Steadfast by Sarina Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I literally have no nails right now. I'm no nail biter but I've bitten them down as far as they can go without hurting myself. Trying to find time in my hectic schedule to read STEADFAST by Sarina Bowen has been all consuming. I couldn't get enough of her magic with words and her innate ability to tell you a story is the most all encompassing way possible.
It's no secret I adore Bowen. Probably one of my favourite contemporary romance authors of all time. She is gifted like no other and she really knows how to pull at all your heart strings. The story of young love has been done, second chances...check, but this, has never been done before. And there is no better author out there to even attempt at making the themes that are current throughout this book seem realistic in any way. But Bowen is a master at her craft-and she handled this book and it's taboo themes beautifully.
Jude loved Sophie from day 1. Her lovely sing song voice captured his heart and all he ever did was try to be the best he could be for her. However, growing up with an alcoholic for a father, and knowing your mother ran out on you can leave you with a lot of unresolved feelings of hurt and anger and not knowing exactly where to put them. Enter painkillers. Sure, you get hurt, the doctor prescribes you with a pain reliever-no problemo. Until it is. Until you can't stop. Until one turns into two and two into three and then you're trying other drugs just to find the initial buzz that first pull you ever took gave you. When that doesn't work and you need more, you steal. You lie. And you hurt. You hurt yourself and the people who care about you the most.
Sophie lived a life she thought was great. Until it wasn't. She had the love and adoration of her boyfriend and even though her father never liked him, she didn't care. Her and Jude shared so many firsts and she wanted them all. And only with him. Loyal to a fault and naive like every other teenager-she didn't realize the signs until it was too late.
Fast forward three and half years and the hurt and the anger and overwhelming love for each other hasn't disappeared. Tragedy strikes when you least expect it-but the unwavering faith Sophie had in Jude was poetic. Despite what happened, and in retrospect because of what happened, Sophie can't stay away from Jude. They're drawn together like positive and negative ions. Never being able to escape the other. Soul mates. Through and through. The power love has over these two beautiful souls is so heartbreakingly stunning I had a hard time catching my breath at times.
Jude never gave up. He fought so hard. He didn't have to though. He never thought he'd ever see Sophie again after that fateful night. Nor should he. He invariably ruined her life. Butt did he? Sophie never forgot. Ever. Every single day despite what he did, she thought of Jude. Letting go wasn't an option.
Fate had other ideas for these two. Being brought back together. Sophie's faith in Jude and his innocence. The perils that occurred in those three years could have been avoided had the truth been told and the coward of a father that was Sophie's just fessed up and accepted that not everyone, including his son, was perfect.
My sorrow for Jude was overwhelming. Thank god for Sophie and her persistence and perseverance. She went above and beyond for Jude-but I know he would do the same for her. They loved each other to the ends of the earth and Bowen expertly made that clear from page one.
"An addiction is when you can't keep away from something that is bad for you. Maybe Jude was a drug addict, but I was a Jude addict."
I loved the little extras in this book. From the internal DJ to the craving meter, it gave us further insight into the characters of Sophie and Jude. And I loved every nuance.
Right up until the last page I was hooked. I absolutely LOVED this book. Hearing about Griff and Audrey, all the Shipley gang and even little tidbits here and there of other masterfully created characters from some of her other books. I highlighted so many passages that I cannot even put them all in this review. This may be up here with one of Bowen best works, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read STEADFAST. I'll leave you with my favourite part:
"You make me feel so lucky," I told her. It was the truest thing I'd ever said.
"Were both lucky," she insisted. "Let's plan on staying that way. "
"It's a deal."
Luck? Or meant to be?! I'm thinking both.
Reviewed by Jess for joandisalovebooks blog
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