Review: Bountiful by Sarina Bowen

May Contain Spoilers

I have been enjoying Sarina Bowen’s Brooklyn Bruisers, so when I saw that one of the players from the Bruisers was the hero in Bountiful, I immediately borrowed it from the library. I haven’t read any of the other books in the True North series, and I didn’t care. I would read Dave’s story!

Zara is the heroine, and she is not at a good place when the story starts. She’s been dumped by the guy she thought might be the one, she’s managing her uncle’s bar, and she just feels aimless. What has she accomplished so far? She feels that she doesn’t measure up, and when Dave saunters into her bar, she thinks that maybe a fling with the copper haired stranger will make her feel better.

Dave is on vacation during the off-season, and he’s just looking for a good time. Zara might be a little closed off, with her reluctance to share any personal details, including last names, but he’s up for a little bit of fun. Neither of them ever considers what will happen if Zara gets pregnant. Which she does. And she’s in this mess by herself, because she doesn’t even know Dave’s last name. Or what he does for a living. When her efforts to locate him turn up empty, she prepares herself to raise her baby by herself.

I didn’t like either Zara or Dave at first. They have a lot  of hang-ups that make it difficult to like them. Zara is a wild child who couldn’t understand why her mother pinned all of her love and hopes on a man who wasn’t worth the effort. Dave grew up in an abusive home, and he knows he’s not father material. When he runs into Zara two years later and learns that he’s a father, he is not exactly a happy camper. As he slowly warms up to the idea of having a family, and not letting his painful past define his future, I started liking him a lot better. He was just a little slow on the uptake.

I liked Zara much better after she had the baby. While she was still hesitant to trust, she was at least a little more open to the idea of giving Dave a chance, and letting him be a caregiver for their child. The stubborn lack of communication was a big conflict, and I get tired of this as a conflict driver. Zara and Dave made a baby together, for goodness sakes! Open up a little about your feelings! Ugh!

The ending resolution came a little too quickly, considering all of the baggage both protagonists were lugging around, but overall, Bountiful was a solid read. I’m thinking of giving Bowen’s WAGs series a shot while I wait for the next Bruisers book.

Grade: 3.75

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.
Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.
Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.
Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.
Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.
Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.