Review: Keepsake (and Bittersweet) by Sarina Bowen

Posted October 25, 2016 in Review / 8 Comments

Review: Keepsake (and Bittersweet) by Sarina Bowen


Series: True North #3
by Sarina Bowen
Published by Rennie Road Books on October 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 326
Format: eARC

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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There's a first time for everything. Lark Wainright 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.

Addictive Romance


I bought and read the first book in Sarina Bowen’s True North series, Bittersweet, back in early July 2016 just after it came out.  Unfortunately, I never got around to doing a full review on it but I really loved the escape to a dairy farm and orchard up in Vermont.  I missed her second book, Steadfast, but out TODAY is Keepsake, the third book.

Keepsake tells Zachariah’s unique story.  Up until this point, his quiet nature has led him to keep his past pretty guarded.  Not even his “Han Solo” (Griff from book one) knew why Zach left the place where he grew up at the age of nineteen and hitchhike east.  We finally learn his entire past (WOW!) and, what I love the most, we get to “hear” his voice in the story.  Zach is brilliantly written as completely pure of heart and soul and it’s so wonderful to read a character like that.

What’s even better?  That his new “family” appreciates Zach.  How refreshing is that??!!!

Told in dual POV, the other side of the story is Lark’s.  Lark is May’s roommate from college.  In case you need a refresher, May is Griff’s middle sister.

May invites Lark to visit the Shipley Farm and stay and work the coming apple harvest season.  Lark leaps at the opportunity to escape her parents and Boston.  You see, while Lark was working in South America, she went through a traumatic ordeal where she was kidnapped.  Since she’s returned, her parents have been hovering and shoving her to doctor after doctor trying to “cure” her.  She just doesn’t want to be afraid anymore.  And Lark thinks the “cure” could be some quiet time in Vermont with close friends.

There’s this bunkhouse where all the workers sleep.  Lark is staying in the one bedroom that is in the bunkhouse.  When she wakes up screaming at the top of her lungs every night and waking up all the guys in the bunkhouse, it’s Zach who carefully comes to her rescue to comfort and calm her.  🙂

Since Zach has been a fan favorite from the beginning (errrr, at least in my eyes), there’s been a ton of speculation about who would be his love interest and, more importantly, would they be worthy of this wonderful guy.  Fear not, Lark is quite the interesting match for Zach.  It’s up to you to decide if she’s worthy of Zach.  I, myself, went back and forth on the issue as the story went along.  I personally think they needed (and loved) each other perfectly.

And the ending?  It couldn’t have resolved and ended any other way 🙂




Now, finally, my review for Bittersweet, book one


Review: Keepsake (and Bittersweet) by Sarina Bowen


Series: True North #1
by Sarina Bowen
Published by Rennie Road Books on June 14th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 348
Format: eBook
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The new series is set in Vermont. True North is populated by the tough, outdoorsy mountain men that populate the Green Mountain State. They raise cows and they grow apples. They chop a lot of wood, especially when they need to blow off steam. (Beards are optional but encouraged.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

Addictive Romance


Bittersweet is the first book Sarina Bowen’s newest contemporary romance series, True North.  It’s set in Vermont and Boston and features a big, grumpy, albeit very good looking farmer and a girl from his past who is just trying to do her job… and keep it!

I own a few of Ms. Bowen’s other books but sadly, I haven’t found time to read them.  But after seeing the glowing reviews for this new series, I got up off my butt (figuratively) and purchased the eBook.

A quick read that I read in about one day, I totally adored Ms. Bowen’s world of eco-farming and how she featured the challenges farmers face today as market demands change.   I think I received an education in Northeastern farming and cider brewing at the same time I got my romance on.  Cheers!  ∗clink∗

Yes, the romance…  I adored both Griff and Audrey together.  Besides the fact that they are kind of adversaries (not by Audrey’s choice), this is also a story of second chances for them because they knew each other in college… briefly… twice.  LOVE!!!  Audrey has an entire backstory that is awesome and it fits her personality perfectly.  She’s headstrong, passionate, and works incredibly hard to become a chef.  Unfortunately, that may never make her (crazy) mother happy.

And Griff!  He is not just a dairy farmer with an orchard.  Oh no, this guy majored in chemistry and he puts his smarts to work.  He has to if he’s going to help his family.  He’s definitely grumpy for a reason.

Ya know, do I really have to spend time on this review?  You’ve got a hot, smart, sexy and grumpy farmer with an outstanding supporting cast, toss in a determined, spunky chef and sprinkle liberally with second chance romance and you’ve got happiness!!  Or just a great story from Sarina Bowen…


About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont's Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.




About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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8 responses to “Review: Keepsake (and Bittersweet) by Sarina Bowen

  1. I really love this series. I was wary going into them since I’m a city girl (or suburbs girl rather) and don’t really have any interest in country or farm living but holy cow, these characters have really caught me up in feels and with each book, I grow to love all of them more and more.

    Zach’s book was everything that I hoped it would be and I loved getting to know him. He’s been such a mysterious character (and not in the shady, weird way either) that I wanted to know everything about him. My heart went out to him but also to Lark. Their story wasn’t an easy one but I really enjoyed it. I’m so glad to see that you did as well.

    Bittersweet was great too. I loved Griff and Audrey. I loved seeing them grow together and then seeing Griff help Audrey out with her work after their rocky start. Ha! They were a fun couple and I just love the Shipleys to death. I want to work on their farm!

    Great reviews, Kristin! You should definitely read Jude’s book. I heart him too!