Stacey is Sassy received a complimentary copy of this story. The copy provided was not the final version and may be subject to edits and changes
Published by Rennie Road Books on October 25, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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.
Keepsake (True North #3)
By Sarina Bowen
A hand at your back can help steady the weight of your burden.
Are you inclined to suffer in silence or share your burdens? To be honest, I’m all for sharing. It’s not unusual for me to tell my deepest, darkest secrets to complete strangers…well maybe not complete strangers, more acquaintances. Yes, I almost always regret it (because I look like a loon) but the feeling of relief once I’ve shared seems to outweigh the regret. What if your burden or secret horror is so bad that your brain blocks it out? Well, in my case, it just made my story more interesting. I don’t even remember walking to the ambulance. In Keepsake we meet two remarkable people who have faced horror and lived to tell about it.
I have been really excited to read Keepsake to hear Zach’s story. Zach is a gorgeous, hard-working and sweet man who at 23 is still very innocent. He spent the first nineteen years of his life in a cult and then thrown out for breaking the rules. This is a man who walked for days with just the clothes on his back, no shoes and no money, to reach a safe sanctuary. Zach’s innocence has meant that nearly every new experience is something to be enjoyed.
His safe sanctuary was provided by Isaac and Leah, a couple that escaped from the cult/family he was in. They now own a farm in Vermont and make it known that they’ll take cult members who left in and give them somewhere safe to recover. Zach stays with them for awhile until he lands a job at the Shipley’s farm helping with the apple picking. The Shipley’s have become his new family and he would do anything and everything for them.
Lark is a Wild Thing. She loves adventure and learning new things. When the non-profit organisation Lark works for sends her to Guatemala she’s excited about the new adventure. Unfortunately, Lark made the mistake of letting her guard down and was kidnapped. When she finally comes home, she suffers recurring nightmares and PTSD. Being at home hasn’t made things easier so when her best friend May Shipley asks her to visit for awhile, she jumps at the chance.
Lark’s night terrors seemed to only be soothed when a big, strong and beautiful man lays his hand at her back to soothe her. He hears her screams and comes running every time. This care is something Lark appreciates but she also feels extreme guilt. She doesn’t want to be a burden.
Zach loves that someone needs him. It also helps that Zach is completely infatuated with Lark and has been from the first time he saw her. Zach can’t believe this beautiful woman is willing to let HIM be the one to soothe her. Up till now, he hasn’t even felt comfortable touching another person let alone soothing them, but Lark is different.
I really enjoyed seeing Zach and Lark’s journey towards happiness played out through Keepsake. It wasn’t an easy journey and at times it broke my heart. Zach’s history is ugly and the people he lived with were evil and demented. I would have loved to see them face justice for what they have done and still do. Lark’s pain was not seen but felt in the mental anguish suffered after the trauma. We see the events that caused her anguish played out in her dreams. The hardest thing for Lark to get over was the guilt. Once she learns to not shoulder the guilt solely on her shoulders her burden seems to lessen.
Keepsake was great. I love the crazy antics of the Shipleys. When they are all together around the dinner table, I’ll admit that it makes me hungry. I think I would go for a farm stay too if the food is as good as described. One of my favourite parts of the whole story was after Zach and Lark are intimate for the first time. I was busting a gut laughing.
The True North series has been one of my favourites series this year and Keepsake did not disappoint. The characters are lovable, the stories intriguing and the family dynamics something you want to be a part of. I can’t wait for more.