“Our kisses went wild, and I lost myself inside my own senses in a way that I hadn’t done in a long time. For this beautiful moment, there was no fear. There were no nightmares, and no darkness hovering over my heart.”- Lark, Keepsake
Synopsis via Goodreads: There’s a first time for everything.
Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.
When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.
Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.
Actually, there are 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 pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.
There must be something in the cider that Sarina Bowen has been sippin’ because her releases for 2016 have been BOMB AS HELL! Keepsake was one of my MOST ANTICIPATED releases for the month of October and it most certainly did not disappoint. I think the True North series may be my favorite series by Bowen yet as it just gets better and better with each installment and I’ve fallen even more in love with this series now that Bowen has announced that she plans to extend it. I need more grumpy farmers in my life!
After a traumatic experience leaves her feeling exposed and helpless, Lark Wainright decides to take up her best friend’s offer and heads up to Vermont for the season. She soon realizes that escaping her nightmares will not be so easy as she had hoped. Zachariah Holtz is a survivor as well and knows what it’s like to be haunted by demons from the past. He and Lark form a bond as he helps to keep her nightmares away and tries to make her feel safe again. But when a startling revelation causes Lark to pull away, Zach will learn that in order for some nightmares to end, one must first face them head-on.
Keepsake is the perfect combination of both Bittersweet and Steadfast, as it deals with a number of heavy topics, but still has a touch of sweetness to it. What I loved most about Bowen’s writing is how simplistic it is. There are no major dramas or clichés that make me want to roll my eyes. She filters out all the dramatics and only leaves us with the best. One of the main reasons I was excited for Keepsake was because we got to return to the Shipley Farm and see my favorite family. Family plays a major role throughout this series and seeing everyone together again gave me all the fuzzy and warm feelings. I LOVE THE SHIPLEYS SO MUCH AND I WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS FAMILY SO BAD! We also get to learn more about a few of our secondary characters and it’s very clear that the upcoming installments are going to focus on these particular characters. I seriously can’t wait to read May and Zara’s books!
As for the romance, it is a slow-burning one, which was perfect considering all that Lark and Zach have been through. Lark is no longer the fearless girl she once used to be and it is something she is not used to. She blames herself for what happened to her even though none of what happened to her is her fault. Zach understands what Lark is going through as he grew up in a polygamist compound where he was cut off from society. He too has had his fair share of nightmares and feelings of self-blame. What I really liked about the romance it wasn’t used to “cure” Lark. While Zach was able to comfort her when she needed it, in order for Lark to truly get better, she had to help herself. Zach has the biggest heart and I love how he took care of Lark. I was all over the place crying because these two deserves an HEA after all they’ve been through.
Keepsake was a beautiful romance about healing and new beginnings. I’m rolling on the floor crying all the happy tears that I don’t have to say goodbye to this series just yet. I’m telling you, if you have not picked up this series yet, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! The series can only get better and better from here and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for our next couple.