Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance / NA
Release Date: 25th October, 2016
Published by Rennie Road Books
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.
READ THE FIRST CHAPTER HERE
Kindle Friends Forever: ✸✸✸✸✸ Stars
Reviewed by Rachel & Sharon Thérèse
This book is truly a labour of love in all aspects and we can’t praise the author enough for offering us such an extraordinarily well-written book. It warms your heart, makes you smile, plunders your hopes only to pick you up and give you back everything you’ve ever wished for. It’s difficult to put down but at the same time, this is a read to be savoured. Don’t rush it; turn the pages as if it were the last one and simply sit back and enjoy. Can it be read as a standalone? I think we’re going to be adventurous and say yes! As the saying goes, “Every book tells its story” and it couldn’t be more true in this series.
“Your fine here, Lark. Everything is fine.”
Sometimes we love so much and are so concerned for the well-being of others that we have to take a step back and give them space and time to heal. Zachariah has the patience and faith to do this. Even though he’s innocent, he’s old beyond his years and has an acuity we could all learn from. A tough start in life doesn’t stop the poor lad from making an effort to better his position. The simplest of things we take for granted were for him, huge. But he’s astute, picks things up quickly and to say he’s hard-working would be putting it lightly. In fact, he wore us out just reading about his willingness to help everyone who had been so kind to him since he’d found his sanctuary. Zach is a thinker. He keeps his feelings to himself, every move he makes is calculated and not one of them was disputable. And listen to this. . . he’s built like a freakin’ brick-house! But that isn’t the reason we fell head over heels for him. His generous heart won us over.
“I’ll be your Apostate Farm.
Lark Wainwright isn’t the ‘Wild Child’ she used to be. The support and love her parents have for her isn’t enough to overcome a traumatic experience. She’d lost her self-confidence for reasons to be revealed in the story; nonetheless, she’s desperately trying to get her old sassy-self-back. She puts on a brave face and goes to visit her bestie. Her destiny’s place is her refuge. But is it? If we’d had the opportunity to land where she did, we’d be in our element and we thought it had the perfect ambience for her recovery. However, all is not what it seems.
“I was such a perfect wreck.”
Lark is surrounded by the most comprehensible family that anyone could ask for. They’re all delightful, so damn lovable and don’t ask questions. We have to include the man who runs the show with the precision of a Swiss watch and whose grumpiness never outweighed his concern for Lark. Or for that matter, the love of his life, his family or his workers. Griffin. Ooh, for the likes of our mere souls, this guy is in the whole of the series, our man!
“Have fun Wild Child. Stay loose, Zach.”
Since every single one of Griff’s family have their own well-developed characters and their own day to day problems exquisitely described by the author, you must read this book to appreciate the utter beauty of it. All the goings on at Shipley farm which for us, was paradise, is much more than we could have imagined. The scenery, orchards and the process of picking, distilling and getting the end product to the market is a lesson in itself. Reading this series will provoke your taste buds to try such as is the variety of apples grown on Griffin’s farm. You’ll want to taste the scrumptious apple tarts, mouth-watering cakes, jelly, jam or better still, their finest cider made from the best apples on the planet!
“What’s on the agenda today”
Now then, we have to mention how delightful is was watching Zach and Lark’s relationship blossom. Oops, pun unintended! It’s not an easy-peasy ride for these two young adults. Zach has trust issues and Lark is afraid she’ll break the most beautiful man who has ever entered her world. They have to find themselves, learn to reach out to each other and while the clock is ticking away, make some life-changing decisions. Their chemistry is undeniable, though. We were so grateful that the author held back on the passionate scenes. If you like reads where the protagonists jump into the sack and wham bam thank you ma’am, you might be a tad disappointed. That being said, their constant eye contact blinded us and we loved how the sexual tension simmered just below the surface. Wait for it though. . . it’s coming. When it does explode, we were left breathless! We never expected ugly cry moments which consequently reduced us to a babbling mess, so get your man-sized tissues ready!
“Sex is ten percent skill and ninety percent listening. Who’s a better listener than you?
“What am I listening for?”
“You’ll know as soon as you hear it.”
The companionship, light-hearted ribbing and overflowing banter in a solid plot sold us lock, stock and barrel. The story is told in past tense which isn’t one of our fave narrative techniques. Nonetheless, never once was our reading enjoyment hindered by it. The dual point of view used was a real plus as we had the opportunity to delve into the thoughts of Zach and Lark.
“Is it egotistical of me to ask whether I’ve ever made it into your best dreams?”
“They’re all about you.”
After getting to know all members of this family so well, one of us was a bit concerned at the ending. There isn’t a cliffy as such but she felt there was space for more revelations and would’ve liked to have seen the celebration of an important event. With a sigh of relief on her part, a little dicky bird whispered in her ear and now she’s a happy bunny! Ms Bowen, this offering is a true KEEPSAKE! Keep on writing ‘cause we’ll definitely keep on reading. . . BRAVO!
A couple of our fave quotes:
“Maybe you had pleasant dreams after four thirty. But after treating the rest of us to basically a porno sound track, it was woody city in the bunk room.”
“I’m so sick of being of afraid.”
“You don’t have to be anymore. If anyone wants to get you, they’ll have to go through me.”
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The True North Series
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Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and New Adult fiction from the wilds of Vermont.
Her Ivy Years and Brooklyn Bruisers books are hockey romance novels. These two connected series began breaking hearts in 2014 with The Year We Fell Down. See http://www.sarinabowen.com for updates.
HIM and US are the bestselling, hockey LGBT novels co-written with Elle Kennedy. HIM is also a finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award.
For lovers of angsty snowboarders, Sarina also writes the Gravity series, featuring snow sports heroes.
Sarina enjoys skiing, coffee products and a nice glass of wine. She lives with her family, six chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.
She would be honored to connect with you at http://www.sarinabowen.com.