Feature book: Barefoot Season
Michelle Sanderson returns home after ten years of military service, injured and suffering from PTSD. She soon finds that everything has changed at her home, a family-owned inn. Her estranged mother has died from cancer and her former best friend, who became her mother’s ‘daughter of her heart’ is now running the inn, which Michelle had inherited on her mother’s death.
Michelle wastes no time in firing Carly but is soon forced to withdraw the sacking when she learns the bank is poised to foreclose on the inn due to outstanding mortgages her mother took out. Michelle and Carly must stay at the inn and work together for two years to meet the bank’s requirements so they reach a very uneasy truce and look for ways to save the business. Michelle is still attending regular physical therapy sessions but is still turning to the bottle to help her cope. Carly has a child, Gaby, and with one bad marriage behind her she sees the inn as her security.
Slowly both Michelle and Carly learn about each other as they attempt to save the inn and get both of their lives back on track. Old wounds are re-opened and the fallout from these has the potential to cause more harm. Adding in an old high school villain working to see them fail it seems all is lost. When Michelle is forced to confront the fact that the one person she trusted most is stealing from the business, she has a breakdown and loses herself in the bottle. It takes the care of her landlord and his gift of a traumatised rescue dog to bring her back from the brink.
Carly pushes ahead on auto pilot until she has an encounter with the villain from the bank and she sees through her. With renewed confidence in herself, Carly begins to make plans for herself as well as the inn, plans that include seeing more of Michelle’s ex-husband. When Michelle returns to the inn they are almost back on track but then the reason for their initial split appears.
Carly and Michelle begin their story as the ultimate odd couple with so much baggage between them that they seem to be a lost cause. Throughout the book they take one step forward and two back until they reach the edge of the cliff and they have to make the decision if a leap of faith will bring them what they desire. An array of unique secondary characters allow the leads to fully explore their issues and add colour to the story. The story is a little slow to start but once it gets going it will keep you turning the pages.
reviewed by Tracey T
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All ARRA members who leave a comment will go in the draw to win the book. The giveaway closes 7 November 2012.