by Sarina Bowen
on July 12th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have. Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there's no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.
Sophie Haines is stunned by his reappearance. After a three year absence, the man who killed her brother and broke her heart is suddenly everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never volunteer in the church kitchen.
No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie's police chief father. But it's a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.
I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Sarina Bowen so far. But this, THIS BOOK, might be my favorite out of all she’s written.
Steadfast is an emotionally heart-wrenching tale of love, addiction, and redemption. All wrapped in Sarina’s exquisite authorial voice. I was floored by how emotionally on point this book was.
Addiction in romance is not a new thing. Unfortunately, a lot of what I’ve read in the past made me weary of this particular trope in romance. They either undermine the issues that comes with addiction or they glorify it. Steadfast managed to avoid those issues.
Jude Nickel’s addiction was his undoing. It destroyed not only his future but the one person who meant the world to him: Sophie Haines.
The book starts off with Jude coming back to his hometown of Colebury after his time with the Shipleys. He’s now an ex-con. He has no job prospects except for his own father’s garage. Not only that, Colebury is a place that would test Jude’s sobriety. It is also the place where he left his heart.
Sophie Haines is living in a limbo ever since that devastating night three years ago. Her mother is a shell of her former self and her father is still the asshole who controls Sophie’s every move. So when she came face-to-face with Jude, everything shifted and changed for the first time in a long time. Despite the pain she’s feeling, Sophie is feeling more alive than ever.
The love story between Jude and Sophie brought tears to my eyes. It’s a classic good girl from a good family falling in love with the bad boy from wrong side of the tracks. It’s a trope that’s been done a thousand times before but Sarina Bowen made it her own, and made it fresh. The moment Jude and Sophie met when they were in high school, I was rooting for them. Their love was so incredibly sweet and heartbreaking.
Aside from the love story, this book dealt with addiction with such a realistic manner. Jude’s struggle to get clean, his feelings of guilt with what happened with Sophie was done so magnificently that I have no complaints. This book was one of the few that really dealt with a character struggling with addiction without any judgement or approval. Just the stark reality of what it’s like to be an addict wanting to get clean and sober.
There were a few twists along the way which added so much to the story. Plus, the characters involved were not caricatures at all. They’re written like real people with real struggles. I loved Sophie’s character. And Jude…man, Jude might be my favorite Sarina Bowen hero to date. He’s amazing.
So what are you waiting for? Add this to your TBR and read this book. If you’re worried about starting this book without reading the first one yet, don’t be. This can totally be read as a standalone. Yes, Jude was introduced in Bittersweet but his whole backstory and everything else can be read in this book. The characters in the first book do make an appearance but it’s very easy to pick up the threads of the story.
ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.