Release day review: STEADFAST (TRUE NORTH #2)
by Sarina Bowen
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.
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*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
We met Jude in Bittersweet, book 1 in the True North series, and you can read my review here. While it could be read as a standalone, I suggest you read book 1 first, as most of the characters featuring there make several appearances in Steadfast.
Jude has been battling to stay clean from his drug issues after he got out of jail, where he was sent after he had a car accident driving under the influence and his passenger (his ex-girlfriend's brother) died. While living at the Shipley's farm, it was relatively easy, because he had no means how to go anywhere, but now that he's back in his hometown and having to live with the guilt of what he did, it gets increasingly difficult to curb his cravings.
Sophie's life after her brother died hasn't been all that great and on top of that, now her ex-boyfriend, the only man she's loved since she was seventeen is back in town, wrecking havoc with her emotions.
I don't know how many times my heart broke for Jude while I read Steadfast. But at the same time, I was so proud of him for wanting to stay clean, both because of his guilt and because of his strength and love for Sophie and do all he could to become a better man. He was so strong and I adored the way he treated Sophie.
Sarina outdid herself with this book, not only was it obvious that she did extensive research on drug addiction and recovery, but she also wrote it all in a very sensitive manner.
Sophie was lovely and definitely not a timid wallflower, I loved her strength of character and how she stood for what she considered the right thing, no matter who she had to go against.
I especially liked the glimpses into their past—and reading how they met and fell in love—interspersed with the present. And of course, having the Shipley family play such a big part in the book was a huge treat!
This book had it all, romance, friendship and a very good, suspense-filled mystery with quite a few twists. It was well-written, fast-paced and very plot-driven. And while I adored Bittersweet, I think Steadfast is my favorite of the two. Very recommendable!
Rating: 5 Stars!!!