Series: True North #3
on October 25th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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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.
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 sheÔÇÖs 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 farmersÔÇÖ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares donÔÇÖt 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. ItÔÇÖs been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. HeÔÇÖs found a peaceful existence on the ShipleyÔÇÖs farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesnÔÇÖt always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, heÔÇÖd never watched TV or spoken on the phone.
Actually, there are a lot of things heÔÇÖs never done.
Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than theyÔÇÖd 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.
The True North series is one of my favorites this year. I’ve fallen hard for the Shipley clan & taken to drinking hard cider (YUM & bonus – I got curious since had never really given it a thought before). Sarina Bowen has managed to pull on different heart strings with each book. In Bittersweet, it was the second chance romance/love story for Griffin and Audrey. In Steadfast, it was Jude’s addiction and the much needed redemption & forgiveness from his one true love Sophie. In Keepsake, it’s Zachs and Larks story as both face incredible feelings of isolation & loneliness and work towards healing themselves, each other and towards finding hope.
Zach has always been a mystery and his story, how he ended up at the Shipley farm is one that is remarkable. It’s the perfect environment for a young man with his history, the perfect place to heal. Zachs loneliness can be felt bone deep but it’s balanced by Zachs awareness at the bounty that he has found with the Shipleys. He’s just so very gracious and I found myself choking back tears at both the sad and happy aspects. Zach is guarded and seems resigned to whatever fate brings his way which is exactly why he deserves so much more.
When May’s friend Lark ends up at the Shipley farm for an extended stay, it’s providence that Zach would be able to be there for her. Bowen does an amazing job of making this feel right, what Zach is and can do for her is not forced or contrived. He’s been holistically created to be that guy that can help Lark work through the PTSD she’s experiencing and doing a fairly good job keeping it in check. Lark is a spitfire with a strong sense of herself so seeing her experience panic attacks and the like made me uneasy. Something is buried deep and as much as you know she has to face it down to get past it, well that left me frightened.
As to their chemistry – it’s off the charts hot and sweet and I wanted nothing more then for them to find a way to be together. Their relationship developed at a great pace. Bowen plots the story line perfectly to introduce stressors and obstacles. There are a few new characters that help this along and revelations that gave me a few “aha” moments. As the story closed I felt myself wanting to start the whole series again. The writing is clever and eloquent, so much so that I find myself slowing down my normal reading to pace to make sure I capture it all. Zach and Larks story couldn’t have been any more perfect and it it the perfect ending to this stellar series and a rare #mustread recommendation!
~Review by Cyndi