Bittersweet (True North #1) by Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: June 14th 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.
The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.
At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.
Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.
They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.
This is the first installment of the True North series. Set in Vermont, Bittersweet is a story of grumpy farmer, Griffin, finding happiness in a bubbly and passionate aspiring chef, Audrey. Romance is at the heart of this book but along the way we get to see the sacrifices and struggles both characters face in achieving their goals.
This book could have easily been another one of those books that are entertaining enough but forgettable in the long run. However, the cast of characters were incredibly lovable and fleshed out in a way that you simply have to root for them. More than that, it is so easy to relate to these characters and the struggles they face. Audrey grew up with an extreme amount of pressure on her shoulders. Conceived through IVF, Audrey’s mother expected nothing but the best from her. Not wanting to follow in her mothers footsteps, Audrey set her sights on achieving her own dreams. Audrey was a charmer and it was so easy to relate to her situation with her mother. We all have aspirations but not all of us are lucky to have parents that support those dreams. Audrey tried to live up those expectations but sometimes you have to take charge of your own life and happiness instead of following a path that would please everyone but yourself. The passion Audrey has for cooking is evident and her determination to become a chef in her own restaurant were applaudable. However, it’s not an easy goal to achieve and seeing Audrey handle the challenges that hit her made her all the more relatable.
Then we have Griffin; a 27 year old farmer that gave up a possible career in football to ensure the survival of their family business after suffering a terrible loss. Following a one night stand in college, the last thing Griffin expected was for Audrey to come crashing into his life again. This man oozes sex appeal. He’s hard working and completely devoted to his family. Yes, he’s grumpy, but he’s also caring and funny and basically a big teddy bear at heart so following the progression of his and Audrey’s relationship was a lot of fun.
We have to talk about the romance. Individually, both these characters are incredibly lovable and thoughtful. Together, they are golden. There’s a history between them and it’s evident that the chemistry that they once had at college didn’t fade over time leading to oodles of sizzling sexual tension. As a couple, they have to be one of my favourites. These two balance each other out. Spending time with Audrey allows Griffin to unleash his softer side and release the pressure he feels as head of the household. In turn, Griffin helps Audrey realise that there’s no one direct way to achieve a goal and that some dreams can change over time. These two balance each other out and the relationship was full of support, passion, and communication, meaning that there was no unnecessary angst or drama standing in their way of exploring an open and meaningful relationship.
This was an incredible introduction to the True North series. The minute I finished the book I was ready to hop on a flight to Vermont and find my own grump farmer and explore all the beauty in the state. Bittersweet is the perfect book for anyone looking for an addictive read that will have you smiling and laughing from beginning to end.