Review: Keepsake by Sarina Bowen


Title: Keepsake (True North #3)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Genre: Contemporary romance, Small-town
Release Date: 25 Oct 2016

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My rating: 5 Stars


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.


This is the third book in Sarina Bowen's True North series of small town romances set in Vermont and in it we return the Shipley's farm which was the setting of book 1.

While I was not a huge fan of Bittersweet and quite enjoyed Steadfast (Jude's story) and I absolutely loved Zachariah and Lark in Keepsake. We met Zach in the first book, and was taken with him right away - a virgin hero raised in cult, who was cast away and is now trying to make it in the world on his own. I couldn't wait to read more about him and his story delivered and then some.

Zach is as perfect as one can be while also being very real - hard working, hard loving, loyal and honest and all too good looking. It's easy to overdo his lack of knowledge of the real world and fall in the traps of presenting him as way too naive/sheltered. Luckily, this was not the case. Zach had missed iconic moments of history and lacked most of pop culture knowledge but he was not totally clueless about sex and sexual attraction and he has managed to fit in the world rather well.

He is a complex character who made mistakes but genuinely wanted to help, to be useful, to be needed and loved, such a universal human emotion. He had his own abandonment issues to deal with together with the feelings of doubt and insecurity of not being good enough.

And Lark was wonderful too. She was Zach's opposite in so many ways - world savvy, experienced but when they met she was lost and confused and lived in fear. Her issues and the consequences of her ordeal in Guatemala were far more serious that anyone thought. They all missed the signs of how shaken up she really was, she was good at hiding and pretending. Even with Zach. I appreciate how her PTSD was presented and treated as a serious issue, not downplayed or used just for thrills. love can't cure and can't solve all. It took a lot of effort and time but the end result made it worth it.

My only quibble is with the epilogue. While I love me a good epilogue, it felt superfluous here, didn't really add anything significant to the story. Still, it did hint at potential new stories in the series and I hope Sarina Bowen will get to write them. 

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks

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