5 YOU OWN ME CROWNS
Steadfast by Sarina Bowen follows Jude, the recovering drug addict we meet in Bittersweet, and Sophie, his estranged ex-girlfriend. Their story is one of mistakes, lies, and heartache, but Sarina Bowen shows through the development of Sophie and Jude that these acts do not define us, and, that ultimately, we get to choose the outcome of our lives.
As always Sarina Bowen has hit it out of the park with her characters. I have read all of her books, and there is not a single character who I dislike. Do I have my favorites? Sure, but I love them all, and I am always sad to leave them when I finish one of her books. Jude and Sophie are no different.
Jude’s strength is what attracts me to him as a character. The use of imagery by the author makes his cravings seem so real to the reader, and accurately displays how much he has to fight to stay sober. Battling a drug addiction, Jude shows immense fortitude when fighting off his cravings. There is not one time that he denies having them or feels that they are easy to control, which exemplifies that amount of internal strength he possesses. I also enjoy how Jude grows from a character with little self-worth to someone who knows that he matters. This occurs through his interactions with the Shipley family and, of course, the heroine. Sophie is a phenomenal heroine. Her endless capacity to love, to forgive, to fight injustices, and to stand up for others, even if it puts her danger, makes her a heroine to admire. Her love and dedication to Jude helps him immensely throughout the story, in terms of his fight against his cravings and his attitude about himself and what he deserves in his life.
What I think I really love about these two characters is the role reversal. Often, we get the shy, quiet, withdrawn heroine who is awakened and comes into her own because of the hero. Now, Jude isn’t shy, quiet, or withdrawn because that is his personality. He exhibits those characteristics as a form of self-punishment, which is tied to his remorse for his past actions. But, Sophie is the one that helps him begin to make his way out the darkness, and it is completely refreshing to see a heroine rescue the hero of the story.
As a very quick aside, I love the Shipley family, all of them. Every time Jude visits them, I feel like I am going home to eat dinner with them. Sarina Bowen deftly depicts the warmth and love that radiates from this clan, and it just emanates from your Kindle and into your heart! I can’t wait to get more of them, and I will desperately hold out hope for May’s story.
The plot of this story is my favorite aspect of the whole book. When I began the book, I knew it would be one of second-chance love and redemption, but I never expected the secrets and investigative aspect of the story. Once again, I was completely surprised by this turn of events. It sucked me into the story, and just like Sophie, I needed to know what really happened. Who was involved? Why were they together? What happened after? There are so many parts to the story that aren’t revealed until the end that it captivated me the whole way through the book. Additionally, the climax of the plot is explosive and one I didn’t see coming. And, finally, just like Sophie, I hoped that Jude would get his redemption. I won’t give away the resolution to the story, so you will have to read Steadfast to see if he does.
The last part of the book that I really like, which just appeals to my English soul, is the physical structuring of the story. I love when an author takes something as simple as how the chapters are set up in a book and makes it more. The song selections and the craving ratings at the beginning of each chapter is genius. Before I even began the chapter, I had an idea of the mood of the character, and this technique, when done well, only amplifies the development of the characters and the progression of the plot. It is an amazing addition to an already fantastic story.
Sarina Bowen’s voice as an author is distinct and wonderful. She has a gift for words, and I thoroughly enjoy living in the different worlds and characters she creates. Steadfast is just another must read book you need to have on your reading device.
For the synopsis, purchase link, and author information, continue reading.
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.
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