Book Review: Heartland by Sarina Bowen

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Heartland by Sarina Bowen is a lovely friends to lovers, new adult romance that continues the beloved True North Series. Read the full book review by popular romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books.

by Sarina Bowen

Series: True North
Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance
Tags: Friends to Lovers, College, Relationship Coach

Kindle | Audible | Apple Books

Rating: ★★★

A continuation of a beloved, contemporary romance series that showcases a friends to lovers story at its finest.

When I first started reading the True North series with Bittersweet, Dylan was just the younger brother we saw at family dinners.

Flash forward to book 7 and we see Dylan all grown up as a hottie college student in Heartland.

The Plot

In this book, Dylan is a college junior and has supposedly earned quite the reputation as a ladies man who loves ‘em and leaves ‘em as relationships or more aptly dating just isn’t his thing.

Joining him at college is Cassidy who’s a 21 year old freshman. She’s trying her best at acclimating to college life and society in general having run away from the cult she was raised in back in Wyoming.

Having been raised in a cult, to say that any form of sexual expression or exploration was not allowed is an understatement.

But Cassidy at a young age was excited and interested in her growing, stirring feelings. Even though she’s been free of this repression, she’s still inexperienced and wanting that to change.

The problem? She has feelings for her best friend, Dylan and they aren’t going away.

Now Dylan loves spending time with his best friend but is pretty clueless of her feelings and possibly his own.

Heartland explores the possibility of adding “more” to a friendship.

I actually expected more of the story to be about their “bedroom coaching” exploits given the book blurb but that came much later in the book and really wasn’t the focus of the story.

This was more a story about someone who’s fallen in love with her best friend. It’s also partly a story about someone who’s trying to figure out and own her sexuality given the bizarre background she came from.

Growing up in a cult I can only imagine that a woman’s sexual interests and needs were never discussed so what would that be like for someone who has those natural desire and urges but is called a despicable names for having those thoughts?

The Cast of Characters

I liked Cassidy. She was innocent and yet self-assured which I liked.

If she was a wallflower, I wouldn’t have cared for her as much. She was a good friend to Dylan but man she had to watch him with her roommate which had to suck.

I actually liked Dylan’s roommate more than Dylan.

There’s a story behind him that was only hinted at but I’d love more of him (maybe in Daphne’s book?).

There just wasn’t anything that struck me as anything in particular with Dylan.

We come to understand more about his motivations or lack there of as the story goes on, but overall I thought Cassidy was too good for him.

[Side note: I’ve read plenty of reviews on Goodreads that some people DO NOT like books where one of the main characters is already in a relationship or sexually active with another.  I personally don’t have a problem with it but for those who do then this may not be for you.]

If you’re a fan of the True North series, you’ll enjoy this story, taking you back to the family farm and reconnecting with the Shipley family.

If you love friends to lovers stories, especially those involving innocence and a bit of bedroom education, then you’d love it as a standalone as well.

Thank you to Sarina Bowen for this advanced reader copy. All opinions are my own.

Do you have a favorite in the True North series? Share in the comments below.

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Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

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Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion and she cultivates her book lists with the best books worth reading in the genre. Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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