Another Review at MyShelf.Com


by Elin Hilderband


It seems trite to classify a book “just” as a summer read, especially a dynamic book like Elin Hilderbrand's Barefoot. Yet the book is a great choice for these blistering summer days, whether you are lazing on the beach, curled up in front of the air-conditioner or on a plane en route to vacation. The characters will demonstrate depth, charm and meaning to most women, and these three women in the book wend their way into our hearts without our even being aware of their presence.

Each woman has a defined personality almost from the beginning of the tale--the two sisters, different as night and day, and the friend, who starts out as feeling the “three's a crowd” syndrome. Cancer, an unexpected pregnancy, and a love affair gone awry bring the women together for a summer in Nantucket. Add to the mix two young children, husbands that come and go, and a delightful twenty-two-year-old male babysitter, and you have all the ingredients for a hot summer. In more ways than one!

Vicki is buffeted with lung cancer, and in chemo there on the Island. Her two young children, four years old and nine months, are supposed to be cared for by their Aunt Brenda, and Vicki's friend Melanie, but almost from the beginning it is obvious that more hands are needed on deck to take care of the active little critters. Enter stage right, Josh, home for the summer from college, and a budding author who finds much grist for his mill with the three beautiful women and the two endearing youngsters. Brenda is desperate to get over a love affair (which cost her professorship) and writing a screenplay based on an obscure Early-American novel. Melanie is troubled with an unfaithful husband and an unplanned pregnancy, which has occurred after seven attempts at in vitro!

As the four characters take form and substance, it becomes apparent that they are each equally important to each other, and to their emergence into new lives. Each day brings different problems to the fore, and the ongoing development of the friendships is deeply affected by the cancer, the pregnancy and the screenplay.

Although the topics are often sad or serious, the tone of the novel is upbeat and encouraging, demonstrating the power of friendship as an ongoing constant in all our lives. Greatly recommended as not only a summer read, but as a resident on your permanent bookshelf.

The Book

Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group USA
July 2007
Chick Lit, Summer reading
More at
NOTE: by the author of The Beach Club, Nantucket Nights, Summer People

The Reviewer

Laura Strathman Hulka
Reviewed 2007
© 2007