Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery
Length: Full Length (368 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sunflower
Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she's still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner's suite occupied by the last person she wants to see.
Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn's cheerful veneer.
Single mother Carly has weathered rumors, lies and secrets for a lifetime, and is finally starting to move forward with love and life. But if the Blackberry Island Inn goes under, Carly and her daughter will go with it.
To save their livelihoods, Carly and Michelle will undertake a turbulent truce. It'll take more than a successful season to move beyond their devastating past, but with a little luck and a beautiful summer, they may just rediscover the friendship of a lifetime.
You just never know when it's time to confront your past. Let go of the pain, make amends with those you once loved. In Barefoot Season, Ms. Mallery sets the stage for two women, once friends, until betrayal tore them apart.
Carly and Michelle were like sisters at one point. Who would have thought they envied each other, never once sharing those feelings with one another? Michelle, bitter and angry, has come back from serving in the military. Though she isn't very likable at first, it's understandable why she acts the way she does. As the story progresses, Michelle is redeemed into a character I cared about. I'd hoped things would work out for her in the beginning, despite her attitude. She's got a lot to own up to, and people to deal with she'd left behind all those years ago. It's never easy.
Then there's Carly, the other heroine. She works hard to be the best mother she can be for her daughter. She doesn't allow her past to overcome her, though there are people on Blackberry Island who don't ever want to let her forgot who she once was. The fears within her about her Michelle's homecoming turn into surprise. Carly and Michelle are pushed into working together to save something they both care about - the inn.
It looks almost as if history may repeat itself again when Carly shows feelings for Sam, and he takes a liking to Carly and her daughter. For Michelle, her love interest is less subtle, but it does show promise with Jared. Though Both Sam and Jared play a role in this book, their relationship with the woman doesn't take a leading role in the story. I was particularly interested in how the story would play out with Sam, as he knows both Carly and Michelle. I would have loved to learn more about Jared, but his character wasn't as up front and center as some of the others.
Ms. Mallery creates another delightful story with emotion and depth readers are bound to fall in love with. When picking up a book by this author, we know one thing- we're in for a wonderful heartwarming ride. Barefoot Season is no different. The bonds of friendship and family are tested within the pages of this novel. Let's not forget about falling in love. Both Michelle and Carly have a chance for happiness.
This book aims to please. It's one that belongs on the keeper shelf, to be read over and over again. Michelle and Carly, plus all the other characters in this book found their way into my heart and mind, even when the book was finished. If you're a fan of contemporary women's fiction with strong romance elements, then I strongly suggest Barefoot Season.