Steadfast by Sarina Bowen is the second book in the True North Series. It can be read as a stand alone novel or in series order.
Readers met Jude in Bittersweet. He is the ex con and recovering drug addict that came to work on the Shipley Apple Farm for six months during his probation period. He was convicted of killing his former girlfriend's older brother in an accident resulting from being under the influence of narcotics. Not only did he lose his freedom, he also lost the only woman he ever loved. He is now a pariah in the small town of Colebury for killing the sheriff's son. Small towns have long memories and protect their own. Now that his job is over at the farm he has no other options but to return to Colebury and face his ugly past. Not only will he have the daily struggles managing his drug addiction but also will have to face Sophie Haines.
On his return to Colebury, he finds his father's auto shop is in worse financial condition than when he left. His father has sunk deeper into his alcoholism. His first course of action is to try to rebuild the failing business. The sheriff wants him out of town and is using his influence and power to keep Jude from succeeding. Jude is being harassed by the local law and his father's garage is being forced to shut down.
Aside from the financial and business problems, Jude is struggling with his addiction. He holds onto his weekly meetings at NA as his lifeline. His other lifeline is the Thursday night dinners at the Shipley Farm. He's struggling but staying strong until he runs into Sophie Haines after a meeting.
Sophie was devastated after the accident that not only took her brother's life but also took the love of her life away. Her life changed just as drastically as Jude's life did. She's moved on and has tried to carve out a new life but the aftermath of the accident is holding her prisoner in her small town. Her family was completely destroyed and she is struggling to keep what's left of their home going. Her mother is broken. Her father has become cruel, indifferent, and spiteful. When he learns Jude has returned to town, he has become even more hateful. Once Sophie runs into Jude and sees a different man than the one she loved, she's even more determined to find out the truth about what really happened in the accident that destroyed so many lives.
Jude and Sophie were meant to be together. They will have to conquer the past, live for today, and strive to make a better future. The truth will finally set them both free and give them peace once and for all. They will finally be able to love one another without anything holding them back.
Once again Sarina Bowen wrote a powerful story. She gave the readers a truthful view of drug addiction. She also showed how determination and perseverance are worth the effort. I admired Sophie's unconditional love and Jude's commitment to becoming the man Sophie deserved to love.
Steadfast was an emotional and powerful novel.