Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review: Barefoot Season, by Susan Mallery

I chose Barefoot Season because I was in the mood for a feel-good, romantic beach read. (Even though I'm far from a beach.) Barefoot Season did deliver the feel-good ending I craved, but I found myself a little annoyed with the characters at some points along the way.

I loved the setting - Blueberry Island - a quaint little touristy town with a quaint little inn. I wanted to eat at the restaurant -- and was happy they provided some recipes at the end of the book!

The main characters were complex and very different. Michelle owns the inn, but hasn't been to the island for ten years. She left the island suddenly after a traumatic event involving her best friend Carly and joined the army. After spending time in Afghanistan and Iraq, and suffering an injury to her hip, she decides to return to run the inn. Her mother had been in charge until three months before, when she succumbed to cancer.

Michelle is in pain, she's skinny, and she has nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD. She's often unpleasant, and drinks too much. She hates Carly (and the reason is slowly revealed throughout The Barefoot Season.)

Carly has worked for Michelle's mom, and helps run the inn. It hasn't always been pleasant, and since Michelle's mother's death, Carly has been running the inn herself. She has a young daughter, Gabby, and her husband left her when Gabby was a baby and took all the money from the sale of her father's house. She's been underpaid and in financial trouble, but lives in the owner's suite at the inn.

I didn't really like either of these characters. They both had many faults, were unpleasant to each other, and held grudges big time. Like from high school. I got tired of hearing how much Michelle's hip hurt, and how poor Carly was because of her ill-conceived marriage. I got tired of hearing how the inn was about to be repossessed, and whose fault all the mismanagement was. One of the side characters was torturing Carly because of a high school incident. I didn't need to have that explained every time. Several themes just seemed very repetitive.

I did enjoy the romances. I like the male characters, and thought the development of these relationships was cute. I loved the dog. I enjoyed the actual descriptions of the decisions and every-day management involving the inn and restaurant. I'm glad that Carly and Michelle both grew and became better people along the way. And, I got my feel-good ending, just the way it should be.

Barefoot Season is an ideal summer read. It  put me in the mood to travel and visit some quaint places with that personal touch. I got a little frustrated, but I appreciated that these characters weren't "cookie cutters," even if I didn't like them that much. Barefoot Season is appropriate for teens as well as adults, and is most assuredly a "girl book."

Published by Mira, March 27, 2012
eBook obtained from NetGalley
368 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. I'm sitting on the sofa listening to the rain pouring down at the moment - maybe I could do with a beach read too? :P

  2. I agree with pretty much everything you said. I didn't find either Michelle or Carly likable, and frankly got bored with their wrestling over the inn - I only really sympathized with Carly's daughter. On the other hand, Mallery did a good set-up for the island (she's beginning a new series, correct?) and I wouldn't have minded eating some blackberry pancakes while hanging out there, with the dog. Three out of five is a spot-on rating for this one - great analysis.


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