Title: Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
Author: Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release date: July 2, 2007
Visiting Nantucket for the summer, three women seek peace and comfort as they cope with the challenges in their lives--from marriage, infidelity, and the mayhem of motherhood to scandal, tragedy, and illness.
Three women--burdened with small children, unwieldy straw hats, and some obvious emotional issues--tumble onto the Nantucket airport tarmac one hot June day. Vicki is trying to sort through the news that she has a serious illness. Her sister, Brenda, has just left her job after being caught in an affair with a student. And their friend Melanie, after seven failed in-vitro attempts, is pregnant at last--but only after learning that her husband is having an affair. They have come to escape, enjoy the sun, and relax in Nantucket's calming air. But into the house, into their world, steps twenty-two-year-old Josh Flynn.
Barefoot weaves these four lives together in a story with enthralling sweep and scope--a novel that is as fun and memorable and bittersweet as that one perfect day of summer.
*My review will contain some spoilers*
I could say that Barefoot is my least favorite book by Elin so far. Even the epilogue didn't answer all my questions about the characters' future. Yet, I still enjoyed the story about these three women spending their summer in Nantucket.
The first woman is Victoria Lyndon Stowe. Vicki has been recently diagnosed with lung cancer despite never smoking. She decides to leave her life in Connecticut and take her two young kids, Blaine and Porter, to spend the summer in Nantucket. She plans to get her chemotherapy there. Chemo is never easy and Vicki will have to deal with her feelings about her own mortality.
The second woman is Brenda Lyndon. She's Vicki's younger sister. She had the perfect job in Academia until she met her new Australian student, John Walsh. He's one year older than her but a relationship with him will cost Brenda her beloved job and plenty of legal issues.
The third woman is Melanie Patchen, Vicki's best friend who's escaping with them in order to avoid her own problems. Melanie has tried seven rounds of in-vitro treatments in hopes of getting pregnant without any success. Then, she discovers she's pregnant but she also learns that her husband, Peter, is cheating with a woman at work.
Last but not least, we meet Joshua "Josh" Flynn. A twenty-two-year-old man who crosses paths with them as they get off the plane. By serendipity, they meet a few more times and Josh ends up becoming their nanny for the summer.
As you can see there's enough material for plenty of drama in the making.
So why didn't I love it? Well, a few reasons.
It was hard to like Melanie. She behaved childishly and never really helped Vicki throughout the summer. I also thought she took advantage of Josh's feelings and young age. Worse, her decision at the end made me lose all respect for her. I hated Peter. He had it too easy and I didn't believe his apology. He will cheat again.
In the beginning, I wasn't crazy about Brenda. She could be selfish but she did help her sister. She was there for her. I wished there had been more info about Walsh. Where was he during all those weeks? Why didn't he call her more times? Why didn't he show up to look for her?
Vicki's storyline was the saddest. I felt sorry for her. She was dealing with the unthinkable. Cancer is a scary word and she wasn't sure if she would be there for her two small kids. She had many bad days ahead of her. I love her two kids.
I thought Josh had a rotten deal. He was indispensable to them while they needed him but I thought they didn't tell him how much he meant to them and when it was time to let him go, neither women batted their eyelashes. No offer to stay connected either.