Review: Bittersweet (True North, #1) by Sarina Bowen

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4 stars!

The first book in Sarina Bowen’s True North series, this is a gorgeous story with a grouchy, Vermont farmer and a spirited chef trying hard to make her culinary dreams come true. An almost-second chance romance and almost-enemies-to-lovers, this is a fun read with great dynamics, strong chemistry, and a fantastic bunch of characters that make this a great read.

After years of trying to find her place, Audrey has graduated from culinary school and has a job with a big food chain. It’s a job she’s struggling to hold onto after making some mistakes, but with a dream of one day opening her own restaurant, she is determined to make a success of herself. So when her employers send her from their Boston hub to Vermont to make deals with local farmers for produce, she enthusiastically makes the trip. But on her first stop, she runs her car into a ditch only to be rescued by the last man she ever expected to see – Griffin Shipley, her old college hook-up.

Griffin is a hard working Vermont farmer who gave up a promising professional football career to run his family’s farm after the death of his father. It’s not the life he dreamed of, but he has found contentment on the farm, though the hours are long and the responsibility of providing for his mother and younger siblings weighs heavily on him. But he bears it proudly, doing what he knows is the right thing – even if that heavy load makes him a grumpy bastard.

“He turned toward me wearing a typical, piercing Griff frown. It was so potent it should probably be its own word. Griffrown.”

When Audrey shows up on his farm, it throws him for a loop. She rocked his world in College and he wanted more, but it never happened for them. Now she shows up wanting to make a business deal with him, presenting an offer so low as to be laughable. He wants nothing to do with her corporate world and sends her on her way, but fate has other ideas, and an attraction very quickly sparks to life – despite their outward animosity.

“It’s been…interesting.”
Aw.” He actually rolled his eyes. Interesting? That’s the review I get? I’m pretty sure the earth moved.”
Well… My cheeks heated. You’re the farmer. It’s your job to notice the earth.”

This is a really fun set up for a love story. The chemistry between Griff and Audrey sizzles and the sexy time is hot, but their lives are completely different and there is so much standing in their way. But the more time Audrey spends on the Shipley farm, the closer they become, and despite the obstacles, they unexpectedly begin to fall for each other, and it was gorgeous to watch.

“Every touch was a command, as if I’d been placed on this earth to pleasure him. Judging from the way my body responded to his touch, perhaps I had.”

The emotion between them grows easily and naturally, but there is so much for them to overcome. And with both of them pressured by their jobs and lifstyles, will they be able to find enough common ground to make a relationship work?

Griff was tied to his farm and his cows. I was going to build a foodie empire in Boston any minute now. It was a relationship with no future. Correction – it was a … sex fest with no future

To think of her as mine seemed like an impossible luxury. It’s the only luxury I’ve ever been greedy for.

I loved these two. Audrey is sweet and strong, yet relatable. She doesn’t always get it right, but she takes life as it comes and is working hard to achieve her dreams and I really like that about her. And what’s not to love about a gorgeous, broody farmer who gave it all up to look after his family? Griffin’s moodiness is so endearing, and I loved watching him fall for Audrey, come out of his shell and embrace the changes happening in his life.

Audrey’s appearance in my home had the same effect on my libido that springtime had on the deer living on our hilltop.

And part of the fun is seeing Griffin with his family, and their reaction to him and the unfolding relationship. I loved the introduction to the Shipleys and the boys who work on the farm, and that we got to spend so much time with them. They are a great bunch, and I loved all of the dynamics at play. I also really liked reading about the Shipley farm, seeing how the family all work together to make it happen and Audrey’s effortless inclusion into the lifestyle (though I could have done without the pig slaughtering scene because… ewwww!). It creates a great set up for future stories, and I’m so excited to go on to Jude’s book next.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are great, their chemistry is fantastic, and I loved their awkward, yet irresistible pull to each other. The relationship progresses really well and I was easily swept up in the romance of it all.

4 stars.


True North


Bittersweet (#1) (Griffin & Audrey)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook Paperback

Steadfast (#2) (Jude & Sophie)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

Keepsake (#3) (Zach & Lark)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

Bountiful (#4) (Dave & Zara)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook Paperback


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