Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Bend Toward the Sun releases August 9, 2022.
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Recommend to Others?: Yes
ABOUT: Jen Devon’s Bend Toward the Sun is a gorgeous, emotional love story about taking unexpected paths, accepting loss, and finding strength in the transformative power of love.
Rowan McKinnon believes love isn’t real. Armed with a PhD in botany, two friends who accept her social quirkiness, and some occasional no-strings sex, she has everything she needs. What she doesn’t share is that she hides deep wounds from the past—by an emotionally negligent mother, and by a fiancé who treated her like a pawn in a game. The only love she’s ever known came from her grandmother Edie, who taught her to care for all things that grow. After a chance encounter at a future winery, Rowan is captivated—by the beauty of the land, the challenge of the vineyards’ restoration, and by the warm and inviting family that plans to run it. They’ll offer her a job. She’ll eventually accept it.
And try not to think about Harrison Brady.
Harry Brady is a doctor. Was a doctor. An obstetrician profoundly struggling after the unexpected loss of a patient, Harry no longer believes he is capable of keeping people safe. Reeling from the loss and his crumbled four-year relationship, Harry leaves Los Angeles to spend time emotionally recuperating at his parents’ new vineyard in Pennsylvania. He’ll work to get the place ready to open, and try to pick up the pieces of his heart. Because if there’s one thing Harry Brady knows how to do, it is love deeply, fiercely, with his whole heart.
As soon as he meets Rowan McKinnon, sunlight begins to crack through the dark cloud smothering Harry’s soul. He wants to explore the compelling pull between them. Rowan just wants to keep things casual—she’s spent a lifetime protecting herself against feeling anything, for anyone.
But even Rowan can feel their extraordinary connection tilting the axis of the world they both thought they understood.
A moving, powerful novel about the ways love can irrevocably change your life, Bend Toward the Sun is a cinematic, unforgettable romance.
REVIEW: Bend Toward the Sun was an emotionally charged story with an electrifying romance that was painful, exhilarating, and deeply personal.
This story wears its heart on its sleeve as Rowan and Harry struggle to reconcile with their pasts in the wake of the instant attraction and affection they feel for one another.
The main characters had polar opposite upbringings. Rowan is socially awkward and understands plants far better than people. She had her beloved grandmother Edie who fostered Rowan’s love for nature – which led to Rowan becoming a botanist – until age 12 when she was then left in the uncare of her estranged mother. Meanwhile, Harry is one of six in a very close and loving family. This major difference is one of many roadblocks in Rowan and Harry’s relationship.
But I love how these two lost souls find their way again through love. It’s a painful journey and several times you’ll question in chest-tightening worry if their chance at true love and happiness will burn away.
Past intimate relationships have not gone well for either (an understatement). So to have such strong feelings feels right, wrong, and terrifying all at once. Plus, they both can be very, very, very stubborn.
I felt those months and months worth of time skips, which made their back and forth will-they won’t-they arguments seem redundant and a tad frustrating. Post-read, Rowan and Harry’s romance is really well fleshed out with all the necessary growth, drama and angst you’d want in an enthralling love story. Time just dragged some.
In the end (oh my goodness!), Rowan and Harry filled my heart with such joy and fondness. The chemistry between them was sizzling, the banter endearing and funny, and a satisfying conclusion worthy of a standing ovation.
I had a good feeling I would end up truly enjoying Bend Toward the Sun, and I did! I loved the story and all of the characters. Rowan was my favorite because I could relate with her and she’s unexpectedly hilarious. Jen Devon wrote a wonderful, heartfelt romance. I highly recommend this novel.