“An addiction is when you can’t keep away from something that’s bad for you. Maybe Jude was a drug addict, but I was a Jude addict.”- Sophie, Steadfast
Synopsis via Goodreads: 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.
For Sophie Haines, coming face to face with the man who broke her heart is gut-wrenching. Suddenly, he’s 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 turn up volunteer in the church kitchen.
She knows it’s foolish to yearn for the man who returned all the heartsick letters she wrote him in prison. But the looks he sends her now speak volumes.
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.
It’s been three and a half years since Jude Nickel last stepped foot in the small town of Colebury, Vermont. Three and a half years since one fatal night that took a life and put him behind bars. Now finally out of prison, Jude is hoping to move on from the past. But starting over is not so easy when you can’t get a job, especially when you’re an ex-con with a drug addiction. He goes back to working at his father’s auto shop to get himself back on his feet. Everything seems to be going smoothly, that is until Jude runs into the last person he ever expected to see again, Sophie Haines, the only girl he’s ever loved. But Jude knows that he can’t ever go there again with Sophie, not after all the damage that he has caused. But forbidden love may prove to be harder to resist than any drug on the market.
In just a short amount of time, Sarina Bowen has managed to climb her way onto my FAVORITE AUTHORS LIST with her sweet and simple romances that just give me ALL THE FEELS! I completely adored Bittersweet, the first installment in the True North series, and I had high expectations for the sequel. Once again, Bowen has exceeded my expectations and I have fallen in love with yet another one of her books. Steadfast is a second-chance romance about forgiveness and rekindling of old flames. This book is a lot different than Bittersweet because it’s a lot darker since it deals with serious topics like drug abuse, family abuse, and depression. As a reader, I tend to be drawn to books with darker subject matter and I think that is why I loved this book even more than the previous installment. I really enjoyed the story of Jude and Sophie and watching as things fell apart and then come together again to make something new. It’s a slow start for these two and with each passing chapter, the tension builds and it leads to one hell of a finale. It was not easy reading the story of Jude and Sophie, but I loved watching as they overcame obstacles and found their way back to each other.
Jude Nickel is a redeemable bad boy after my own heart. I loved his character from the moment we were introduced to him in Bittersweet and my love for him has grown even more after reading Steadfast. He struggles a lot throughout this book, trying to stay out of trouble and overcome his addiction and even though some days are harder than others, he is determined to stay on the straight and narrow path. Sophie was a great match for him because not only is she a social worker, she is the only person that knows Jude best and if anyone was going to help him get his life together it would be her. I got to admit, Sophie did not react the way I had expected her to when she first saw Jude again. I thought that she would hold a grudge against Jude for ruining her family, but she doesn’t. She is such a STRONG, SELFLESS, CARING character who puts up with a lot throughout this book, especially with the shit her father pulls. The scenes with Sophie and her father were always the hardest for me to read because I was so scared for her well-being. I don’t think I could’ve handle it if anything happened to her.
Then there was the romance. The sweet, slow, heartbreaking romance that caused me physical pain. There was no “falling-in-love-again” because these two never fell out of love with each other, but finding their way back to each other was not easy. There are many obstacles, and people, that keep these two apart. But DAMN, I was fighting so hard for these two to overcome those obstacles and end up together. These two deserved a happily-ever-after considering everything they’ve been through.
Steadfast was a heartbreaking second-chance romance that stole my heart. Once again, another Sarina Bowen book has been added to my favorites lists. I am both excited and a little sad for the release of Keepsake, the final installment in the True North series. I don’t want this series to come to an end, but I can’t wait to see who Zach gets paired up with. If you haven’t met these North Eastern boys yet, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! GO READ THESE BOOKS ASAP!