Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 406 pages, 2007

Rating: 8/10

Reason for Reading: The cover made it seem like a no-brainer for a good summer read.

Synopsis: Three women arrive in Nantucket looking to escape their everyday lives – Brenda has just left her job after a scandal and has little hope of finding another one; Vicki, sister to Brenda and a mother to two kids, is trying to relax while undergoing chemo; and their friend Melanie, who is a ball of hormones – she’s finally pregnant, just as she discovered her husband is having an affair. Once on the island, they hire a young man named Josh to babysit and quickly discover he’s going to help make their summer unforgettable in ways they couldn’t have imagined – but desperately needed.

Why you should read this book: This is a moving and realistic story of three women (and one young man) that you’ll enjoy for its honesty and complexity. Each of the characters is at a different point in her life, facing different problems and looking for answers unique to her, so you’re likely to find something to identify with (hopefully not the more depressing things in the book, though). There are a lot of serious issues going on in the book between cancer, affairs and firings amongst other things, but there’s enough lightness through the joy the women bring into each other’s lives to keep you hopeful and reading.

Why you should avoid this book: If you’re looking for a light and fluffy summer read, there might be too much depressing stuff going on for you in this book, so only read it if you’re looking for something more involved, character-wise. Having read A Summer Affair shortly after this one, I’d also have to note that Affair is definitely the better-formed book – give that one a try first if you’re looking to give Hilderbrand a go.

Opening paragraph:

Three women step off a plane. It sounded like the start of a joke.

Fabulous quotes:

Vicki saw Brenda on her cell phone. The ‘figure’ under the umbrella was just a towel hanging from the cooler. Vicki burst into tears. How many hundreds of hours in the past month had she spent wondering: What could be worse than lung cancer? What could be worse than chemotherapy? What could be worse than having my chest sliced open, my ribs spread, my lung removed? Well, here was the answer. This was worse. Blaine was missing. Where was he? Every molecule in Vicki’s body screamed in chorus, Find him, find him!

‘I’m all set,’ Josh said. ‘If you’re eating, you must be feeling better.’
‘I do feel better,’ Melanie said. She buttered the toast and slid the jumbled egg mess on top, then sat down.
‘You seem really angry,’ Josh said. ‘Is it your husband?’
‘No,’ Melanie said. ‘For once, it’s not my husband.’
‘Is it anything you want to talk about?’ Josh asked.
She glanced up from her plate. He was looking at her very intently. He was looking at her the way she wanted him to look at her, or maybe she was just imagining this. Those green eyes.

Also recommended: Nora Jane by Ellen Gilchrist; Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes; Carpool Diem by Nancy Star.

Also by this author: A Summer Affair; The Love Season; The Blue Bistro; Summer People; Nantucket Nights; The Beach Club.

Fun tidbit: Hilderbrand likes to make sure she has character names picked out before she starts the actual writing of her novels.

Would I read more by this author? Future books, yes.

&#169 Lisa Yanaky 2003-2008

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