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Steadfast by Sarina Bowen
Release Date: 12th July 2016
She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.
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.
Of Sarina’s solo work, DJ is a favourite hero that has gone unrivalled until now. It’s her characters that battle vulnerability in order to overcome that appeal most to me, and with Jude, Sarina created a character I wanted to shield and exalt in the same breathe. He’s a character that deserves so much more than his lot in life and taking the journey with him was such an unexpected engaging experience. Jude’s drug addiction is a constant battle and I appreciate Sarina’s realism is portraying the struggle, as well as the problems faced by someone in his position.
From his brief introduction in Bittersweet, Jude’s story was begging to be told. A recovering drug addict, he paid his price with a three year jail sentence and the loss of the person who has meant the most to him his whole life – his girlfriend, Sophie. The last six months have spent picking apples on a farm with a family that have helped him in ways he cannot begin to count. It’s with their encouragement Jude can face the daunting prospect of moving back home as his rehabilitation of sorts comes to an end.
Sophie Haines lost more than her brother in the crash that killed him. She lost her family as she knew it, and as the driver of the car – the love of her life, Jude. For the last three years she has been unable to heal. Her questions have gone unanswered, the constant resentment from her family has been taking it’s toll, but most hurtful was the unbearable silence from Jude.
Seeing no way to atone for the death of her brother in the car he was driving, Jude resolves to stay out of Sophie’s way as much as possible. But living in a small town, it’s not long until their lives once again collide.
Coming face to face again brings an onslaught of mixed emotions and dangerous hopes for the future. I thoroughly enjoyed this highly emotive, second chance romance. Theirs is a love story that was cut down in it’s prime, but despite the time and distance their love has remained steadfast. Jude stole my heart in a major way but it’s absolutely worth commenting on Sophie’s character also. As the one left behind to pick up the pieces she is commendable in her ability to endure as much as she did in the aftermath.
Steadfast is a wonderful addition to Sarina’s True North Series and i’m looking forward to what Zach’s promises to bring.