Review: ‘Bountiful’ by Sarina Bowen

34099086Published October 20th 2017
315 pages

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.

Sarina Bowen is one of those authors for me that can do no wrong. I’m someone who almost exclusively reads M/M romance, that’s just my jam, but I will always have time for Sarina’s M/F work. Everything she does is so flawlessly written, I’m swept up into the story right from the start and I never want it to end. This book was no exception.

The True North series is one of my ultimate favourites. I’m a country girl at heart, so stories set out in the wilds or in little rural towns are a love of mine, throw in some sexy farmers and I’m sold. But I’m also a sucker for sports romances, so Sarina’s various hockey-themed novels are some of my very favourites as well. In this book both of those worlds collided and I was HOOKED.

I always liked Zara back when we first met her in Bittersweet, and getting to know her here was a treat. She’s such a badass, strong and capable and smart, what a babe. She owns who she is, flaws and all, and you can’t blame Dave for gravitating towards her. Seeing her soften, but retain her fire and tenacity, after having her baby felt so natural and rewarding to witness.

And can we just talk about Dave for a minute, because damn boy. Sarina has a knack for writing incredibly sexy leading men, and Dave is right up there with the best of them. Red-headed hockey man with a killer smile and a cocky attitude, he was delicious. And the way he grew, the depth of love in him, the way he dealt with his past when he learned he had a child…that goddamn man.

I’ve read quite a few books lately that I just haven’t been able to fall in love with, I’ve felt like I had to drag my way through them, so to have one pull me in like ‘Bountiful’ did has been a real pleasure. I don’t have a single criticism, I just want to gush about how amazing it was.

This book obviously has lot of baby talk going on, which isn’t really my thing, I’m hardly a maternal person so it’s not something I look for in my romances. But I didn’t even care, I embraced it. I even liked baby Nicole. I liked seeing Zara kick ass as a single parent, with the help of her extensive support network; Zara’s family were (mostly) great, especially her brother Benito, and of course the Shipley clan were a joy to revisit. I liked seeing Dave cautiously getting to know his daughter, with the hockey boys making cameos to be his support system. And Dave’s sister Bess was a star. I liked bloody everything.

Zara and Dave’s relationship, both with and without Nicole, was intoxicating. They were made for each other. They’re such a strong pair that are perfectly capable of standing on their own, but they’re so much better together. They’ve each had less than ideal upbringings, making them believe a happy family just wouldn’t be on the cards for them, but that steady relationship they need blossoms between them without them even realising. Dave tries to build a secure life for Zara and Nicole before he even knows if he’ll be there for it, not out of guilt or obligation, but because he loves them. It’s bloody beautiful.

This book got me teary in a few places, and that doesn’t happen all that often. It’s just wonderful. These two people, scarred by their childhoods, get what they’ve always thought they could never have. I really didn’t want it to end, and I will most definitely be reading it again.

5/5 stars

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