Review: Keepsake by Sarina Bowen

descriptionLark Wainright, 23, has nightmares. She used to be fearless. But while overseas for her nonprofit employer, she was kidnapped and held at gunpoint in a dusty shack. Everyone has an opinion about what might have happened to here there, but she's not saying much. She's too consumed by guilt to talk about it.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the Shipley orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps into her little car and heads to Vermont. Unfortunately, the night terrors don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret from those who know her best, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of Orange County, Vermont, to calm her down when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah, 23, is a survivor of a different kind. It’s been three years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult out west, and the only home he’d ever known. In Vermont, he’s found a peaceful place in the bunkhouse at the Shipley’s farm. He’s good with animals, and he’s good with his hands. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. And he doesn’t always know what to make of a world where apps and movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV. He’d never spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are still 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 shoves Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he's good for more than farm labor.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zach's story! I've been waiting for his book since the first sentence Sarina wrote about this man in Griff's book. Zach is a 23 year old virgin who was outed from the polygamist cult he was born into. While he has his own insecurities and uncertainties about life, his outlook is fresh, gentle and at times, downright adorable.

Lark Wainwright is a college friend of May's who comes to the Shipley farm to escape and hopefully heal from a horrible ordeal. Working for a not-for-profit in a foreign country, she experienced a life altering nightmare that now haunts her both figuratively and literally.

Lark and Zach's pasts couldn't be any more different than they are, yet they both share common emotions and through their ordeals, they understand each other. This was an easy read as Lark and Zach's friendship builds into something more. Lark is strong yet slightly messed up and Zach is there for her. This was a slow burn but also very realistic given the circumstance and the characters. I lost myself in the apples, great food and cider, playful ribbing and all around love and friendship of the Shipleys.

This can be read as a standalone although it's book three in the True North series. I must say, I'm thoroughly enjoying this series. The only commonality of these books are the Shipley's and their farm. The farm and the secondary characters are wonderful and a great backdrop, but every book is completely different. It truly is like reading a standalone book. If you haven't started this series, I'd highly recommend that you do!

**ARC generously provided by author in exchange for an honest review.**

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