Review: Heartland (Sarina Bowen)

Series: True North, #7
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½


An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.
But I know better than to confess.
Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.
Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.
But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

From the moment I opened Heartland, I felt like I was back where I needed to be. Reading a True North novel is like coming home. Well, all of Sarina Bowen’s books feel like coming home to me, but especially this series. There’s just something about small farm town Vermont that makes me feel all warm and gooey inside.

I normally start out a review with what I love about a book, but with Heartland I’m going to start with the one and only thing that drove me a little nuts. If you’re a fan of this series, then you know Dylan Shipley is a man who likes the ladies. He’s a commitment phobe. There’s some other woman drama in the beginning of this book that made me cringe. It wasn’t so much that it made me want to stop reading. It did make me question Chastity’s sanity a bit.  BUT, as a die hard Bowen fan, I knew she had a path in this romance that would lead me to happiness and it did.

Despite Dylan’s wild woman ways, I still loved his character. Mrs. Shipley only raises the best of children, and Dylan was a guy who really cared about people — especially Chastity. (She’s the girl who ran away from the cult and is now neighbors with the Shipleys.) He had some stuff to work out in this book, but I loved how it all came together for him.

Chastity was a breath of fresh air when it comes to sheltered, virginal young women characters. I loved how she challenged the beliefs she was raised with and came to terms with how she viewed sex and relationships. This book was sex positive in ways I wasn’t expecting and loved.

Dylan and Chastity’s romance is one of those book romances where you can’t wait for them to get together because you’re already invested in them as characters from previous books. It wasn’t an easy road to romance, but it was one that was appreciated because of all the prior knowledge I had of them, their families, and the town they grew up in. That’s not to say you couldn’t enjoy it without reading the previous six books, it was just more fun having had the knowledge to understand and love the characters despite their flaws.

As for the rest of the Shipleys and friends… All of my old favorites were around to spend some time with Dylan and Chastity. I love how they were woven into the story. There were also a couple of newer characters that I loved meeting. I’m pretty sure Sarina Bowen gave us some hints at what’s next in the True North series, and I honestly can’t wait!

Heartland was a great trip “home” to Vermont. Despite a few reservations at first, I ended up truly loving Dylan and Chastity’s romance. It was sweet with moments of humor and a couple of tears. If you’re a fan of this series, you will love finding out how they get their HEA.

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23 thoughts on “Review: Heartland (Sarina Bowen)”

  1. Ooh I do love a good friends to lovers type story so this sounds right up my street. Does it matter if I haven’t read the previous books or is this a great excuse to read them?

    1. This would be a great excuse to read them! (Bittersweet the first book might be free right now.) I think you could probably read this one without having read the others, though. You would just not know some of the supporting character’s stories.

  2. Great review, Deanna! I always love returning to the Shipley’s (and look the rest) in Vermont. And I want to go to Sunday dinner! (Or was it Thursday dinner? Now I can’t remember.) Dylan took a while to work things out and get a clue but he got there. And, man who’re or not (LOL), I loved the guy. And Chastity was so great. I loved her. She was a young woman really coming into her own and testing her boundaries and learning what she wanted. I guess it’s too soon to be wishing for book #8? 🙂

    1. Thank you! I don’t remember which day dinner is, but I would love to go, too! I don’t think it’s too soon for book 8. I feel like she gave us some clues for that one.

  3. I got one of the books in this series when it was free, but I never got very far in it. I didn’t think this author was for me, but I did really like that YA book of hers I read, so I might give this series another try. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  4. This sounds like an amazing read! I love stories with a great cast of characters (especially families!) that end up feeling like your own family! I still haven’t read Bowen’s books but I’m very curious about this series as I’ve seen it around a lot (and that cover is obviously super eye catching)! Haha would you recommend starting with the first book in the series before picking this up?

    1. I always recommend starting at the beginning. 😉 But this one really is worth starting there. I think the first book, Bittersweet, is even free right now.

  5. I just HAD to get back to your review on this one, and I loved it too. Maybe it’s a good thing I’ve read them all of our order, so I didn’t have a hard mindset on what their characters were like? He didn’t really seem like too much of a player in this to me. Regardless, glad you loved and fantastic review! ❤️

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