True North #1
Sarina Bowen, I bow to you. Who would have thought that I would fall under the spell of a gruff and grouchy farmer?
Audrey didn't have a happy childhood. Her mother is cold at best and has always been giving her the impression that she is a constant failure. She dropped out of college, never really finished anything until she found her calling in cooking, the only thing she thinks she's good at. Audrey works for a chain of restaurants hoping that one day she will be a chef at her own. She puts up with the most absurd projects in order to keep her job because she wants to show her mother that she can take care of herself. One of these projects is the farm-to-table project of the company she works for. Her boss sends her to Vermont to convince local farmers to sell their produce.
Griffin used to be a football player in college. He had a career ahead and had been drafted to play professionally when he had to take over his family's farm after his father passed away unexpectedly. Sacrificing his dream and taking up the responsibility of becoming the head of his family wasn't easy but Griff finds solace in his passion for making cider and takes pride in the high quality he produces. One day a woman he knows intimately from college visits him with a proposition to sell his cider for an offendingly low price. Despite his irritation for this offer the attraction they felt when they hooked up in college surfaces again with a force. But Griff doesn't have time for a relationship and Audrey lives in Boston. Additionally she works for she Dark Side so there is no way this can work. Or can it?
I flipped her over and kissed her. She wrapped her arrms around me immediatel. This right there was my five-year plan. I didn't know how it was going to work out yet. But I wasn't giving up.
Griff is the kind of guy who makes it impossible for real men to live up to a book boyfriend. Not gonna lie, he is EXACTLY the guy I would fall for. He is this grouchy and gruff, bearded, handsome guy who didn't just settle for taking over the farm and the responsibilities that come with it. He has made the best out of the hand life has dealt him. He is a sexy, endearing, deeply caring and responsible man with a sense of humor to boot (watch out for the scene in which he tells everybody that he likes Audrey, good times!). And the best thing...the BEST THING...he is a Star Wars fan - on page 3 I came across the first SW reference and I knew that this was going to be good.
“He turned toward me wearing a typical, piercing Griff frown. It was so potent it should probably be its own word. Griffrown.”
Audrey is this slightly quirky, funny and adorable girl who seems flighty at times. Her mother never went easy on her, criticizing eveything she did in the past. I think that's why I went easy on her. I found a lot of myself in her, how I was when I was young. (I wasn't irresponsible by any means but being a jack of all trades means having a widely spread field of interests. This paired with an easily sparked enthusiasm made it hard for me to focus on just one thing. But I disgress).
Audrey's sense of humor is clever and she successfully riles up her former college hook-up.
“Holy Cannoli. I was cuddling the world's grumpiest farmer.”
Audrey and Griffin have an undeniable chemistry that jumps at you the minute they meet again. Their sexual encounters start early on, some might have a problem with that since it seems a bit insta. I can explain it to myself with them drawing a lot from their memory.
Every hour she spent in Vermont served to remind me of exactly how hot for her I'd been in college, too.
The secondary characters are brilliant. Griff's mother is the role model of a mom you want your boyfriend to have. Sarina Bowen gives us a nice impression of the personalities of Griff's siblings, his cousin and his employees Zach and Jude. The latter two will be heroes in the next two books and I can already tell that Jude's will make my heart ache.
HIM was the first book I read written by this author in collaboration with a favorite of mine, Elle Kennedy. Their blend of writing was compelling and captivating so I was excited to see if Sarina Bowen's solo-writing would be just as enthralling. I couldn't be happier. This author's humorous writing style draws you in and doesn't let you go, it's irresistable and exactly what I need to escape life for a bit. Thank you for a fabulous time on a farm in Vermont, Ms. Bowen. The core message of the story I take away is that plans change and it's ok to change your mind.
TLTR? Pure Awesomesauce.