She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have. 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.

**Note:  This book was provided to the Book Hookup by the author’s publicist but that did not in any way influence this review!!

I absolutely fell in love with Jude and Sophie’s story from the very first page!  This second chance romance is filled with emotion and real-life problems.  The writing is wonderful and the addiction storyline was handled with care and with realism.  There’s no surgar-coating here…Ms. Bowen helps the reader understand that overcoming addiction is very difficult but, through Jude, she shows us that with much hard work and determination it can be possible.

Although at it’s core this is a love story, it’s really Jude’s story to tell.  A recovering drug addict who has just been released from prison because a car accident resulted in a fatality, he’s looking to rebuild his life.  We first met Jude when he worked at the Shipley farm in the first book in this series.  His determination to turn his life around was evident even then but, when he returns to his hometown and finds that the love of his life is still there, things become that much more real and that much more difficult for him.

Dealing with his alcoholic father, trying to revive the family business, and getting a handle on local police who would rather have him leave, makes for difficult days…especially on top of his struggle to overcome his addiction.  But Jude is a fighter and wants to conquer these obstacles.  I loved that even with all of this on his shoulders, his kind heart and his feelings for Sophie are evident from the very beginning.  The fact that he’s willing to stay away from her for her own good is both wonderful and heartbreaking.  But it’s his willingness to do anything for her, even if it hurts him, that makes him irresistible.  The love story here is filled with happiness, sorrow, angst, fear, determination, and, of course, romance.  I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  These two characters and their story won my heart!

Book Rating Breakdown
General Book Feels
Dirty Talk Ability
Brooding level of the hero

I really liked Sophie’s character as well.  I admired her desire to know the truth around the night of the accident and the way she supported her family, even if they didn’t deserve it.  The fact that she couldn’t resist Jude and, at times, didn’t even try was what made her so human.  I could easily put myself in her position and know that I’d probably do something very similar.  Of course, part of the fun in this story is to see the Shipley family again and bask in their amazingness.  The support they continue to provide each other and to Jude and Sophie is heartwarming.  Everyone should have a Shipley family in their lives.  I can’t wait for the third book in this series where the main character will be Zack, another employee at the farm.

This is one of my favorite books by Ms. Bowen.  But, in reality, all the books I’ve read by this author have been great.  I always know that when I pick up a book by her I will enjoy it.  If you haven’t read anything by Sarina Bowen you’re cheating yourself out of wonderful, thoughtful stories, fantastic characters, and great writing.  So, don’t wait, you can read Jude and Sophie’s story as a stand alone…so go get it now!!


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