Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published on: October 20, 2017
POV: Dual First Point of View
Rating: 4 STARS
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Two years ago, while working in her uncle’s bar as a bartender and the person in charge, Zara met a stranger named Dave. Their innocent conversations one day let to an uncomplicated fling in which the two of them agreed to not having any conversations about their personal lives. The agreement was initiated by Zara herself.
“The truth was that men didn’t date people like me. I was the girl they “hung out with” as Dave had put it last night. The bartender was a good time and fun in bed, but not a forever girl.”
When Dave left the town, Zara realized that she was pregnant and tried to contact him with no result. She realized her mistakes of not wanting any personal conversations with Dave during the month they were together. She finally gave up and tried to move on. Two years later when their baby was fifteen months old, she was surprised when Dave suddenly came back into the town to have a vacation with his friends and met her.
Dave is a professional hockey player who lives a typical young, popular, successful athlete. Having had a painful past relating to his parents and both him and his sister has made him avoid any serious relationships. Hence, uncomplicated fling has been his religion when he met Zara. However, the month he spent in Vermont was one of the sweet memories he has ever had, mostly because of her. Therefore, he chooses to come back to the town.
When he finds out about the baby, he is shocked. He doesn’t see himself as a marriage material, let alone a father.
Bountiful is a unique, slow-burn romance with awesome characters. It was unique for me because the hero’s reaction was different than most heroes in this type of situation I’ve ever read. It took some time for him to get over the shock and accept his new role, which I thought believable. I enjoyed watching him grow and become the amazing man he was at the end. It was as if I grew with him. I understood his decisions and, at some level, could relate to him.
Their slow-burn romance was amazing. I was glad that their relationship slowly progressed. I had the time to see the growth in each of the characters including the supporting characters. I loved that while their chemistry was still the same as it had been two years ago, their relationship didn’t get intimate real soon. The emotional building had been the focus throughout the story and it made me connect wholeheartedly with them as a couple.
The heroine was a total kickass. She was the epitome of a strong, independent, modern woman. I admired her strength and understood why she had become the person she was and did what she did. There was not a thing I didn’t like about her or what she did. She did exactly what most strong women would have done and even more. Yes, she was far from perfect but her growth was incredible. It was fascinating to see her character evolve.
“Nobody could make me feel inferior without my permission. I’d made my peace with single motherhood, and it didn’t matter what anyone said behind my back.”
The side characters were well maintained as well. As a first time reader of Sarina Bowen’s books, I could easily connect with them. Their backgrounds were explained without them being the focus which sometimes took the spotlight away from the main characters. I enjoyed getting to know them and could relate to them emotionally. Their reactions were all genuine and felt real considering the situation, which I really appreciated. I saw myself doing the same had I been in their shoes.
I was glad that the story focused mostly on the main characters’ inner battles. There was no unnecessary love triangle drama, which was usually common in most romance stories of this trope, but enough to shake my emotions, connect me to the characters, and had me fall in love with their story.
The writing was utterly compelling–flowing smoothly and flawlessly. It made the whole story addictive, and unputdownable even though the theme was anything but new. I was captivated from the first page and found myself glued to the screen for hours than I normally did. It paid attention to small details which seemed simple yet powerful to bring out the emotions within me. I enjoyed the inner voices of the main characters. They made me smile, sad, and almost cry which confused my poor husband at times.
The only downside which I wish could have been a little bit different was the hero. As I said above, I did love watching his character develop and ADORED him toward the end. However, I wish he could have shown more affection to Zara and the baby a lot sooner. I felt like he was too cold at times and sometimes I doubted whether they meant more to him. Moreover, I wish he would have, at least, tried to meet her or made any contacts with her during the two years they’d been apart since he knew where she lived from the start.
Anyway, it was just a wishful thinking on my part since I have high expectations of every book hero I encounter in love stories. It didn’t greatly affect my whole experience and admiration for this story.
All in all, Bountiful is a great slow-burn, small-town romance between the two characters who seem to have nothing in common but, in their own ways, love each other, written beautifully by Sarina Bowen. Their love story gradually progresses but the end is beyond beautiful that I believe every romance lover would enjoy. I highly recommend this book.
“I realized home had a different meaning for me than it used to. It meant wherever my girls were.”