My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 STEADFAST STARS
This was an emotional, heartrending read. From the very mention of Jude Nickel, in the first book, I wanted his story. Jude's an ex-con and ex-junkie who had been incarcerated for manslaughter. He's just over six months released from jail, spending those months working on the Shipley farm. Now he must go home, back to the scene of the crime so to speak. He regrets it all, well almost everything. He doesn't regret Sophie although he feels he's wrecked her life too and she's better off without him.
Sophie Haines loves Jude. Even after all he's done, the drugs, the lying, the death of her brother. She loves him even though her family's a mess, her mother a shell of person and her father more of a bully than he ever was. She loves him even though he rejected her and shut her out once he went to jail. She loves him.
Sarina truly brought to life the hard and torturous journey of someone trying to kick an addiction and stay clean. It’s never far from their thoughts. It’s a struggle, day by day, minute by minute.
Jude was one of those heroes that you can't help but love and connect with. He was flawed, broken but also truly remorseful and committed to staying the path. Sophie was a fantastic heroine. Her strength, her love and her conviction were all to be admired. Sophie and Jude together were sweet, pure and so heart felt.
“Even the grimmest of lives have moments of beauty.”
I loved that this story was different, had a different vibe and different complexities than the first book. And the two heroes, Griff and Jude, also two opposites but they work. Same goes with Zach, I can tell his story will take us in a completely different direction and I can’t wait! Sarina also gives us some twists, turns, and revelations that adds layers and a few surprises to the story.
While the second book in the True North Series, this could be read as a standalone. But to fully appreciate Jude's journey and the bond and support of the Shipley's, I'd recommend you read Bittersweet first.
**ARC generously provided by author in exchange for an honest review.**