Posted in Contemporary

Denise Hunter’s Barefoot Summer


In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.

To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.

Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.

Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.

But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?


I find Ms. Hunter to be a fabulous storyteller with loads and loads of romance. However, it is inevitable in her novels that someone will have a big secret. Therefore, the issue for me comes down to how they handle “the secret.” I’ll get back to that. My favorite person in this book was hands down Beckett. I found him to be complex and fascinating and everytime he was on the pages I paid attention. Though I will say, I felt he made life harder than it needed to be at moments. And frankly, I didn’t like Madison so much. She seemed particularly angry all the time. For the first half of the book, I almost flinched each time she insulted Beckett. Though, she had a reason (no, she was not a meanie on purpose), to me there was clearly miscommunication going on and I felt like she chose to blame as opposed to finding out what really happened. And then “the secret” was revealed and she handled it…badly. Now let me just say that Ms. Hunter is a wonderful writer, the novel pulled me in. I just found that I wasn’t a fan of Madison. Spiritually, I love how the novel shows the importance of giving your burdens to the Lord. Only he can give you peace, particularly in bad situations. I also love how the book showed how God can transform a life from something bad into something great. Though this novel was not a favorite, it was still a page-turner for me.

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