Tuesday, October 25, 2016

ARC Review: Keepsake by Sarina Bowen

True North #3
by Sarina Bowen
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: October 25, 2016

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.

I might just be a tad biased when it comes to the True North series. I love love the Shipley's farm setting and the inclusive of the family, especially Griff. I'm happy to say that he appear plenty. I'm more than happy to read about their farming activities, like apple picking, cider pressing, attending farmer's markets and not to forget Kyle's blabber mouth. 

Keepsake is Zachariah's story, the virgin boy who ran away from a cult community. We read about him since Book 1 and we all know he is a sweetie. Zach liven up to his expectation. He is kind, hardworking, shy, mild manner and a quiet guy. We also learn a bit on his history at the cult and how he ended up at Vermont. Although he is comfortable working like a horse in the Shipley's Farm and wish to stay at the bunkhouse forever, he can't help but feel that they might not need him forever. Zach is in constant dilemma about his uncertain future. 

Lark is May Shipley's best friend, who we never heard of. After her unfortunately ordeal while working at Guatemala, Lark was invited to come to the Shipley's for some R&R and helping out at the farm while recuperating from her mental distress. 

Lark seems like a good match for Zach, she is more worldly, more sociable and adventurous, a total opposite of Zach. But underneath her charming personality, she is an absolute mess. On the day, she is all social and fun, but during the night she suffered PTSD. One of the reason how she became close to Zach is because he comfort her during the night. 

Their romance is really slow burn. As expected, Zach is a total gentleman and even though Lark is the first girl that he feel attracted to, we know he won't do anything beside being a supportive friend while pinning for her secretly. Lark was not emotionally ready for relationship, but she did appreciate Zach's friendship. It did take some time for their friendship to turn into something more. But I do enjoyed the wait and the anticipation for what's to come. When it finally happened, the emotional satisfaction is definitely worth the wait.

There are times when I feel that I might not 100% like Lark as oppose to the previous two heroines because she seems like too much work. I do sympathize with her ordeal, but I would definitely prefer reading a happy go lucky heroine with less baggage. It make me feel mopey, especially seeing Zach feeling mopey about his relationship with Lark. But in the end, she did change my perception. I think the way Sarina show her growth and recovery is really great and it definitely lifted up my spirit a lot. 

I think in order to enjoy this story, one definitely have to at least read Book 1. The Shipley's family is a prominent figure for the series and is best to be familiar with them before venturing into this book.