Steadfast by Sarina Bowen

4 stars!

“My name is Jude Nickel, and I am an addict. Also, I’m a big fucking idiot.”

Drug addict Jude lost everything when he crashed his car while high and killed his girlfriend’s brother in the process. Now, three years later, he’s out of prison for manslaughter and he’s clean. After working six months at the Shipley Farm in Vermont, he returns to his hometown to live with his dad. Working in his family’s mechanic shop, Jude is just trying to make it through the day without relapsing.

Sophie has spent the past three years struggling with her family after her brother’s death. Her mom is fading away and her dad becomes increasingly agitated with every passing day. She still has questions from that night years ago and no one will give her answers. On top of that when Jude comes back to town, it shocks her to the core.

“I was still angry at Jude, and I probably always would be. But the strong arms holding me close took the edge off my anger.”

Sarina Bowen is one of my favorites authors, and one of the things I love most about her writing is she never delivers the same story twice. Each one of her book is a unique reading experience I cannot wait to dive into, and Steadfast did not disappoint.

Despite loving Sarina’s work, I was a bit hesitant going into a book where the hero is/was a drug addict, mostly because I was worried he would make stupid choices. But since this book is about Jude’s recovery and not his time as an addict what we saw as readers was him making up for his past mistakes and atoning, and I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. To be completely honest, I just plain loved Jude. He worked so hard for everything and never gave up, he was a great hero.

“Just because someone hasn’t broken the law doesn’t mean they’re a good person.”

I loved Sophie as a heroine, she’s a strong woman who was trying to sort her life out of the mess it became. She was stuck between a rock and a hard place for most of her life so her personal struggles in this book revolved around her deciding what she wanted in life and going for it. Sophie and Jude had a fantastic romantic connection from the get go. And there’s a mystery aspect to the book that I didn’t expect but enjoyed.

This book can easily be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading Bittersweet before because it enhances the story in my opinion.

“Enough worrying about what we deserve. Let’s appreciate what we have.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review


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