Sometimes after reading one book by an author whose words impress, there is trepidation picking up a follow up book. Being on the other side of storytelling (that of a reader), we fear that it can’t possibly surpass or match that adoration of the first book. Fortunately reading other of Hunter’s novels (after first reading The Trouble with Cowboys) is a piece of candied joy.
Barefoot Summer, by Denise Hunter | Book Review
STORY | In the aftermath of loss, Madison McKinley is a different person. She’s no longer the person everyone knew as the easy-going life-loving woman. Instead she focuses on one thing and one thing only: fulfilling the dream of someone else.
To prepare for the annual regatta event, Madison needs to know how to swim, and so she works with Beckett O’Reilly to train for something she has no intention of letting go of these goals. Only trouble is, Beckett holds a secret that may change everything.
REVIEW | The McKinley family is big, boisterous, and with little effort, they win us over. (Think Chesapeake Shores if you’re a TV viewer). I’m a fan of novels that give large families wings to grow, and as a bonus, they also challenge us (that’s possibly the best gift a writer can leave with their audience). Here we are introduced to a broken, mourning Madison McKinley and the boy who has loved her since high school, Beckett O’Reilly.
“…sometimes we have to find the courage to take off our shoes and feel it all. Even the bad stuff.” – Denise Hunter
Set in a small-town community with a beautiful nostalgia background, the familial ties and characters endears this book. To say nothing of the romance that takes a hold of our heart, and is the real heart of the story – the kind that effects readers in only the best sense.
BOOK REVIEW | ‘If For Any Reason’ – Make an Escape to a Lovely Island
In their story, there is deep connection between them; Beckett is tender, loving and not at all the “bad boy” we might assume. Madison is hurting in deep, dark places and only through Beckett’s steadfast support, and God’s healing hand does she come to realize this. In order to heal, Madison is allows her grief to break her. By trying to fix her hurt on her own, the heroine shoves God into a corner. Though subject to personal conclusions, it’s actually the “weakness” of the characters that brings this story full circle. The budding relationship between these two is, naturally sparked with chemistry but it molds into something deeper; fixating on secrets, it’s these private emotions that change and shape them, making them tangible and reachable in a fictional world that digs deep roots in reality.
Going beyond the richly drawn spiritual challenges, the romance was also precious. I adored these two together; Beckett was above and beyond a gentleman. In Barefoot Summer, there isn’t one dull moment; one scene is particularly hard-hitting, tying the title into a moving piece of truth and is also a demonstration of how, even when life looks hopeless, we have to take that step of faith. As a novel, this sheds the cliché emotional (specifically that of a loved ones death) skins of its genre and looks the reader in the face, asking all the hard questions but they’re the right ones.
It’s a story that will make you “fall to pieces” – in a fall that’s beautiful.
‘Barefoot Summer’ – A Lovely Romance of Renewal. A review of the 2013 novel by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson). #BookNerd #BookReview #WhattoRead #MustRead #FWBA #FindingWonderlandBlogArchives @DeniseAHunter Click To Tweet
About the Book:
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Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
FIND THE REVIEW ELSEWHERE: Amazon | Goodreads
FIND THE BOOK ELSEWHERE: Amazon | Goodreads
Series: Chapel Springs Romance → Book one
Genre: Fiction; Romance, Series
Sincere thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this novel.
Note: this review was published in the archives five or more years earlier. Since moving to WordPress, 90% of the reviews, lists and articles need re-formats and/or other updates. Updated edits and changes to fit current formats have been made; it has also been updated with new photos, and republished.
This review originally published on June 11, 2013