Steadfast: True North #2

· True North Book 2 · Rennie Road Books
57 reviews

About this ebook

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. 

For fans of: Melanie Harlow, Corinne Michaels, Meghan March, Lauren Blakely, Julia Kent, Elle Kennedy, Tijan, CD Reiss, Kendall Ryan, Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward, Jana Aston, K Bromberg, Katy Evans, Jessica Hawkins, Kristen Proby, Penny Reid, Helena Hunting, Sally Thorne, Kristen Ashley, Helen Hoang, Kylie Scott, Christina Lauren, Jana Aston, Sawyer Bennett, Lexi Ryan, Karina Halle, Skye Warren, Kennedy Ryan, Jodi Ellen Mapas, Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, Elle Kennedy.

Keywords: Small town romance, Vermont romance, New England, alpha male, addiction, second chance at love, forbidden romance, family saga, rural setting, farmers, orchard, cider, romantic suspense, sexy romance, Sarina Bowen, drug addiction, Vermont, True North series, forbidden romance, contemporary romance, coming of age, wrongful imprisonment, opioid crisis. 

57 reviews
Lenore Kosinski
April 15, 2018
4 stars — Wow! This one was a bit heavier than the first book in this series, and kind of had a bit of a different feel altogether, you know? I mean, it’s still chock full of fantastic characters, but there was also almost a bit of a mystery aspect to it as well. There was still some lightness, but just not as much…I think I missed that a bit. Jude broke my freaking heart. Completely. I was already partially in love with him from Bittersweet, but I fell more in love here. I mean, sure, he did the whole “I’m not good enough, I will make decisions for others” thing, but I actually kind of got how his thought processes went there, even if he was still being a dumbass. He was an intriguing hero even without the whole addiction shiznit. I loved the glimpses we got to see of how Jude and Sophie first fell in love. I guess I was expecting the same stereotypical bad boy, but he was SO NOT. He was kind of a sensitive soul, which I wasn’t expecting. I think when I think bad boy, I expect a lot of machismo, and he had none of that. He definitely made bad choices, and he was jaded from his childhood, but…I don’t know, he just wasn’t what I expected. But he was a smartass, and I loved that about him. It came out here and there and caught me off guard and made me laugh. And the post-jail/rehab Jude was a hard worker who was trying SO HARD to make up for the mistakes of the past and stay on the right path. If you couldn’t tell, I was all in with him. You can’t talk about Jude without talking about how well addiction was handled in this book. I’ve always been morbidly fascinated by the epidemic, in a “it breaks my heart over and over again” kind of way. The whole situation is really complicated, and I’ve always had sympathy for the lifelong battle addicts face (especially since most people don’t have sympathy). I loved this glimpse into it, and having Jude as a face for the problem….someone who made mistakes, did bad things, but who is paying for it every day. I was a bit more reserved in my love for Sophie, and I can’t quite pinpoint why. There were so many things I loved about her, but there were occasions where I wasn’t as happy with her…sometimes she would just make choices or say things that rubbed me the wrong way. But as the book went on they were few and far between. She was truly caring, and you could feel her inner strength as she tried to hold up her mother and support Jude (even as he pushed her away). I even appreciated seeing the glimpses of her at work, especially the side bit with her pediatric case — am I the only one whose heart soared reading that bit? I will admit that I was sad that the mental/emotional/physical abuse from her Dad wasn’t really addressed overtly, but there was enough else in the book… The chemistry between Jude and Sophie was solid. Again, I loved the glimpses of them coming together when they were teenagers, it gave me tummy tingles. Their relationship was so fraught with struggles, but you could really feel how deep their feelings were for one another. The mystery of the accident was an element I wasn’t expecting. It was a background story, but I enjoyed how we learned little bits here and there, and how we got to see Sophie doggedly pursuing answers. I had some theories here and there, parts I got right, but never the full thing. I appreciated how that all played out. As always with Ms. Bowen’s books, the secondary characters were spot on. Obviously there was the reappearance of the Shipley household in this book, and I LOVED how they supported Jude even as he decided he wasn’t worth it. And then there was Father Peter — LOVED HIM from the first moment they met! I would have been happy to see more. Then there were three other characters that surprised me — while we didn’t see much of Jude’s father, I appreciated that his story wasn’t cliche. Similarly with Denny — there’s a stereotype for his role, and I appreciated that he didn’t follow those.
3 people found this review helpful
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July 13, 2016
Steadfast is the perfect name for Jude’s book. He has to remain focused and moving forward in order to stay ahead of his drug addiction. It’s something that will always be there. Jude and Sophie were madly in love in high school. Her family and his bad decisions made it difficult for them to be together and eventually kept them apart for good. Now he’s back in town and both of their lives are going to be rocked again. I admire Jude, not for making the mistakes he did, but for being able to change his life around, which truly isn’t as simple as it sounds. Sophie has the sweetest heart of almost any character I’ve read. I could not have put up with a portion of what she did from all the people she loves. Every scene with the Shipley’s made me smile. I love that family so much and definitely still want them to adopt me. This book made me angry in parts and teary in others. I smiled a lot and had aww that’s so sweet moments. The super sexy is definitely present. It also has a bit of twist and touch of thriller. Steadfast is a mix of romance, inspiration and a great blend of everything to bring out emotions.
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Dar Good
October 7, 2021
This started out so hopeless and full of despair, it nearly broke me. The fact that it ended so hopeful and happy, well, that is testament to authours storytelling skills! Jude and Sophie were everything that could go wrong with a ‘doomed from the start’ teenage love. Through a few flashbacks, we get to see how happy they were, and the stark change that was from the reality they are now living. Ever so slowly though, things start to turn around, not because their circumstances took a drastic turn, but because they looked around and re-evaluated their lives. As some things come together, other things start to unravel, but that is a good thing. As Sophie and Jude start to trust and open up to each other, they realize they can have it all, because when they are together, nothing can stop them. Emotionally gripping and wonderfully sensitive, I simply loved this story <3
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About the author

Sarina Bowen is the sixteen-time USA Today bestselling author of over thirty romance novels. She writes sports romance, billionaire romance, small town romance, contemporary fiction and YA fiction. She loves Vermont, hockey, and fine stationery. Visit for more.

Work by Sarina Bowen includes: Brooklynaire, the Brooklyn Bruisers, the True North Series, Him, Us, Goodboy and Stay in the WAGs series with Elle Kennedy. The Man Hands series with Tanya Eby.

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