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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.

300 pages, ebook

First published October 25, 2016

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About the author

Sarina Bowen

100 books15.1k followers
sarina bowen
Sarina Bowen is the twenty-four-time USA Today bestselling and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of three dozen books, including: the True North series, and Brooklyn Hockey. She's the co-author of Him/Us and the WAGs series with Elle Kennedy. She's the author of The Ivy Years series, and more!
Are you looking for a friends-to-lovers story or maybe even a secret baby book? You can read a list of Sarina's books broken out by trope and style.
Need to know what's coming next ? Get all the latest news on Sarina's website, and sign up for her newsletter so you don't miss a book or a deal.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,147 reviews
Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,503 followers
November 29, 2016
4.5 Stars!!


“Even the safest place in the world felt more elusive after you’d visited some of the ugliest ones.”

When I pick a book by this author, I always know what to expect – effortless storytelling, endearing well portrayed characters and a lovely romance that makes me smile and swoon. 'Keppsake' is the third installment in her 'True North' series and like its predecessors, it can be read as a standalone. This third installment much like the other two was well written, heartwarming and also emotional at times; a wonderful story about healing, second chances, friendship and love.

“Zach wasn’t just a guy I happened to be attracted to. He was special. Zach was a better person than… well, just about anybody. He ought to be handled with care.”

Zack was born and raised on a compound by a religious cult, until the age in 19 when he was thrown out for breaking the rules. He arrived shoeless and hungry after many days at the Abrahams, a family of two escaped the religious cult years ago, but with some help from them and a little later from the Shipley’s he managed to create a life for himself. After four years working for Shipley's, he’s still feeling like the new guy, every day trying to adapt more and more at a ‘normal’ life. He’s shy and quiet and he appreciates everything The Shipley’s done for him, caring for each one of them in his own way.

“She looked vivid, as if God had painted her features with bolder paints than he used on the rest of the world.”

Lark used to be fearless, loving the adventure like no other. Her life was changed completely when she decided to take a twelve-month assignment in Guatemala for the non-profit organization she was working for. Lark came home a different woman. A shell of a woman, whose nights are filled with nightmares, with terror. Needing to escape her overwhelming parents, Lark decides a change of scenery is in order and comes to visit her best friend, May Shipley in Vermont, agreeing during her stay to help at the farmers’ markets.

”I can handle it, Lark. Just lean on me. I’ll be your Apostate Farm.” Tears spilled out of her eyes. So many tears. But I just hang on. It’s what a do.”

While the story was on the slower side, I really enjoyed it. It was a really great and wonderfully written tale that kept my interest from start to finish. I really enjoyed how the story unfolded and of course how the friendship between Zack and Lark blossomed gradually in something more.

Zack was such a wonderful hero. Even if I prefer another type of hero, I have to admit I fell for him from the very beginning. He was so sweet, so caring, so thoughtful and considerate, attentive and with such a big heart…in other words, pretty damn perfect. His vulnerability and his innocence made me love him even more as the story unfolded. He was unique and also relatable and overall he was very realistically portrayed character. I appreciate how well his background was developed, how loyal he was with those who helped him years ago and most of all how patient and honest he was with Lark at times.

Lark was a tortured heroine I felt deeply for. My heart broke for her! She was strong and courageous, yet vulnerable at times and as Zack, she was a great, loyal human being and I loved that about her. As much as I didn’t want for her to stay away from Zack, I totally understood her reasoning.

“With one smooth thumb she brushed water off my cheekbone. The sweep of her skin against mine was at once familiar and electrifying. Whenever she touched me, I felt as if I’d loved her my whole life.”

The slow burn relationship between Zack and Lark was fantastically done. As much as I enjoyed their friendship, I have to say that I loved the romance that slowly developed between them. They were so cute together, so good for each other, bringing out the best in each other as the story unfolded. The connection between them was palpable, their chemistry off the charts and the sex scenes passionate, yet very sweet.

All in all, 'Keepsake' was a delightful read with two endearing characters, a bunch of engaging supporting characters and a lovely, heartwarming romance I highly recommend if you are looking for a comfort/healing story.

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Profile Image for Christy.
3,818 reviews32.4k followers
May 18, 2018
4.25 stars!!!


After reading the first 2 books in this series, I was really looking forward to this one. Zach intrigued me and I was anxious to see how his story would go. It didn't disappoint- I loved Zach and his heroine, Lark.

Zach works at the Shipley's farm and has for several years. He's basically part of the family and he loves his life there. He loves it so much because he came from somewhere so different. Growing up in a polygamous cult and being sheltered, he's spent the last four years getting a taste of the real world. He still has a lot to learn and experience, though. Lark is kind of the opposite of Zach in many ways. She grew up with two successful parents and always did what she wanted. She wanted to experience everything. Doing that put her at a job that was risky. It has scarred her- but her scars are on the inside.

Lark comes to the Shipley farm for a short time. She needs some time to get away from it all and regroup. She is best friends with Mae and what's better than time away with your bestie to clear your head? What she never expected was Zach. Zach is everything. Seriously, this guy is the perfect hero. I can't imagine anyone finding a flaw in him. If you're looking for an alpha asshole hero, you've picked up the wrong book. Zach is as sweet as a honeycrisp apple.

One of my favorite things about this book was watching both of the characters grow. They were both exactly what the other needed and I loved them together. Sarina Bowen has really hit the mark with this series. I love how the characters are like family, the scenery is vivid and gorgeous in my mind, the writing is strong, and the stories give me the feels I need. Keepsake is a great addition to the True North series and I can't wait to read more of these books.
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,378 reviews4,627 followers
October 17, 2016
4 Stars

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Sarina Bowen brings readers back to Shipley farm just in time for apple season. The apples are ripe for the picking, the family is in need of some extra hands, and Lark Wainright needs to get away for a while.

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Lark is May Shipley’s best friend who went through a life or death situation when working for a not for profit during the summer. She’s safely home but struggles with nightmares and her hovering parents. Lark is happy to be on the farm and she’s hoping she’ll be able to get herself back on track with a rewarding full day’s work in the bosom of such a loving family. Not to mention the view of the beautiful Zachariah Holtz isn’t half bad either.


Zach has been a part of the past two books of this series. He’s the once member of a polygamist community who has found a place working for the Shipley’s. Zach is an absolute sweetheart of a hero. He’s a virgin who’s attentive, caring, and lucky for Lark he keeps her nightmares at bay.

”I can handle it, Lark. Just lean on me. I’ll be your Apostate Farm.” Tears spilled out of her eyes. So many tears. But I just hang on. It’s what a do.”


Zach and Lark’s fall is paced on the slow side yet friends of the two are worried that Zach will end up hurt and discarded when Lark does leave town. Zach fears that he’s the only one failing in love yet he doesn’t want to push things with Lark either. Lark doesn’t talk about what happened to her in Guatemala. She hopes she’s able to put the ordeal behind her and leave Vermont back to her former self. The author handles Lark’s situation well and I sure liked this analogy:

”Right now it feels like you spend all day talking about your sorrow. But it won’t always feel like that. Every time we stare it in the face, it becomes a little more banal. Pretty soon you’ll bump into your sorrow on the street, and just give it a little wave. It will be familiar, but not so startling.”

Eventually Lark must face what happened to her those months ago to move forward. Her relationship with Zach takes some hits yet in the end it all came together as winter arrives on the farm. Overall, this was a solid enjoyable dual pov written read with a truly wonderful hero, a likable heroine, and two or three side situations that were interesting.

”This is the land of milk and maple syrup.”

**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review**

Bittersweet (True North, #1) by Sarina Bowen Steadfast (True North, #2) by Sarina Bowen Keepsake (True North, #3) by Sarina Bowen
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,652 reviews3,235 followers
August 29, 2022
4 Lost Souls Found Stars
* * * * Spoiler Free
What I love about the writings of Sarina Bowen is the complete ease of it all. I never feel like it if it's overworked or fussy. It leads us through a tale and we see it all develop and take off. Sometimes it is fast and furious... or in this particular entry to the series True North... it is a slow burn and the need between the two main characters. Both have been damaged, have been in situations which have left emotional scars... deeper than anything imagined. It is with the steady hand of Bowen, that we are guided to experience a man and woman who are so perfect for each other... for each at one point in their lives will have an understanding of what is needed to be there for the other.

I feel with this series, you should begin with the first entry, Bittersweet. There you are given the whole dynamic of the environment of the Shipley Farm; the family, siblings, and farmhands. You will become attached to the farm and how it works; the dedication to maintaining an organic crop and the work that goes into it. As a city gal all of my life, only recently have I gone to farmers' markets to see the difference in the quality of the product. You can smell and taste the difference...it is almost like the love is on the plate when you serve it.

And these feelings are present throughout this series...this type of devotion translates to the way people act with each other...and in all of the love stories, this earnestness was felt.

In Keepsake, we get the povs of Zach and Lark. Briefly, Zach was introduced to us in the first book. He came from a religious cult...where misuse of the Bible justified all the wrongs. The followers would cast out the young men around 17 because the elders did not want the girls interested in them. They were multiple wives, isolation, limited education, and little to eat. Physical punishment was carried out for normal behavior.

There were no outside influences:
No Internet
No other books except the Bible

This was how Zach was raised...and most importantly...there was no loving touch from a mother or father...No feeling of belonging or being cared for... Zach learned to be a hard worker, had a knack for mechanics... kept to himself, and hoped not to be cast out. He paid attention, though, and when he was cast out... at least he found his way to the only couple he knew who escaped on their own...
He hitched hiked from Wyoming to Vermont...through all types of obstacles... and started a new life once at the couple's farm. After a time, he then transferred to the Shipley farm as a paid hand. There he worked every day to prove his worth to the Shipleys...He worries one day he might be turned out again...Where will he go then...

Lark couldn't be more opposite to Zach... at least at first look. She comes from a wealthy educated family from Boston. She met May Shipley in college and visited often over the years. Both girls remained tight as they became women. Lark was a bit of a Wild Child and always fought the rules. She loved the outdoors and became an expert in understanding the land and teaching communities around the world how to get the most from the land.

In her latest career path, she took a position with a nonprofit. She had the security of a trust fund which allowed her to follow her heart rather than the pressures of financial security. When the company sent her to a location overseas in need of guidance, she went willingly. As this free spirit wanted to experience everything life had to offer...Lark never felt fear...she was there to assist, to make life better...Always looking for more discoveries...Unfortunately, a dark one found Lark...

She was taken swiftly off the street; kidnapped and held for quite some time. She was alone...She had no idea what was to happen...She did survive her captors ... yet at the same time there are gaps in her memories...nightmares she cannot escape.

Returning home, going through all of the steps...with her therapy, counseling, and her parents hovering... Lark needs an escape. It is harvest time at the Shipley farm and May is thrilled to have her friend back...Lark will try to hold it together...put on the brave front and somehow pray she is healed.

It is at the Shipley farm... this safe, loving environment where these two survivors cross paths. These two are attracted to each other but do not act. There are many reasons not to...They develop slowly...share secrets and learn about each other's past lives...

Lark is a wonderful character who makes us think of all those people who have experienced capture...the PTSD of something like that must be intense and should not be ignored...and Zach, with all of the trauma he experienced, had this calming influence for Lark. Zach received equal goodness from Lark...and the two of them grew stronger together.

This series has a purity of spirit for me... it takes love stories and mixes them with real-life situations...the types of things which either we have read about...or things we have experienced. These issues are broken down to show all things can be overcome... We also receive the artful and sensual coupling of these people... with a passion and sweetness/fury/caring to wish for our own.

Bowen gave us all of the characters in this series to enjoy...and left open a concept of another book should she wish to pursue it...I say yes, please.

Bittersweet (True North, #1) by Sarina Bowen Bittersweet (True North, #1)
Steadfast (True North, #2) by Sarina Bowen Steadfast (True North, #2)
Keepsake (True North, #3) by Sarina Bowen Keepsake (True North #3)
Bountiful (True North, #4; Brooklyn Bruisers, #4.5) by Sarina Bowen Bountiful (True North #4)
Speakeasy (True North, #5) by Sarina Bowen Speakeasy (True North, #5)
Fireworks (True North, #6) by Sarina Bowen Fireworks (True North, #6)
Heartland (True North, #7) by Sarina Bowen Heatland (True North, #7)
Waylaid (True North, #8) by Sarina Bowen Waylaid (True North, #8)
Waylaid (True North, #8) by Sarina Bowen Waylaid (True North, #8)

~~~~~ Before Reading ~~~~~
Happiness is discovering the arc you have been waiting for has arrived while reading another book...
That is not being untrue to the arc you want...
It is just majorly exciting to see it is there ... waiting for you to discover it...

Well, I have and will be back in the embrace of Sarina Bowen's words soon!
Oh, Ms. Bowen, the tease you have given us is perfect...
Two lost souls trying to adapt...
Both needing what the other can give...
I can hardly wait until October ...
But they say Vermont is beautiful in the Fall...
Oh, Zach...
Dear, Shy, Observant Zach...

I know your still waters run deep...
And don't think I am the only one who notices you...

We will find out soon enough...
One can only wonder who Ms. Bowen has in store for our guy...

KeepSake (True North, #3) Coming October 2016

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
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Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
794 reviews876 followers
October 25, 2016
It's live!!


4 Chewie Stars

I have been a huge fan of this Ms. Bowen since the first time I read one of her books. She creates unforgettable, unique and endearing characters and her stories are simply lovely. This one is no different.

Zach was thrown out of the compound he grew up at for a make out session with a girl at age 19. The cult he was part of just tossed him out on the road side. He made his way hitchhiking to his friends in Vermont and has found his place with the Shipleys.

Lark has always been an adventurous and headstrong girl so working for a nonprofit organization in Guatemala was right down her alley. She didn't know that she would come back from Central America with a whole set of horrific nightmares which torture her frequently.

There are details she can't remember. When she decides to work for the Shipleys during the harvest season she hopes to find peace and for her soul to heal. When her nightmares become so vocal that she wakes up the whole bunkhouse Zach starts visiting her at night to calm her down.

"We have a very unusual friendship".
"That's right," I whispered. And I won't lie - the fact that she'd said we were friends made me ridiculously happy.

Lark's and Zach's friendship is all sorts of sweet. They have an instant bond which is based on respect and care for one another. Their relationship grows into love at a slow burn. It is exactly what you'd expect from a wonderful hero like Zach. He has been out of the compound for four years and is still experiencing "first times". The way he does is darn cute, it is as if he sees things through children's eyes. The exhilaration, the joy, the fascination. There is a childlike innocence about him.
Zach is an amazing human being, wise beyond his young age, soft spoken, inherently good down to his soul, attentive and has perfect manners. It's the kind of person you want to have in your life.

"Zach was a beautiful person inside and out. And for some reason he chose me.

Lark is a strong and lively but tortured heroine. She has to work through a lot of problems which aren't obvious at first. When it's time to slay her dragons she does so with great courage. I also love about her that she is such a great friend, not just for Zach but also for May Shipley. This woman feels deeply, doesn't like drama and is loyal to the core. The troubles she has accepting Zach's love are understandable - she needs to heal before she can.

"I interlaced my fingers with his, feeling a little guilty about the rush of love I felt for Zach. He was bright and shiny and flawless. And I wasn't any of those..."

The pace of the story is a bit on the slower side but Sarina Bowen's effortlessly flowing writing style makes up for it. She has a way of writing as if she were talking to a friend telling stories. It's something that I've seen only a few times. Her knowledge about apples and Vermont is vast and I could picture the landscape and Shipleys Farm so well. I am also happy that we got to spend time with the whole Shipley family and Jude. There were hilarious dialogues and when Zach had sex for the first time in his life - I cracked up.

"And then all was quiet, save for our ragged breathing. Or so I thought. As I dropped my lips to Lark's damp forehead, I heard a new sound. From the other side of the wall came a piercing whistle, followed by cheering and applause."

The True North series is a winner in my books so I'll keep on reading them as long as this author writes these stories. There is something in them that reminds me of a warm hug: love, friendship, comfort. And that is what keeps me coming back.

"....Maybe you had pleasant dreams after four thirty. But after treating he rest of us to basically a porno soundtrack, it was woody city in the bunk room."

Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,156 followers
October 26, 2016

A hand at your back can help steady the weight of your burden.

Are you inclined to suffer in silence or share your burdens? To be honest, I’m all for sharing. It’s not unusual for me to tell my deepest, darkest secrets to complete strangers...well maybe not complete strangers, more acquaintances. Yes, I almost always regret it (because I look like a loon) but the feeling of relief once I’ve shared seems to outweigh the regret. What if your burden or secret horror is so bad that your brain blocks it out? Well, in my case, it just made my story more interesting. I don't even remember walking to the ambulance. In Keepsake we meet two remarkable people who have faced horror and lived to tell about it.

I’ve been really excited to read Zach’s story. Zach is a gorgeous, hard-working and sweet man who at 23 is still very innocent. He spent the first nineteen years of his life in a cult and then thrown out for breaking the rules. This is a man who walked for days with just the clothes on his back, no shoes and no money, to reach a safe sanctuary. Zach’s innocence has meant that nearly every new experience is something to be enjoyed.

His safe sanctuary was provided by Isaac and Leah, a couple that escaped from the cult/family he was in. They now own a farm in Vermont and make it known that they'll take cult members who left in and give them somewhere safe to recover. Zach stays with them for awhile until he lands a job at the Shipley’s farm helping with the apple picking. The Shipley’s have become his new family and he would do anything and everything for them.

Lark is a Wild Thing. She loves adventure and learning new things. When the non-profit organisation she works for sends her to Guatemala she’s excited about the new adventure. Unfortunately, she made the mistake of letting her guard down and was kidnapped. When she finally comes home, she suffers recurring nightmares and PTSD. Being at home hasn’t made things easier so when her best friend May Shipley asks her to visit for awhile, she jumps at the chance.

Lark’s night terrors seemed to only be soothed when a big, strong and beautiful man lays his hand at her back to soothe her. He hears her screams and comes running every time. This care is something Lark appreciates but she also feels extreme guilt. She doesn’t want to be a burden.

Zach loves that someone needs him. It also helps that he’s completely infatuated with Lark and has been from the first time he saw her. He can’t believe this beautiful woman is willing to let HIM be the one to soothe her. Up till now, he hasn’t even felt comfortable touching another person let alone soothing them, but Lark is different.

I really enjoyed seeing Zach and Lark’s journey towards happiness. It wasn’t an easy journey and at times it broke my heart. Zach’s history is ugly and the people he lived with were evil and demented. I would have loved to see them face justice for what they have done and still do. Lark’s pain was not seen but felt in the mental anguish after her trauma. We see the events that caused her anguish played out in her dreams. The hardest thing for Lark to get over was the guilt. Once she learns to not shoulder the guilt solely on her shoulders her burden seems to lessen.

Keepsake was great. I love the crazy antics of the Shipleys. When they are all together around the dinner table, I’ll admit that it makes me hungry. I think I would go for a farm stay too if the food is as good as described. One of my favourite parts of the whole story was after Zach and Lark are intimate for the first time. I was busting a gut laughing.

The True North series has been one of my favourites this year. The characters are lovable, the stories intriguing and the family dynamics something you want to be a part of. I can’t wait for more.

To buy Keepsake from Amazon - http://amzn.to/2eqUMvZ


I’m an Aussie chick who loves to read and review romance, drink coffee, be a Style Setter and stalk David Gandy. To see more of my reviews, fashion, food and pervathons -

Profile Image for KAS.
317 reviews3,130 followers
February 22, 2017
A S.W.E.E.T. Romance

Maybe a little too sweet for my ever growing need for angst and turmoil. I loved book two of this series "Steadfast," so when I picked this one up, I was going in with high hopes. This is Zach and Lark's story. As much as I tried, Lark was a character I could not connect with, so their romantic relationship was just ... meh.

I really did enjoy Zach, though. He is the quintessential mother's dream boyfriend/husband. Kind and caring to a fault, but gorgeous to boot. His upbringing as a child is unlike most others, which shaped who he is today and the is catalyst for his actions and his thoughts, which his male housemates enjoy ribbing him about.

Once fearless, Lark is on "mental health leave" ever since her assignment in Guatemala took a devastating turn and she was kidnapped. She is suffering from chronic nightmares and accepted the offer of her best friend, May, to come live and work at the family owned Shipley Farms in Vermont, hoping it will get her mind off the three weeks of hell she spent in captivity. At least there is a beautiful, blonde, muscular man, who also works at the farm, to divert her thoughts.

Zach is one well defined specimen of a man, but is as shy as they come. Lark shows up where he works and lives. Her beauty captivates him like no other and is overwhelmed with his feelings of attraction. Although he is twenty-three, Zach is celibate. He grew up on a religious cult compound in Wyoming, where young people were whipped for touching and hugging. He has the scars on his back to prove it. Ask a question, and you were slapped in the face. So he learned quickly to keep to his head down and keep to himself. His life consisted of working the farm from dawn till dusk. At age nineteen, Zach was literally thrown off the compound from the back of a moving flatbed truck after receiving a severe beating when he was caught "fooling around" with a girl. He found himself hitchhiking east across the country and luckily ended up at Shipley Farms.

Although this is the third book in the True North series, it is a stand alone.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,828 reviews2,189 followers
November 16, 2016
4 stars!

“I didn’t mind taking care of the people who take care of me.”

Zach was born and raised on a compound by a religious cult, until the age of 19 when they tossed him aside and left him homeless. Now at the age of 23 he lives and works on the Shipley farm, a place that he can call home. Lark is a family friend of the Shipleys, and after living a nightmare while working a job in a foreign country she needs a place to relax and put her demons behind her.

Lark's issues are a lot more significant than anyone realized, and Zach often finds himself comforting Lark when she has nightmares. As time goes by their attraction for each other deepens, but Zach still needs to work on his issues of abandonment, and Lark isn't ready to admit how much her ordeal in South America has messed with her head.

“Zach wasn’t just a guy I happened to be attracted to. He was special. Zach was a better person than… well, just about anybody. He ought to be handled with care.”

I've wanted to read Zach's book since his appearance in Bittersweet, and Sarina Bowen delivered a wonderful story! Zach isn't a jerk, he isn't an alpha. He's a sweet farmer, but it doesn't make him any less sexy. He was also the perfect man for Lark, as he had so much love in his heart to give.

Lark was a very interesting character, she was affluent and a hard worker. She needed help yet had no idea she needed to ask for it, and when she did she was scared to. Her circumstances could have happened to anyone in her situation and I felt for the poor girl and her hardships.

This was a delightful slow burn romance, that when it ignited it was hot! Makes you want to take your chances on Vermont and see if there are any hot apple pickers there who are single!

“You can be my problem anytime.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,163 followers
July 15, 2018
This is a psychology student's wet dream come true. A girl with major PTSD and a guy who grew up in a polygamist cult who's a virgin and a little messed-up in the head as well.

Those kinda questions are just a ticket to being dropped in the middle of nowhere, boy.

And, hey, if you are a psych major, why can I fly in my dreams, but have to land by falling? Answer that one, Smartypants!

Who better to get together with than someone who is just as fucked in the head as you? Because, you know, according to book knowledge, you can heal each other with the lurv.

Or not. I like that this book didn't do that.

Both the H and h were very likable, and the story included all of the characters from the first book in the series so it was a lot of fun.

If you aren't familiar, this series is set in Vermont, in hipster-land. There are lots of beards, flannel shirts, organic everything, and white-people dreadlocks.

Yes, yes, I can see you do. And, hey, it looks great! Really brings out the pink in your cheeks. Now, go harvest those organic blueberries so we can crush them up and make natural-dye for our hemp tie-dye party tonight. And, don't forget the weed.

Here's a snippet of perfectly normal conversation that they have right in the middle of talking about her problems:

"So how about this weather?" Zach said.."I just don't understand how anyone could doubt global warming is real."

"I know, right? But, they'll believe soon..."


Anyway. I like the series and characters, even if they are sending me subliminal messages to save the planet.

Oh, thanks, Sean. I thought I was going to have to recycle or something, but I see you have it covered. Whew!
Profile Image for Anniebananie.
537 reviews400 followers
October 8, 2017
Lieblingsband der Reihe! An nur einem Tag verschlungen, weil es einfach zu gut war. Ich habe sowohl Zach als auch Lark geliebt und ihre Geschichte war herzzerreißend schön! ❤️ und über das Setting habe ich ja bei den ersten beiden Büchern schon genug geschwärmt ⛰🍎🌳
Profile Image for Hannah G.
315 reviews18 followers
March 6, 2017
I'm rating this book 3 stars. What originally drew me into reading this was Zack in the book description. I was curious on how the author would incorporate Zach growing up in an occult in the book. I really really liked Zach in the book. His story I loved as well. His character was unique and different which was something I loved. Lark was the character I had trouble with. I couldn't connect with or understand her at all. I tried to connect with her as a character but all I had was indifference. Larks dialogue was also a little off. The whole before she went to Guatemala, lark was fearless thing. Didn't make sense to me. The examples the author gave of what lark did before Guatemala weren't fearless. There's a difference between fearless and stupid. I kinda wish the whole book was set in Zach's P.O.V. and not both of them. However Zach and lark really fitted in beautifully together. The friends to lovers thing was okay. The romance/love in this book was sweet. And overall their romance was pretty light and drama free.
I want to address the whole religion part of this book. When you bring religion into any book it needs to be done correctly. And the author failed at this. Personally I think it was unrealistic how Zach was religious and Lark wasn't and that didn't come up. In real life when the one person is religious and when the other isn't and that's in a couple it doesn't work. It's like having a Christian marry an atheist.
I think that this book would have been a lot better if when Zach was kicked out of his occult, lark found him right away. And the romance would have gone from there. This book was so slow. The pace really needed speed up. The setting and the way the other people acted I just couldn't connect to on any level. The whole Apple farm thing is so not me. I do think if farms are your thing and you love sweet and soft romances this book would be perfect for you. Lastly I wanted to say that "True North" definitely isn't the right name for this series. In most of the northern states (when your talking about the USA) people don't act that way.
Profile Image for Jeannine Allison.
Author 13 books507 followers
October 20, 2017
**Only 99c!**


I have been a fan of this author ever since I devoured her Ivy Year series almost a year ago. I love the writing, her characters, and the way she can make seemingly OTT plots seem normal. She can integrate crazy things (like being raised in a cult, and being kidnapped in a foreign country) and make it seem typical, like it could happen to anyone. Just as she can take simple plots and make them interesting enough for an entire novel. It's truly impressive.

I was definitely excited for Zach's story. One, because SB is an auto-buy author for me, and two, because he seemed like a very unique character. Zach was the sweet and awkward hero, my favorite kind, and I loved how he treated Lark. He was smitten at first sight.
"She looked vivid, as if God had painted her features with bolder paints than he used on the rest of the world. In addition to perfect skin, he'd softened her with lush curves and a full mouth."
"It didn’t really matter what we called it. I wanted to feel Lark’s heartbeat against mine when I fell asleep at night, and hear about her day just before we fell asleep. I wanted to bring her a cup of coffee in the morning, and tug her closer for a kiss."
"Winning the lottery wouldn't have been half as exciting to me."
"[Have I] ever made it into one of your best dreams?" - Lark
"They're all about you." - Zach
I simply adore the way this author writes her heroes. Even when she includes exes or facts about random women from their past, I never feel it detracts from the romance between the MCs. I truly believe in the relationships she writes, and I can feel the hero's affection and love toward the heroine. Zach was no different. The way he took care of Lark and never pressured her said a lot about his character. I honestly can't think of a single flaw he has. And not because he's a cardboard cut-out character that SB made flawless, but rather, he's just a genuinely good person. In the end, he just wants whatever is best for Lark.


It takes a while for Lark to come around. She's dealing with her own traumas and her subconscious has her believing that she's not good for anybody. Lark has a difficult time balancing give-and-take. She's essentially trying to keep score because she doesn't want to be a burden. And the entire Shipley bunch was responsible for making her see that when it comes to love and family, there is no score.
"Everyone has a time when they need a lot more than they can give. It doesn't matter how much you hate it. It's just true."
It's a rough journey for her, especially because she's so adamant on skipping over the painful parts, but she eventually finds her way. I liked her spunk and carefree spirit, but I don't know, something was just missing to keep me from loving her. I think there were times where I felt she took advantage of Zach and how good of a guy he was. She didn't necessarily do anything, it was just a general feeling I had.

And I have to mention Griffin, because he is easily my favorite hero in this series. I just fell head over heels for him in Bittersweet, and I loved the little snippets we got of him and Audrey. I'm a sucker for the grumpy guy who turns into a complete sweetheart. <3 <3

Anywho, back to this novel, there were a few moments that felt slow to me, but Zach's sweetness more than made up for it! And if you've read the other True North stories (and enjoyed them), you're definitely going to want to check this one out :)


Profile Image for Corina.
759 reviews2,128 followers
July 20, 2017
I've been a HUGE admirer of Sarina Bowen's work. It started with the The Ivy Years, continued with her first collaboration series Him, and from there on transferred to True North and WAGs. Each of these series has been different, captivating and addicting. 

I finally got around to read Keepsake (True North, #3) when I received the audiobook from my library. I love listening to audiobooks and Keepsake was a treat and a pleasure from beginning to end.

The entire True North series has been a wonderful and unique experience. Bittersweet (True North, #1) made me fall in love with the rugged men in rural Vermont. Their charming down-to-earth personality were enchanting and so very attractive to me. In an ocean of alphas, hotholes tycoons, billionaires, jocks - regular farmers that made my heart swoon were a sight for sore eyes and ears. 

I honestly ADORE authors that go against the grain. Writers that write outside the box, outside the trend, and most of all who write characters that are like you and me. 

Keepsake was perfect in it's pace and voice. 

It was finally time to read Zachariah's story. He had been a part of the Shipley family and the True North series from the very beginning. Zach, wowed me with his quiet but charming personality. His approachable and humble demeanor was easy to fall in love with. He was an utter delight. 

Lark, turned out to be a great match for Zach. Even though she carried a big secret with her and struggled with the consequences day and night, her time with Zach was heart-warming and healing in the best of ways. Lark had a long way to go until she was ready for anything lasting. But neither Zach or Lark were willing to give up. Especially Zach, he was the epitome of steady and a man that Lark could lean on even in her darkest hours.

I truly loved the way the author set the pace of this book. Any other way would have felt rushed. Honestly the last 1/4 of the book was my favorite. It was touching, deeply emotional and satisfying. 

I can't wait to read more about the Shipley's. Thank you Sarina Bowen for creating such a large and loving family. :D

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Profile Image for Christie«SHBBblogger».
959 reviews1,245 followers
October 26, 2016

Title: Keepsake
Series: True North #3
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release date: October 25, 2016
Cliffhanger: No

Even the safest place in the world felt more elusive after you’d visited some of the ugliest ones.

I didn't know what to expect with Keepsake other than the fact that I would get more quality time in with the lovable Shipley family on the farm. And that was enough for me. Zach has always been quite the mystery so far. We know that he's had an unconventional upbringing (to say the least), and he's a virgin. He's that one in the corner, quietly observing but not giving too much away. But he's fiercely loyal, and works harder than anyone, no questions asked. I was ready to discover what made this unique man tick. I was certainly not disappointed. If you're looking for:

A) an alpha
B) an asshole
C) a manwhore
D) all of the above

Then you're out of luck. He's one of the good guys. Just good, down to his soul. Zack was wonderfully unique and one of the most genuine and solid characters I've come across. It was really fascinating to peel away all of his many layers. What I loved so much about him was his ability to see the world as a place of opportunities. He has a lack of bitterness or anger, or even resentment over the fact that he was abused as a child. In fact, his exit from the religious cult where he grew up is thought of with sadness, but mainly just a sense of relief that he was able to have a life without the constant fear that he once endured. He maintained much of his innocence of the modern world because of being sheltered, but he's intelligent enough to know that he's not limited to the stricture and regulations put on him in his younger years. Everything was deemed a sin, even hugging and reading books.

When Zach found his way to the Shipley farm four years ago, after helping on a neighboring farm, he found himself a home and a family in every sense that matters. He was accepted with open arms, and he's still learning and adjusting to the real world.

When he meets May Shipley's best friend Lark, he's immediately taken with her. But he holds his feelings close to his chest and she walks right out of his life again into terrifying circumstances that will change her terribly. The once adventurous, brave girl has returned with a heavy burden and painful memories. She's holding the pieces of herself together by a thin thread. Smiling, while inside...she's anything but. She's barely surviving.

I would smile and act normal for as long as it took. Until acting normal seemed normal again, and the dragons in my heart forgot to blow their fire.

Frequent nightmares and fear are chipping away at the person she once was, but she doesn't know how to move on, to recover. Like Zach, she focuses on taking care of others and she doesn't want to upset her parents or the Shipleys by admitting how deeply she had sunk into anxiety. But as you probably know, feelings can't be pushed down in our deepest recesses forever. Sooner or later, they escape more powerful than ever.

Zach was absolutely beautiful in his care for her. In the bunk house they shared, he became her rock. There through every desperate cry in the dark. Willing to be her silent shoulder to lean on. The connection these two had was as real as you can get. They had a lot in common. Both sought out refuge on the Shipley farm after having their lives turned upside down. They were both survivors, but not embittered over their experiences.

When her horrible experience was fully revealed I hurt so much for everything she suffered. She was completely broken by it and not surprisingly so. I really appreciated the fact that Sarina Bowen addressed Lark's issues with honesty and respect. They weren't treated lightly or healed simply because she found a wonderful man who told her everything was all right. Life doesn't work that way. For every victory over her trauma that tormented her, she had to choose to work for it. And Zach was patiently waiting for the day she was free of her ghosts and in a healthy place.

These two had an amazing passion, Zach's lack of sexual experience didn't make him unsure of himself or insensitive to what she needed. And you could feel with every breath he took, his devotion to her, and his desire to make her his.

When I looked into her big-eyed gaze I saw my own desperation reflected back at me. The need we had for each other was bottomless.

I loved this book so much. I feel like both of them grew and became better people together, but also learned to stand on their own two feet and find the courage to make a better life for themselves. My only reasoning for taking off a star was the fact that the book could be slow paced in parts and took me longer than usual to read through. In no way am I saying that it was boring, yet there was something that prevented a fast flow for me. All in all, the story was beautifully written as always, and I really loved the journey Zach and Lark brought me on.

A lot of bitter things happened to you this year, but without them we wouldn’t be sitting right here.”

This is the third installment to the True North series, but can be read as a standalone. A must read!


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Profile Image for Angela (Reading Frenzy Book Blog).
944 reviews444 followers
November 4, 2016
Keepsake is the third standalone novel in the True North series. With each book I fall more and more in love with the Shipley family, life on the Shipley farm, the Shipleys’ friends—basically anything Shipley related. I’ve been curious about farmhand Zach, and now we finally get his story.

Zach has always been the quiet, kind, and hard working one. Other than the fact that he grew up in a religious cult and he’s a 23-year-old virgin, little is known about his past. Lark is May’s friend. She’s working at the farm during apple picking season and attempting to recover from a traumatic ordeal of her own.

I. Love. Zach. He knows what it’s like to painstakingly rebuild your life after horrific experiences. His gentle and gracious nature makes him the perfect partner for Lark. I really enjoyed the slow burn nature of their relationship and the way they unselfishly give to each other.

I have no issues with the plot itself, but the pacing is very slow making the book feel longer than necessary. I think editing some scenes out would have enhanced my overall enjoyment. That doesn’t detract from the numerous funny and sweet moments that make the story so appealing. The meals around the Shipley table, the gentle ribbing among the men, Zach and Lark’s experiences at the farmer’s market, and the integral roles Griffin and May play are just a few highlights. The epilogue is pure perfection.

Keepsake is a heartwarming addition to this winning series.

Recommended for fans of:
Cider donuts
Apple picking
Farm life
First love

**ARC received in exchange for an honest review.**

Reading Frenzy Book Blog
Profile Image for Nicola.
1,393 reviews244 followers
October 21, 2016
3.5 stars

This series has been a bit of a mixed bag for me so far; Bittersweet didn't blow me away, Steadfast did, and Keepsake is nestled right between the two.


Zach is no stranger to those of us who have read the series and, because I knew of his history, I must admit that I went in with a certain level of expectation; a hero who has escaped living in a cult isn't one you meet everyday. You can't deny the fact that the man is a complete darling and he and Lark have a lovely chemistry which is slower burn due to both their circumstances and experiences, that's understandable, however for me the storyline lacked that punch I was waiting for and when it came to Zach's lack of experience, his past and Lark's PTSD, opportunities to make them and their journey shine, were missed.

"I have as dirty a mind as anyone else. Just haven’t put it to recent use."

That said, it was by no means a difficult read and I do like Sarina Bowen's writing; Zack is Lark's rock and I loved his quiet, gentle, supportive nature, but it took a tad too long to gather pace, Lark wasn't a heroine who particularly stood out for me and I was hoping for more depth sooner. I love the Vermont setting, the Shipley's all bring value and humour, and the book wouldn't be complete without them, but after reading Steadfast which took this series to a new height for me, Keepsake fell a little short. I am pleased though to see that the door has been left open for more in the series.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

Profile Image for Wil Loves Books!.
1,123 reviews462 followers
October 26, 2017
Sweet and cute like most of Sarina's book. Beautiful writing. Not my favorite of hers but still a solid 4 stars. If you're looking for the one book in this series that will blow you away, that would be Steadfast . I loved the hero lots, not quite sure I liked the heroine as much, don't get me wrong, she was likeable, just a bit meh. Recommend if you're looking for a sweet virgin hero story!
Profile Image for Jacqueline's Reads.
2,772 reviews1,472 followers
October 4, 2017
4 Healing Stars

Keepsake is a standalone and is part of the True North series. I super love this series. It makes me want to drink a cup of coffee and curl next to a fire. It’s filled with romance, slight angst and apples!

Lark is damaged. She volunteered overseas and after a terrifying experience she needs to regroup and heal. At least she wants to try to heal.

We know a little of Zach from the previous books. He’s the soft spoken guy with a lot of baggage. It’s the quiet ones I love I tell you!

I really loved Lark. I found her strong, resilient and a fighter. She’s slightly messed up, but that just gave her character, well more character. She’s works on the farm to try to get over her past issues. I like that she has a mega huge heart and everyone loves her.

Zach is completely sweet! He’s adorable and you just want to squeeze him. I love that he is inexperienced and it just adds more to his charm. I also liked that he is from a cult and it makes him kind of mysterious too.
I found Zach and Lark a very good pairing. Zach cares for Lark deeply and does his best to help her, but he also doesn’t over step her boundaries. I love that he thinks of often and I’m always a fan when the Hero lusts over the Heroine.

Because Lark is a little banged up, she keeps everyone at arm’s length and tries to hide her issues.

I love this series because I feel like each book you get is different and kind of informative. I love the apple picking process and selling at the farmer’s market. It makes me want to put my husband in a cute fleece flannel jacket.
If you are a fan of the series, you will not be disappointed.

An ARC was provided

Bittersweet (True North, #1) by Sarina Bowen Steadfast (True North, #2) by Sarina Bowen Keepsake (True North, #3) by Sarina Bowen
Bittersweet #1 REVIEW | AMAZON - B&N - iBOOKS - KOBO - GOOGLE

Steadfast #2 AMAZON | REVIEW

Keepsake #3 AMAZON

Profile Image for Michelle.
2,082 reviews862 followers
February 8, 2017
I was looking forward to Zachariah’s story so much!

In Keepsake, Lark Wainright has just escaped a kidnapping in a dangerous country and after not being able to find her footing upon her return to the states, ventures to the Shipley’s farm to escape a bit. She puts on a brave face as she tries to show everyone that she’s okay – but Zachariah sees much more than what’s on the surface. After all, it wasn’t that long ago he was escaping his own past, finding a home on the same farm.

When she can’t seem to open up to anyone else, she finds peace in the arms of Zach, who is still battling his own demons.

I adore this series. I loved the dynamic between Zach and Lark. I am usually not a fan of the virginal, good guy character, but how could anyone not love Zach?!?!

While Lark struggles with the fear, Zach struggles with the idea that after one family threw him away – eventually he’ll overstay his welcome. Just waiting till he is told it’s time to move on.

This is one of my favorite series. Each book nails it. Sarina Bowen gives you such emotional stories, which although they all take place in the same world, are so unique. I loved how this story focused on not only Lark and Zach, but gave you so much of all the supporting characters. You felt like you were invited into their world as you read the story. I love how each book in this series gives you such a unique story, all while the Shipley’s ensure you feel like you are standing on their farm as you experience it.
Profile Image for Claire.
2,308 reviews702 followers
October 24, 2016
3.5 - "You're my happy thought..." Stars!

We return to Vermont and the Shipley Farm for the third book in Sarina Bowen’s True North series. This is Zach’s book, and although he features in the previous two, it was great to finally get in this guy’s head.

Spending the first nineteen years of your life living in commune type conditions under a cult style dictatorship gives Zach Holtz a slightly different outlook in life in comparison to his peers on the farm, this is a quietly spoken, stay in the background kind of guy, who on an average day, learns something new about the world he is living in, or of himself, that those around him just take for granted, and for some reason this innocent naivety made Zach feel even more approachable, in the reading of his story, where you would expect others to judge he was just kind of there with quiet support and stoicism.

It was rare for me to be truly useful to anyone. Sure, I was a good worker. If you needed a half ton of apples crated. I was your man. But I wasn’t close to many people, and nobody counted on me for support… Probably the definition of lonely.

The books in this series, have had varying degrees of success for me, and although I don’t think Keepsake quite had the emotional depth to it of its predecessor Steadfast, it wasn’t a struggle to read. I have to admit to a certain amount of wariness in returning to the farm, as I found the first book of the series was far too overbalanced in the facts over the fictional story aspect, but the author hit the scale between those things perfectly in Keepsake.

"I’ve always been that kid who practiced making everyone worry. This year I turned pro."

So what happens when you take the world weary but experienced woman, struggling to come to terms with escaping from an extreme situation, and the terrors and nightmares that follow it, with a man that is virtually innocent in the ways of love and relationships, and on how best to help her.

"You can be my problem anytime."

The author explores this dynamic really well through the telling of Zach and Lark’s story. This is slow burn romance at the beginning, and the sexy times are left in favour of building the friendship aspect between these two for most of the first half of the book. I think if you take into account the subject matter the author was right to build the connection between them before adding in that aspect of the romance. They are polar opposites on so many things, that as they get to know each other and learn of the others pasts, the differences between them are what ultimately pull them together as a couple.

"Sometimes you have to take a step back before you can move forward."

I am assuming that there are likely to be more books due from the True North series at some point in the future, Sarina has certainly set it up that there are several more Shipley’s and a few other characters that could well have stories to be told.

"It’s good to be here."

ARC generously provided by the author, and it was my pleasure to provide the above honest review.
Profile Image for Princess under cover.
571 reviews244 followers
June 15, 2019
Bought this one too. Worth it.

Zach is my favorite kind of hero (even if he is kinda beta). Just a deeply KIND and GOOD man. Innocent, pure, true. The best possible kind of man. The kind I'd like to relieve of his virginity and have forever - like the heroine, what's her name? oh right, Lark - did.

Honestly I read romance books for the Heroes, I never think too hard about the women. But I do like a heroine who doesn't annoy me.

5 stars for Zach, despite his almost immeasurable patience and kindness and faith. (Which is the beta part I kinda wish was a little less present).

4 stars for the heroine Lark. She def didn't annoy me, but I hate it when the woman needlessly hurts the man (for some reason the reverse doesn't bother me AS MUCH if the man did it for a good reason). She was immature. Yes PTSD, but you can say you're not ready for him, girl, you don't have to make him feel like shit and he didn't mean anything to you when he gave everything of himself to you and you KNEW how he felt. There could be no mistake how he felt since he's the most honest person you've ever met in your life.

So I kinda hated her a little, even tho I knew why she did it.

He's mature tho. She hurt him, but he knew what was the cause. He didn't hold it against her. He was the total rock in all of her drama.

I want to keep Zach too.
Profile Image for MELISSA *Mel Reader*.
1,346 reviews1,419 followers
October 25, 2016
4.5 Stars!
(ARC provided by author)

 photo 47A2FDCC-5A59-4C0E-8218-E4BE0CFE08A2_zpsh4iujiw6.jpg

Zachariah Holtz is a gorgeous sweet guy that has an innocence about him. He grew up sheltered on a religious compound at a big ranch in Wyoming that was like a cult. When he was 19 they threw him out of the only home he'd ever known. It was a shock to be alone & on his own. He makes his way to Tuxbury, Vermont & slowly builds a life for himself. It's been four years, & Zach now lives with the Shipley's on the Shipley Farm. He works hard & is trying to live a normal life. He is a 24 year old virgin who keeps to himself since he was taught touching was bad & shameful. When a woman he met once before named Lark Wainright shows up to stay at the Shipley's, Zach gets flustered. She's gorgeous & makes him feel desires that make him question his celibacy.

 photo 312DE82E-BEBE-494B-8E55-C8A51411873C_zpsdw9elcox.jpg

Lark is from Boston. She went to college with May Shipley, & when May invites her to come stay with her family for the rest of the harvest season Lark jumps at the opportunity to escape the watchful eye of her overprotective parents. Lark was kidnapped while working in Guatemala, & went through a traumatic ordeal. Desperate to get away & feel normal again, she hopes spending time with her best friend will bring back her sanity. Vermont could be her salvation.

Since returning four weeks ago, Lark has been having nightmares, & doesn't know if she'll ever be the same fearless person she used to be. She's sleeping in a room at the Shipley's bunkhouse & keeping busy working on the farm. When she finds herself paired up with Zach to work the farmers market she suddenly has a lot of alone time with this mysterious beautiful guy. He's easy company & gives her a sense of comfort.

 photo DE83CAA5-9F5B-4475-9DD6-7474F6F5F0A4_zpsr5tfeiq2.jpg

-Zachariah was a thing of beauty.

-Chemistry was something I hadn't felt in a long time. It was even nicer than I remembered.

-Lark was the most enchanting woman I'd ever met.

-There was no part of her that didn't make my eyes want to linger.

 photo 823BC6CA-0355-4A93-B9E2-47602A9ED276_zpsspfea9vs.jpg

During Lark's time at the farm, Zach becomes her safe place & they grow extremely close. She can be herself & doesn't have to pretend to be ok when they're together. Things turn intimate & holy hell is it hot! Zach is so delicious!!! He's never felt so much for another person & falls hard for Lark. His love helps to heal all her broken pieces & makes her feel whole again.

 photo 7f2a0674-9457-4206-a18b-ab26ca446dbc_zpslrutmwsc.png
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,376 reviews316 followers
October 21, 2016
4.5 stars

I might just be a tad biased when it comes to the True North series. I love love the Shipley's farm setting and the inclusive of the family, especially Griff. I'm happy to say that he appear plenty. I'm more than happy to read about their farming activities, like apple picking, cider pressing, attending farmer's markets and not to forget Kyle's blabber mouth.

Keepsake is Zachariah's story, the virgin boy who ran away from a cult community. We read about him since Book 1 and we all know he is a sweetie. Zach liven up to his expectation. He is kind, hardworking, shy, mild manner and a quiet guy. We also learn a bit on his history at the cult and how he ended up at Vermont. Although he is comfortable working like a horse in the Shipley's Farm and wish to stay at the bunkhouse forever, he can't help but feel that they might not need him forever. Zach is in constant dilemma about his uncertain future.

Lark is May Shipley's best friend, who we never heard of. After her unfortunately ordeal while working at Guatemala, Lark was invited to come to the Shipley's for some R&R and helping out at the farm while recuperating from her mental distress.

Lark seems like a good match for Zach, she is more worldly, more sociable and adventurous, a total opposite of Zach. But underneath her charming personality, she is an absolute mess. On the day, she is all social and fun, but during the night she suffered PTSD. One of the reason how she became close to Zach is because he comfort her during the night.

Their romance is really slow burn. As expected, Zach is a total gentleman and even though Lark is the first girl that he feel attracted to, we know he won't do anything beside being a supportive friend while pinning for her secretly. Lark was not emotionally ready for relationship, but she did appreciate Zach's friendship. It did take some time for their friendship to turn into something more. But I do enjoyed the wait and the anticipation for what's to come. When it finally happened, the emotional satisfaction is definitely worth the wait.

There are times when I feel that I might not 100% like Lark as oppose to the previous two heroines because she seems like too much work. I do sympathize with her ordeal, but I would definitely prefer reading a happy go lucky heroine with less baggage. It make me feel mopey, especially seeing Zach feeling mopey about his relationship with Lark. But in the end, she did change my perception. I think the way Sarina show her growth and recovery is really great and it definitely lifted up my spirit a lot.

I think in order to enjoy this story, one definitely have to at least read Book 1. The Shipley's family is a prominent figure for the series and is best to be familiar with them before venturing into this book.
Profile Image for Denise.
547 reviews
November 4, 2017
4.5 ⭐

Ach wie schön 😍. Nachdem ich den ersten Band geliebt habe und den zweiten sehr gut fand, war ich schon sehr gespannt auf die Geschichte von Zach.

Zach kennen wir ja bereits aus den vorherigen Bänden und er war mir immer sympathisch! Dadurch, dass er in einer Sekte aufgewachsen ist, die von der Zivilisation abgeschnitten lebt, hat er auch nach 4 Jahren noch immer einiges zu lernen. Er hat das Gefühl, dass er immer wieder beweisen muss, dass er ein nützlicher Mitarbeiter auf der Farm der Shipleys ist, damit sie ihn nicht eines Tages vor die Tür setzen (was sie natürlich nie tun würden).
Zach ist ein wahnsinnig positiver Mensch, der sich für die Leute um ihn rum einsetzt und ihnen immer hilfsbereit zur Seite steht. Außerdem ist es richtig süß wie er sich um Lark kümmert 😍😍.

Lark ist eine gute Freundin von May (Griff's Schwester) und kommt auf die Farm um sich zu erholen, da sie vor einigen Monaten in Guatemala entführt worden ist und jetzt versucht wieder auf die Beine zu kommen. Sie ist verunsichert, ängstlich und hat ziemlich schlimme Träume. Sie ist eine wahnsinnig starke und liebenswerte Person!

Die Liebesgeschichte war wirklich süß 😍. Dadurch, dass Lark noch nicht ganz sie selbst ist und Zach kaum Erfahrung hat, geht sie teilweise langsamer voran, aber das passt auch einfach perfekt!
Man fliegt geradezu durch die Seiten und fiebert schon dem Ende entgegen 😁.

Mit ihrem Schreibstil hat Sarina Bowen mich wieder richtig packen können, denn sie schreibt locker, flüssig, humorvoll und sie weiß genau wie sie die Emotionen ihrer Charaktere rüberbringen kann.

Insgesamt eine absolut gelungene Fortsetzung, die ich euch nur empfehlen kann 😍💕.
Profile Image for Brandie.
707 reviews221 followers
November 12, 2016
4.5 ✨

The first book in this series to make me cry. Little slow start, but I ended up loving it. I hope there are more books to come in this series!
Profile Image for JewelsyGoolsy.
565 reviews93 followers
December 17, 2016
3.75 -awwww- Stars
This author has perfected the art of writing sweetie pie, cutielicious Beta heroes who can melt your heart with their earnestness and sincerity.

As much as I loved both MC's and their wonderful development, I could have done with a little less page fillers on all the mechanics of cider making, and a little less detail on how every farm chore is worked. Don't get me wrong; it was still interesting to learn, and I appreciate the backdrop/scenery that the author was painting, but Jewelsy was always "that" person in the office who zones out when the I.T guy tries to teach her technical stuff like system errors. I mean, I appreciate your help, Mr I.T guy, but please just give me the GIST of it in short form and then just fix it... cos I got my own work to do!

I would have also loved to see more doing, less procrastinating in this story, but at the end of the day; this was still a very sweet, safe and heartfelt story that had me swooning and invested in all the characters from start, to finish.

Told in dual POV and standalone story in a series. I had previously read and enjoyed book #1, so I had enough familiarity with these characters to not find myself confused when I skipped book #2 and jumped straight into this one. Highly recommended to fans of this author, as well as lovers of patient, cutie patootie, respectful heroes who don't harbour any bazillionaire alpha tendencies.
Profile Image for Claudia Fosca Stahl.
163 reviews23 followers
March 21, 2023
It’s a Keeper

I love this book. I love this series. This is the third installment in the True North Series and it keeps getting better and better. This is the story of Zach and Lark, a mismatched pair made in the beautiful wilderness of Vermont. Both vulnerable and hurt by their past, they develop an unexpected connection, a friendship fueld by a powerful attraction that, soon enough, leads to fireworks. The timing couldn’t be worse though, and each of them will have to confront their past to be able to forge a future together.

I love this book for the exact same reason I love Bittersweet and Steadfast, and all of Sarina Bowen’s books, really. She is a masterful storyteller. Her writing is flawless and manages to charm you with her witty sense of humor. Keepsake has plenty of depth; it deals with serious matters such as abuse and mental health (PTSD), but at the same time has a freshness and lightness that comes from its ingenious narrative. Sarina Bowen created an ordinary world and made it feel extraordinary, and her characters feel like people you can relate to. They are regular albeit beautiful people you can empathize with, precisely because they are authentic, real. She has the uncanny ability to convey a myriad of emotions through her characters that will make you feel all the feels, and leave you craving more of her beautiful Vermont.
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