This one was definitely the best out of all three. Loved it! All the Same characters as before and great dynamics. I was laughing so hard at certain parts. Def recommend read. Also some heartbreaking parts as well.
Lark & Zach! oh man
I tend to flock to Sarina’s cult-themed books. I love them all! and this one did not not not disappoint! I love how she works in the family and alllll of the characters work so well together! I could read this book over and over again.
Another #Mustread by Sarina Bowen
By Cyndi Becker
The True North series is one of my favorites this year. I've fallen hard for the Shipley clan & taken to drinking hard cider (YUM & bonus - I got curious since had never really given it a thought before). Sarina Bowen has managed to pull on different heart strings with each book. In Bittersweet, it was the second chance romance/love story for Griffin and Audrey. In Steadfast, it was Jude's addiction and the much needed redemption & forgiveness from his one true love Sophie. In Keepsake, it's Zachs and Larks story as both face incredible feelings of isolation & loneliness and work towards healing themselves, each other and towards finding hope.
Zach has always been a mystery and his story, how he ended up at the Shipley farm is one that is remarkable. It's the perfect environment for a young man with his history, the perfect place to heal. Zachs loneliness can be felt bone deep but it's balanced by Zachs awareness at the bounty that he has found with the Shipleys. He's just so very gracious and I found myself choking back tears at both the sad and happy aspects. Zach is guarded and seems resigned to whatever fate brings his way which is exactly why he deserves so much more.
When May's friend Lark ends up at the Shipley farm for an extended stay, it's providence that Zach would be able to be there for her. Bowen does an amazing job of making this feel right, what Zach is and can do for her is not forced or contrived. He's been holistically created to be that guy that can help Lark work through the PTSD she's experiencing and doing a fairly good job keeping it in check. Lark is a spitfire with a strong sense of herself so seeing her experience panic attacks and the like made me uneasy. Something is buried deep and as much as you know she has to face it down to get past it, well that left me frightened.
As to their chemistry - it's off the charts hot and sweet and I wanted nothing more then for them to find a way to be together. Their relationship developed at a great pace. Bowen plots the story line perfectly to introduce stressors and obstacles. There are a few new characters that help this along and revelations that gave me a few "aha" moments. As the story closed I felt myself wanting to start the whole series again. The writing is clever and eloquent, so much so that I find myself slowing down my normal reading to pace to make sure I capture it all. Zach and Larks story couldn't have been any more perfect and it it the perfect ending to this stellar series and a rare #mustread recommendation!
Review: True North 3: Keepsake
Keepsake by Sarina Bowen is the third standalone novel in her True North series. While books one (Bittersweet) and two (Steadfast) don't HAVE to be read to enjoy this book, the timeline is continuous throughout the series. Also, the other books are equally as fabulous!
I really thought nothing could top the emotions that Jude and Sophie's book evoked but good Lord, this one was pretty darn close. Zach and Lark are so utterly different from each other. From their backgrounds to their upbringing and their views on life, except in all the ways that matter. They are such a great couple and their back and forth, their deliberation and Lark's healing process was so extremely well-written this book practically reads itself. I loved it! Enjoy!
By Pirate 6
This series is wonderful!! These characters are amazing $ the story is so well written!
The Perfect Man
By Toni FGMAMTC
Zach had a difficult life growing up in a cult where he had no worth except as a work horse. He wasn't fed enough, educated properly or loved. He was whipped harshly and still has the scars. He was never shown how to be a good person, but he's practically a saint. He's first to volunteer help in any situation, and he truly cares about people.
Lark has always been an adventure-seeker. She's traveled the world and had crazy times. Because of her free nature, she didn't put much stock into safety, until she was kidnapped abroad. She's suffering from PTSD. Trying to outrun her issues, she visits the Shipley's farm.
I like Lark. Even with fear and depression trying to take hold in her life, she has a spark in her personality that draws you to her. Between the two of them, Zach is the one who's inexperienced sexually. I like that. He's a big, tall, muscled, thoughtful, quiet, intelligent sweetheart. I LOVE Zach. He is a beautiful human being inside and out.
This series is full of great people. They work hard and live well. The Truth North series has fresh air, good food and quality people. I adore the lack of negativity and melodrama. I really recommend Keepsake. It's the type of story you can connect to emotionally and come away feeling good. The characters are the type of people you want to know in real life.
I have read all of Sarina Bowen's books. They never fail to delight. Love the characters in this series in particular. Another great read. Keep them coming
Another beautifully written story my Sarina Bowen. Zach will melt your heart. I enjoyed all the complimentary characters so much because they enriched the story. I laughed and cried and enjoyed the journey this story took me on.
All the Stars
I am head over heels for Sarina Bowen’s True North series and can truly say that every moment spent in the company of the Shipley family is time (very) well spent. Keepsake is the latest installment in this series and it is pure poetry. I knew even before I turned the first page of this book that it would be a powerful experience. These are two characters whose lives may not necessarily match, but Zach and Lark’s hearts are an absolutely perfect fit. Sarina has woven a love story that is equal parts romantic and emotional, so hold on to your own heart as you read Keepsake.
These characters have left their mark on me. Their words, their thoughts, their feelings and just how they connect with each other all combine for this gorgeous story that took my breath away. Zach is an amazing soul who has seen the best and worst of this world and yet maintained an open-eyed faith. He has this innate goodness spills over into every facet of who he is he is. But don’t read that goodness as naiveté, Zach is a slyly brilliant man with a work ethic that is untouchable. While she may be shuttering it, Lark is force of nature with a passion for all thingsand that really can’t be hidden away. Every moment spent in her shoes is a lesson in resilience. My heart hurt for Lark in many ways, but at the same time, I could feel myself ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with her as worked to find her way out of her own pit of despair. She is simply remarkable.
From Bittersweet to Keepsake and all the books after, I am hooked on the True North Series. In telling these stories, Sarina Bowen has given us characters who are passionate about their life’s work, family, friends and community. We are also getting an education about farming, pressing and bottling cider, managing livestock and so much more. Right along with getting swept away with the romances, I love the learning the details of the family’s day to day life, it adds an element that brings the stories and characters home to the reader.
Let each one of these books find their way onto your device (very) soon. They are the perfect companion for a chilly fall day and they will put you in the mood for snuggling, cranberry apple pie and big strapping farmers/cider makers. Enjoy!!
Laurie’s Rating: 6++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Bright Vermont Stars
For anyone who loves realistic and flawed characters, seriously steamy love scenes, and food!
Wow. I didn't think there was a way to top the last two installments of Sarina Bowen's True North series, but I was wrong. Sarina has gifted us with an amazing, gentlemanly hero who is loyal, generous and stalwart, but also still dealing with the aftermath of a loveless, cruel childhood where he was isolated from the rest of the world. Zachariah Holtz is rock-solid, in both body (yum!) and mind, and yet, he's real. He's had a powerful attraction to Lark Wainright, one of his employers' best friends, since he first met her.
Lark is a vivacious, adventurous woman just coming back from a work trip in a dangerous part of Guatemala, where she was kidnapped and held hostage for several weeks. Yeah, it's not pretty. Lark is dealing with severe PTSD, including terrifying nightmares. Her best friend, May Shipley, invites her up to the family farm for the apple harvesting season, in the hopes that Lark will be able to deal with her issues more there.
I won't give away much more than this, because the way that Zack and Lark get together is just as complex as their characters. Lark is such a beautiful contrast of strong and broken, sassy but scared. There's a reason that Griffin Shipley nicknames her "Wild Child", but there's also a lot of a different person in there after what happened in Guatemala. Bowen paints her and her trauma so realistically. It's just such an honest and thoughtful portrayal of two people dealing with their demons and how all kinds of love can heal - but sometimes it's not the only thing that's needed.
Bowen has said that this book took her a long time to write and perfect, and it was the first book written in the True North series - but one that was stewing in her head for three years. I think the time and rumination did it so much good, because it's definitely the most deftly written book in her oeuvre, and the most carefully plotted. You feel the care Bowen takes with the characters, to do right by them and ensure we get the best possible story.
Aside from the romance and characters, Keepsake offers more looks at gorgeous Vermont, the Shipleys and Jude and Sophie from the first and second book, and just a feeling of the wonders of harvest season. Like the first two books, Keepsake made me desperately want to go apple-picking, eat a cider donut, and go to the farmers' market. It's definitely a book for foodies and nature lovers, but more, it's a book for anyone who loves realistic and flawed characters and seriously steamy love scenes.
Just go read it. Now. =p