Review – Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

Publisher: HQN
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: NetGalley

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.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I am not normally a big reader of chick lit, however I’m a big fan of Susan Mallery. With that in mind, I decided to take a chance on this book. While I’m still not a big fan of the genre as a whole, I still am a dedicated fan girl of Mallery.

Michelle is coming back home after ten years of being in the Army, she is wounded and looking to come back to the Inn where some of her happiest memories reside. But knowing that Carly, her ex-best friend is working there doesn’t make coming home any easier. Michelle isn’t ready to face her injury, deal with her time in the army and now Carly slowly taking things over at the Inn.

Carly has a young daughter to support, and her job at the Inn is her one true passion, but she worries that now Michelle is back, she is going to lose her job, her home, and her livelihood. But when an outside force pushes Michelle and Carly to work together, they just might be able to put their past behind them and find a way to not only work together, but find in each other the best friend they both so desperately need.

Let me first say that this book is first and foremost a chick-lit book. While it does have some romance parts, they are few and far between and definitely take a backseat to the friendship between Carly and Michelle and their own individual growth as women and friends. The romance reader in me knew what I was getting into, and still ended up feeling let down. While both Michelle and Carly do end up getting their HEAs, that aspect of the story takes place off page and behind the scenes.

That being said, I really enjoyed watching as Carly and Michelle had to each get over their own crap, get over the past and move on. While their history as friends didn’t paint a very pretty picture for either of them, they were also young and dumb and had a difficult time getting past that. I was glad to see that they didn’t let it fester for too long though. It was obvious they needed to hash it all out and come to terms with it, and once they did they were able to move forward.

I liked the way that Mallery dealt with Michelle’s PTSD and war injuries. That aspect of the book was absolutely amazing and so well done. I love that the very real issues surrounding war vets wasn’t glossed over or ignored completely, and instead we watched as Michelle struggled to come to terms with what she had to do to stay alive during times of war. It came across as a realistic and heart breaking and incredible portrayal of life after active duty. There were so many times I just wanted to pull Michelle into a hug and rock her to sleep.

I also really felt like I connected with Carly. She was a fierce mama bear who had to pull herself up from nothing in order to make a life for herself. His history with Michelle’s mom and the scorn of the town had me wanting to wrap her up as well and shield her from the nastiness that she occasionally was subjected to in the book. The strength of her character was amazing throughout, and I was glad to see her stand tall and do what needed to be done for herself and her daughter.

All in all while this isn’t my normal genre, I am glad I read this book. The friendship between Carly and Michelle was both hard and sweet. Although the romance reader in me wanted more on that front, I did enjoy the overall story. Fans of the chick-lit genre will definitely want to go out and pick up this book!
I give Barefoot Season a B

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