Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

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.

Carly and Michelle grew up together, they were best friends until Michelle did the unthinkable and then ran away to join the army, leaving Carly there to pick up the pieces.  Michelle’s back after ten years (wounded overseas) and Carly is running Michelle’s family’s inn because Michelle’s mom took Carly in when she was pregnant and alone.  They pretty much can’t stand each other, both thinking their hatred is justified.  But then, they have to work together if their inn is going to survive.

I could not put this book down.  I am a HUGE fan of Susan Mallery, but I need romance.  This book had romance, but mostly, it was about the friendship between these two women.  Ms. Mallery really made it hard for you to take a side because they both screwed up and they were both screwed over.  But all the while, I was rooting for both of them, hoping they would stop hurling hate and insults at each other and look within themselves to forgive and heal.

Because Michelle was the more vocal and vindictive of the two, you kind of had the feeling that she was the villian, but I think Carly looked more innocent because the way she was with her daughter made her seem like the more mature one.  Michelle’s issues, with PTSD and the wounds she suffered, made you feel for her, but her attitude and complete inability to be civil was tiring.  Add to that, she instantly fell into a downward spiral that she did not want to get herself out of, and she was one difficult character to empathize with.

The real villians in the book (there are two) were just outright nasty.  I never came to understand their hatred, but it was there every time they were on the page.  I wish their feelings would have been explained better, because all we got was the main characters assuming the reasons behind their bitterness.

The romances were pretty great.  Both heroes were a lot of fun and had a lot of great qualities, including the ability to raise up their heroine.  The romances seemed genuine.  They came to the women at the time when they were most ready for it. 

In the end, great book.  It’s part of the Blackberry Island series and I am very curious about the next books because I cannot imagine who they could be about.  At the very least, I look forward to revisiting these women and see how they’ve grown.

Pecans: 4.25/5

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2 thoughts on “Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

  1. Brie April 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm Reply

    Michelle’s issues, with PTSD and the wounds she suffered, made you feel for her, but her attitude and complete inability to be civil was tiring. Add to that, she instantly fell into a downward spiral that she did not want to get herself out of, and she was one difficult character to empathize with.

    This! I agree 100% with you, I felt bad for not liking her more, because of her being a veteran and all that, but she made it so difficult! So unlikeable.

    Do you think the next book will be about the uncle? Can’t remember his name, Carly’s friend, the ex’s brother… Maybe, no idea where this series is going. Part of me wants to yell “not another series, isn’t Fool’s Gold enough?!” I really enjoy her women’s fiction books but I hope she kept them as standalones….

    • Gone Pecan April 11, 2012 at 8:19 am Reply

      that’s a good idea about the uncle, but didn’t he start dating someone in the end? maybe they will be more stand alone. it’s about the island, not the inn. maybe we’ll get a story about someone we’ve yet to meet. ~dixie

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