on October 25th 2016
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Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.
When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.
Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.
Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.
Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he's good for much more than farm labor.
If Griff’s story was lukewarm at best and Jude’s one absolutely brilliant, Zach’s and Lark’s story was predictable and frustrating.
Zach has been a constant at the Shipley’s since book 1 and there are many things he hadn’t tried, having come from a cultish background and a rather tragic past when he tried to breakaway from it. That Sarina Bowen chose to pair him with Lark Wainwright, a wild child who has that streak temporarily halted because of her PTSD made me wonder if this was even a pairing I was able to get behind.
The answer is, after reading their story, is not entirely. If I was charmed by Zach, I was less than impressed with Lark’s drama, even if Zach and Lark did gravitate towards each other. There were times I felt that Zach was way too good for Lark who rubbed me the wrong way completely—he deserved better than her really—and perhaps that is in itself, a sign that I didn’t think too much of a pairing where the woman wasn’t a standout heroine despite her PTSD. Her cowardly (and cruel) treatment of him when she pushed him away made her less worthy of Zach’s utter devotion and steadfast presence, even as Bowen insists that the time away from each other is necessary so that Lark could get well and stop using Zach as a crutch instead. I didn’t like in addition, how Zach seemed to be the only one who pulled out all the stops as though Lark needed to be persuaded to love him in the midst of her self-pity while using him to chase her demons away.
Slow-going at times, the conversational tone that ‘Keepsake’ is written in keeps the pages turning and while it’s an easy read, I didn’t finish the story feeling overwhelmed, gutted and needing more.