4-star,  F/M

Heartland by Sarina Bowen

Coming January 28th

Heartland is the newest book in the True North series by Sarina Bowen and it’s another emotional rollercoaster with all the feels, just like the other True North books are. I did bawl a bit at one point. You know that ugly kind of crying involving snot. But don’t worry, there’s a happily ever after in the very end.

Heartland is Dylan Shipley’s and Chastity’s story. Dylan is the College heartthrob, the altogether nice – but also a bit slutty – guy who’s devoted to his family and friends. And Chastity, she’s one of his very best ones. Raised in a religious cult, Chastity managed to escape as a 19 year-old and ended up at the farm just next door to the Shipley’s. Three years later, she’s in College together with Dylan, trying to ignore her feelings for her best friend all the while everyone – and Dylan in particular – tries to shelter her from the wilder side of College life. But Chastity doesn’t want to be sheltered. The question is, can she make Dylan see her as something more than just a friend?

I loved this story. And it had me quite emotional since I was immediately invested in the characters. But then again, pulling readers in is the trademark of talented authors and Bowen is a fantastic storyteller.

Basically, Heartland is the perfect friends-to-lovers story. There’s the first love, and… lots of other firsts as well. Meaning, there’s steam and delicious sexytimes. For a farm-boy, Dylan has a surprisingly dirty mind. Which is awesome of course. The beginning of the story was a bit angst-y though. The minor detail of Dylan already having a girlfriend in the start of the book was quite unsettling.

I don’t think you can ever be to old to enjoy a great College romance, and I stand by that. However, as I’m now well passed College-age myself, I tend to notice aspects of a story that I probably wouldn’t have when I was younger. So I can’t possibly write this review without mentioning the dichotomy of Dylan’s behaviour. He’s a 20-year old, highly sexed dreamboat who keeps messing up and putting his foot in his mouth whenever he’s talking to Chastity. But he has these long, very mature and insightful discussions with his roommate. So Dylan acting stupid when he clearly isn’t was really frustrating. Disturbingly so. But then again, that’s what happens when you’re engaged in a story.

And also, two College-aged guys talking about feelings, love and whatnot? It lowers the realism if you know what I mean. 🙂 Not that it matters one bit of course. It’s still an awesome read!

Technically, Heartland is a stand-alone. But you’ll have a much better time of it if you’ve read the series. You get sneak peeks into the HEAs of previous True North couples, and new characters are introduced that hopefully will all join the Shipley clan in one way or another. I’m guessing – or mostly hoping – that Rickie and Daphne will get a book next.

But to sum things up. Heartland is a warm, fuzzy, sexy, angst-y romance with a happily ever after. Read it!


I'm a Swedish book nerd reading mostly steamy English romance novels. And since there is so much good stuff out there, and so much shitty stuff too. I just want to give credit where it's due (and diss the rest).