Steadfast by Sarina Bowen – Jenn’s Review

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I will read anything Sarina writes.


5 stars


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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We first meet Jude in Bittersweet, and to be honest, he was very much a background character for me. I wasn’t certain how much story was there, especially one as moving as it was destined to fail. As a recovering drug addict, who just finished serving time, Jude is just trying to rebuild his life. With no other choice, he heads to his hometown to attempt to do that. Jude’s addiction was at the forefront of the story, and a driving factor.  The way Bowen handled Jude’s addiction was authentic and powerful. Every minute of every day was a struggle for him, and that was so very honest in the writing. It seemed I was always holding my breath, praying for Jude to stay strong.

Sophie’s struggle was just as heartbreaking. Remaining at home to care for her despondent mother, Sophie is living a half-life, when the only boy she ever loved, the only one she can never have, comes back to town. Sophie and Jude’s reunion is expected, but the heightened emotions had my heart racing. For a couple with such a deep history, their reunion was unhurried and raw. The loyalty Sophie showed Jude while they dug into a mystery, the outcome of which had the positional to rock their small town, was nothing short of stunning.

I cannot imagine how difficult this book was for Bowen to write. To say it was an emotional read would be a massive understatement. The emotion spilled off of every page, from start to finish. I was not expecting to be so moved by this story, though by now, I know Bowen never disappoints.

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