This is the third of the True North series, Keepsake by Sarina Bowen! I was really looking forward to this release since Zach was my favorite character in the series, and I couldn’t wait to read his side of the story.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published Date: October 25th 2016
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Synopsis: 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.
**ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review**
Let’s start with what I really love about Keepsake. The book had some pretty heavy issues going on with both characters; where they were both fighting their own demons and were looking for where they stood in their world. Yet, as with all Sarina’s work, she laid out the situation quite simply without overdramatizing and did not try to over complicate the issue; which is what I really like about her works. There was also the slow-burn romance was perfect for the two wounded characters who needed their own space and time to heal and find each other.
While I am not the biggest fan of the whole, suddenly finding “THE GIRL” to be the only one who stands out from the crowd and how everything about her was wonderful. Yet it works for the shy Zach and lively Lark.
I was curious as to how innocent quiet Zach would end up with his other half, and I was happy he had found something with Lark. He was always my favorite character right from the first book, and so to learn more and to hear his side of the story was really nice.
“A man didn’t bitch about his aches and pains.”
Zach turned out to be so much more than I expected, and was a very strong character – mentally, physically and emotionally. He was also sweet, thoughtful and inherently good. Plus, how could you not love a guy who loved reading and who enjoys Harry Potter!
“…they were wrong. I’d been to Middle Earth and Hogwarts and Dickensian London all in the past month or so. The difference between living on a ranch where books were banned and a farm where books were freely discussed and traded could not be underestimated.”
He was an extremely good listener, held his own when necessary and was a solid support.
“I can handle it, Lark. Just lean on me. I’ll be our Apostate Farm.”
Zach had his own insecurities, and despite having grown up in a difficult environment, and was abandoned by the people who raised him; this book did a good job with his journey and his discovery of being loved and accepted. There were many times I had just wanted to hug him.
Then there was Lark, who used to be fearless…in that youthful-everything-is-an-adventure kinda way.
“…I’d always had this crazy idea that the adventure would be over if I didn’t do everything the hard way.”
And the “hard way” was what changed her life, having been exposed to an extremely traumatic experience which left her with horrible nightmares and a strong need to escape her overbearing parents. Lark gives us a glimpse of the horrors people who suffer PTSD goes through: their difficulty explaining what had happened to themselves and the difficulty dealing with their terror.
“My dragons took long naps on their chains and forgot to frighten me with their fiery roar.”
When we first meet Lark, she has gone through so much and is just trying to find a sense of peace…it takes her awhile before she is able to accept that there’s only so far someone can run from their “dragons” before they need to turn, face it and fight back.
While she does all that, in a wonderful way, I didn’t find myself to be as enchanted with her. I couldn’t really connect with Lark, or perhaps I’m not supposed to? I think I gave the book 4 stars because I couldn’t really connect with her.
“The Shipleys were kind to me simply because they were kind people”
Thats really the best way to describe the Shipleys. As always I love the Shipley family! They make the book so much better! The warmth and their concern for Zach was beautiful. The way they embraced Lark into their fold and made her one of their own, was just heartwarming and wonderful. I had previously mentioned that I believe EVERYONE needs a Shipley crew in their life!
Would I recommend this? Yes, of course, especially if you’re looking for a slow-burn romance and a virgin hero; with some drama but nothing overly angst. It can be an intense read but it’s definitely worth the journey! Despite my disconnect with Lark, she is still a strong heroine dealing with her issues and accepting Zach the way he is…and sometimes in life thats all we really need. We just want to be accepted and find someone to love and love us in return; and this is just the story which explores this issue very well!
Have you read the book? If you have, what did you think about it? Did you love it? What did you love about it? If you didn’t what did you not like about it? If you’ve not read it, would this be something you’d pick up? Would love to know what you thought, looking forward to hearing from you!