By: Elin Hilderbrand
Rating: 3/5


My grandmother let me borrow this book for some beach reading. She has a bit of a history of bestowing me with her recent reads, especially anything she thinks might appeal to my feminist undertows.

So I was shocked when I read the back of this book.

Three women – burdened with small children, unwieldy straw hats, and some obvious emotional issues – tumble onto the Nantucket airport tarmac one hot June day. … They have come to escape, enjoy the sun, and relax in the calming seaside air. But into the house, into their world, steps twenty-two-year-old Josh Flynn.


Barefoot is the definition of a beach read. Quick, comforting, and just a little bit racy.

It’s not shallow; it’s chock full of cancer, adultery, death, stress, and criminality. But it’s never ever hopeless; it’s never ever depressing; it’s never ever suffocating. Hilderbrand takes all of these complex, emotional issues and delivers engaging characters and a plot line where you’re rooting for just about everybody. (And p.s. if you’re in to Australian men, there’s a wonderful sketch of a Australian love interest in this novel that’s just waiting for you to fill in the details in your mind.)

Barefoot follows three women: two sisters and a friend. Each one is dealing with a complex personal issue, and close quarters interweave them. Interspersed is Josh Flynn’s story: a 22-year-old home from college from the summer, trying to deal with growing up. It’s a bit weird, but Hilderbrand takes it all in stride. It’s nothing particularly new or particularly life changing, but it’s a rung above most beach reads.

Hilderbrand’s writing style is easy and natural; it’s got imagery but not ceaseless pages of imagery; it’s simple but engaging.

I was a fan. It was perfect for me, in the moment. Maybe it will be perfect for you, too.




Enjoy Barefoot? Here are some similar titles:

(for more by Hilderbrand)

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

(for themes of cancer and friendship)

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber


Coming up:

A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

Grace by Grace Coddington

Ground Rules by Renee Swann

Life and Times of Jesse James by Frank Triplett

A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle

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