True North #3
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."