I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Jude. I have loved him from the very first time I met him in the first book of this series. He has so much heart and strength. I knew there was so much to his story we didn’t know. That he is a survivor. And words cannot express how much I truly enjoyed reading the story of this brave soul.
“Soph, I’d give you anything. But I don’t have a lot to give.”
Jude’s life forever changed when he crashed his car one unfateful night. Lives lost. Hearts shattered. Drugs were to blame and would forever leave an impact and change the trajectory of his life. He goes to jail. And his addiction continues. Years later, Jude leaves jail and gets sober. He is back in the same town that shuns him. Ready to start over. He is shocked when he runs into his one true love. His heart stops. His love for her never wavered. But their love? Their love is forbidden. She is not his to have. Not again. How can she love him when he broke her heart into a million pieces? In so many ways.
“I wore the memory of Sophie like an imprint on my soul.”
Jude and Sophie’s love is truly profound. Transcending. Despite obstacles and the forbidden nature of their love, they love without abandon. It is felt every time they speak. Their love is loud. Through the pain and heartache, there’s a push and pull between them. Love for them has never been easy, but its never faltered. There are some real and raw emotions in this book. The author pushes the envelope in so many ways. She challenges love. And it's resilience to stand strong in the face of darkness. And all that love can face and overcome. Love doesn’t see circumstance, just the person who’s heart it belongs to.
“Even when you’re not perfect, you’re still mine.”
Steadfast was such an honest depiction of someone that hits rock bottom with no light in sight. But worked so hard to live again. To love again. It will rock you to your core. It’s dark. Thought provoking. I commend the author seamlessly tackling such a relevant topic in today’s society. Jude is such a beautiful soul and I am so glad his story was told.
We first meet Jude in Bittersweet, where he was employed as a farm hand to help with his drug rehabilitation. After harvest season is done he decides to come back home to live with his alcoholic father and all too reminiscent town in which his addiction was formed. Jude's past is pretty dark, and his regrets run deep. Not only did he ruin his own life but he also devastated a whole family, including his Ex-girlfriend Sophie. This poor guy has been through so much, and the beginning of this book will absolutely put you in his shoes and make you feel his struggles and feel his strength through his vulnerability.
Jude and Sophie’s journey together is not an easy one, there are so many insecurities leftover from when Jude was gone, so many unknowns. The love was always present but Sophie felt abandoned and confused by Jude’s decisions, and Jude carried the huge weight of guilt on his shoulders from a life that was so precarious. So when these two see each other for the first time since their separation, sparks weren’t flying all over the place, in fact I think nerves were more present than anything. The chemistry was obvious but you just knew that their road to reconciliation wouldn’t be an easy one.
This is where I really connected with the story, Jude’s unlikely new relationship with Father Peters and his current friendship with my beloved Shipley family really brought the story together for me. I loved the camaraderie they shared in the first book, and I absolutely loved it again in this one. I think Jude needed them so much, and it was obvious the impact that they had on his healing process. The hardest part of the story was watching poor Sophie being stuck in time, ever since Jude left and the tragedy that left her family crippled, she just seemed to be stagnant and living her life without really living, and when her and Jude finally decided to be together they had to hide it from her hateful father.
The revelations towards the end of the book and some of the interesting twists and turns had my jaw dropping at some parts, and they brought so much to the story! I really like Sarina’s writing and the depth she brings to her characters is amazing! The ending had me smiling from ear to hear and I can’t wait to read more about these lovable characters AND Zach’s story in book 3, Keepsake!
Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction from the wilds of Vermont.
She is the author of The Ivy Years, an award-winning series set amid the hockey team at an elite Connecticut college.
Waiting for more Ivy Years? You can read more about upcoming volumes in the four book series athttp://www.sarinabowen.com/theivyyears
Also, the Gravity series.
Sarina enjoys skiing, espresso drinks and the occasional margarita. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.
To be kept abreast of new releases, please feel free to sign up for the mailing list at http://www.sarinabowen.com/contact.
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