Welcome to What-To-Read Wednesday! This week Angela recommends:
Keepsake by Sarina Bowen
When I first opened Bittersweet and let Sarina Bowen sweep me away to apple farms and rural Vermont towns, I had no idea that this series would become one of my favorites. I was thinking last night about my end of the year best of list and what books I’ve read over the last ten months that might appear on it. For the first time a series will appear, because I’ve loved each and every book so far and as a whole I believe this to be some of this author’s finest work. Bittersweet was sweet and sexy, I fell in love with grumpy Griff and playful Audrey. Steadfast tore out my heart over and over, the angst and achingly emotional scenes between Jude and Sophie left me bit dizzy. Now with Keepsake, I am once again sitting firmly in this author’s cheering section.
If you think you’ve gotten to know Zach from reading this series so far, you’d be mistaken. You haven’t, not really. He’s such a wonderful, sexy mix of innocence and wisdom. Raised in a polygamist religious cult (think the Kingston clan or FLDS) when he is discovered making out with a girl his age he is badly beaten and bodily thrown out of the only home he has ever known. Slowly making his way cross-country, he finds a couple who escaped the lifestyle several years earlier and who want to help. This ultimately leads him to the Shipley Farm and a new, loving family.
Lark Wainright needs a quiet, safe place to heal after surviving hell in Guatemala. When her best friend suggests she come and spend some time with her family at the Shipley Farm Lark packs her bags and heads for Vermont. She loves being surrounded by such a loving, understanding family yet her nightmares won’t go away and it’s only the arms of quiet, steady Zach who give her peace.
Not quite as funny and quirky as Bittersweet and not quite as angsty as Steadfast, Keepsake felt like it fell somewhere in the middle. I enjoyed being back in Vermont and visiting with the wonderful, warm Shipley family. Zach and Lark have this soft, sweet romance that bloomed at just the right pace and felt perfect for these characters. Zach being new to romance and sex and Lark still suffering from a trauma that she hasn’t really dealt with since she came home, I liked who and what they were for each other. He makes her feel safe, she makes him feel alive.
Also, the ending left me in a happy place and I need all the happy places I can get right now.
I loved pretty much everything about this series and I’m hopeful that Ms. Bowen finds new it alive with new stories and characters.