there is someone that is on to her. Zach. Lark only knows a few things about Zach- Hardworking. Dedicated. Soft-spoken. Caring. Gorgeous. Virgin– but even so, she finds herself trusting in him immediately. The two of them start to grow closer and closer and even though Zach has had next to zero experience with women, he knows there is something more than friendship between the two of them.
They cross the line from friends to lovers, and just when it seems like everything is coming together, it falls apart. Can they get past their demons and find their HEA?
First of all, I have to say I LOVE ZACH. He’s the good guy with a heart of gold type that will always be there for the people he cares about. He is so swoony and romantic, without even realizing he is. While he is a tad naive and awkward in social situations, due to the way he was brought up, he is wise and mature, and surprisingly quite the little dirty talker. 😉 And don’t think just because he is a virgin when the book starts that there are no steamy scenes, well, you would be very mistaken. When he spoke about his past, it hits you hard in the gut because there are real polygamist cults out there with children going through things he went through.
Lark’s story really hurt my heart. And while what happened to her obvious has a huge impact on her life, it doesn’t define her. The horrific things she had gone through turned her into a survivor, yet she doesn’t play the victim. She is going through a time when she is very vulnerable, yet is still strong. She has all these walls up to protect herself, but slowly let’s them down. Her journey is extremely touching.
But let’s talk the relationship between Zach and Lark. They have this connection right away, and their friendship is pretty adorable. However, there is some sexual tension between them, so much that you could feel it sizzling between them. The chemistry they have between them makes you forget they are not real people. However, it’s not all smooth sailing between them, there are obvious complications with bumps in the road. But the way they react to those makes it all the more genuine.
One my favorite things about Sarina Bowen’s books is the way she not only brings the main characters to life, but the secondary characters as well. You have to make them interesting enough that readers want to know more about them, but not to the point that they steal the show from the hero and heroine. Sarina nails it every freaking time. It’s impossible to read one of her books and not think about other characters you want books for. In Keepsake alone, I have three of four side characters I need books for. That’s a remarkable talent.
In previous reviews for the True North, I’ve mentioned how much I love the entire Shirpley family, but let me just state again- It’s impossible not to love this family!! I particularly loved how they treated Zach, it was very heartwarming. There is also a sweet friendship between May and Lark. It was also great seeing more of Griffin & Audrey, and Jude and Sophie. I’m hoping there will be more to the series!
You need to read this book. It’s one of my favorite reads this year. Hands down.