By Denise Hunter
Published by Thomas
Book DescriptionMadison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.
In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.
To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.
Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.
Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.
But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?
This was a very good and fast read. I read it in one day. It was a nice Christian romance novel with messages.
Madison McKinley comes from a large family who really care for each other but I found still cannot communicate at times. Both parents and the siblings are part of the story. Beckett O’Reilly has a father that is a drunk, a mother who left when the kids were young and a sister, Layla, that seems to have her feet on the ground. Beckett was a problem in school but has turned his life around or so he hopes.
Beckett has a grandfather who has Alzheimer's disease and is in nursing home; this is emotionally hard on Beckett but he has his faith to help him. Madison, who is a veterinarian, takes animals to the nursing home to help comfort the elderly. There are personalities with the residents and they help make the story as well as the nurse and her personality. "Mrs. Etter gave the pup a final kiss and handed him to Mrs. Marquart, who passed him to Mrs. Stuckey, arms outstretched': (page 75).
The town of Chapel Springs is a small town where everyone knows everyone. There is a fundraising play where the local play the parts. Madison is involved with play as well as Layla. A lot happens in this novel but the stories do flow.
The animals in the book also have their own personalities. As I write this, I do not remember any small children in the book. The book is so natural and I think most readers can relate. "Go potty," Madison told her and the collie trotted down the porch steps and into the yard." (page 152)
Madison has nightmares and feels if she fulfills Michael's dream, she will be at rest. As she begins the task, she must learn to sail as well as get the boat in condition. Beckett works on boats and builds them; he helps Madison when she is trying to get a boat ready for the regatta, a dream of her twin brother who died at the age of seventeen. He wanted to be the youngest person to win the regatta.
There are some light moments in Barefoot Summer as well as some sad ones. "She thought of Michael, the last moment she'd had with him" (page 166). Parts of the book goes back to the high school days of Madison and Beckett who went to the same school.
God is part of this book but religion is not over done. I found the references moving and at the right time when there are problems. "His dad was a might be a wreck, his own heart a tangled mess, but up on this hill, it was just him and God." (page 238).
There is a Reading Group Guide at the back of the book that may be used for a reading club. (page 319).
I give this a 5 star in the ratings. I really liked Barefoot Summer. No sex or bad language.
I received a complimentary copy of Barefoot Summer to read and review from www.booksneeze.com. The opinions are my own.
Denise Hunter may be reached at www.DeniseHunterBooks.com or Denise@DeniseHunterBooks.com