By: Toby Devens
Published Year: 2016
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influences my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): For Nora Farrell, Tuckahoe, Maryland, isn’t just a summer refuge, it’s home—where she married the love of her life, decided to have a child, and has remained connected with her two closest friends. Even now, long after her husband’s passing, Nora reunites with Margo and Emine every June….
But this year, challenges invade the friends’ retreat. Even as Nora delights in teaching at her dance studio, she is shaken by the possible loss of her beach house…and by a tentative new romance. While Margo directs a musical at the Driftwood Playhouse, she finds her marriage on rocky ground. And Em, who relishes running her family’s café, struggles to handle her rebellious daughter.
With their personal dramas reaching a fever pitch, the women will discover that it isn’t only the beach that brightens their lives. Their bond with one another provides the ultimate magic.
This cover is so calming! It looks like the exact kind of book that I want to read at the pool or the beach during the summer. The summary didn’t pull me in right away, and to be honest, I probably would’ve put it down if I saw it at a book store, but I decided to give it a chance. I love books about friendship and this seemed like it would be a great story about friendship.
What I thought
This book was a very slow burn for me. I wasn’t automatically drawn into the story or immediately attached to the characters, but over time I found myself really pulled into the Barefoot Beach World.
Nora Farrell spends every summer at her beach house in Tuckahoe, Maryland with her family and two of her best friends (and their families). This summer, Nora has to handle her son contacting his biological donor dad (she and her late husband used a donor to conceive Jack), Margo is worried that her husband is cheating on her again, and Emine is dealing with her troubled teenage daughter.
The whole story is told from Nora’s perspective, so you only find out about Margo and Emine through Nora. I was a little taken aback by how many traumatic things had occurred in these people’s lives. I think based on the cover and title I expected this book to be a bight lighter, but it is not. Nora’s husband passed away 8 years ago and she is still mourning him. She is also dealing with the fact that her son Jack, at 19, has decided to contact his sperm donor. There is also a character, Scott, who is a war veteran who lost his leg during his last round of duty.
Because the book was so much heavier than I expected, it took me a while to get into the story. The story lines were pretty serious and I didn’t know the characters, so it was hard to feel invested in such heave stories without being connected to them. Once I kept going though, I found myself feeling more invested in the lives and stories of these characters.
I do wish that the book had been told in multiple perspectives. I found myself wanting to know more of what was going on with Margo and Emine than what I found out through Nora’s storyline. To be honest, I think Emine’s story would have been the one I was most interested in if we had gotten a bit more of it. I also think that if I was older I would have appreciated the story more if I was older. I’m in my late 20s and the characters were all in their late 40s, so I haven’t experienced any of what they have.
I also was a bit thrown off by the friendship. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but, again, this may be because I am at a very different point in my life and friendships than the characters. I felt like the characters were there for each other when they were having a crisis, but not so much in the everyday lives. I also was very annoyed with Jack, Nora’s son. I found him irritating and could have easily done without him.
By: Toby Devens