Published by Rennie Road Books on June 14th 2016
Also by this author: Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1), Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye, #1)
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The new series is set in Vermont. True North is populated by the tough, outdoorsy mountain men that populate the Green Mountain State. They raise cows and they grow apples. They chop a lot of wood, especially when they need to blow off steam. (Beards are optional but encouraged.)
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.
So a romance between a farmer and a chef is a concept that never really interested me at all. However, I was instantly drawn in by the fact that it was a Sarina Bowen book. In the past, I’ve found some of her stories to be extremely sexy and also with some greater depth to it as well. In certain areas, Bittersweet definitely excels. I’ve seen a few people on Goodreads write that they were giving up on the book, and I can totally understand why they would. The start is a little bit slow, but in the end, Sarina is able to deliver a beautiful novel with a memorable set of supporting characters.
Audrey is a sassy chef who has big dreams about opening a restaurant of her own. Unfortunately, she has a habit for failing things and disappointing her mother. She’s determined to do everything on her own without any help from her cold mother who she doesn’t relate to at all. So for now, Audrey is stuck working for a horrible restaurant. After a major incident happens in the kitchen, she’s sent to Vermont to buy produce from farmers in order to keep her job a little while longer. I really respected Audrey in many ways. She’s a girl who knows what she wants, it just took her quite awhile to get there. She’s my kind of heroine: doesn’t take crap, witty, and just super cool all around.
Griffin is a character that might seem rough around the edges, but he is very selfless and has a huge heart. He gave up his dreams of playing in the NFL when his father had a heart attack and he had to step in to run the farm. He doesn’t do it all by himself, he has plenty of help. Ultimately though, the responsibility of taking care of his family by running the farm properly does fall on him. I’ll be honest, he’s a pretty grumpy dude. Somehow, Audrey brings out a different side of him and he turns out to be a whole lot nicer when she’s around. In the end, he turns out to be a swoony cool guy that you can’t help but respect.
The romance between Griffin and Audrey is an interesting one. Back in college, they ended up hooking up, and Griff had a serious crush on her before and after that happened. Not going to lie, there’s a lot of a physical relationship between them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude. The scenes are super hot, there are a few that are just a bit excessive in a way. I feel like there needed to be more of a development emotionally instead of physically. Once you get past some of the earlier moments, the relationship does end up developing further and I truly enjoyed seeing that build.
Why was it off to such a slow start? Well, there was a lot of information about crops and farming in general. Look, I get that this is a book about farming so clearly the information needs to be included to a degree, it just felt like a lot for only the beginning of the book. There were also some later scenes that I didn’t love because of all the farming and cooking lingo. If you can look past it, you’ll be able to find a well written romance novel that will definitely make you swoon. I’m totally going to stick with this series! I can’t wait to read Jude’s story, which is actually coming out in less than a month!