Monday, August 27, 2012

Barefoot (Elin Hilderbrand)

I picked up Elin Hilderbrand’s Barefoot because I loved her other books so much.  Her latest, Summerland, is outstanding, and I also greatly enjoyed last year’s Silver Girl.  In Silver Girl especially, she had the Jodi Picoult-like knack of making the reader feel for unsympathetic characters.  I read The Beach Club in the last few weeks, which was a nice, breezy summer read.  Barefoot, while not my favorite by-far, still manages to tell a good story.

As is usually the case with Hilderbrand’s books, the setting is Nantucket.  Three women come here to “escape” their problems.  Vicki, diagnosed with lung cancer, brings her two young boys and leaves her husband at home.  Brenda, Vicki’s sister, is just recently fired from her job as a professor due to a liason with one of her students and an accidental case of vandalism.  Melanie, Vicki’s friend, is hurting over her husband’s affair and finds out that she is finally pregnant at the same time.  When these women make their entrance at the Nantucket airport, a worker, Josh, notices that they seem very unhappy.  As Josh finds himself intertwining with their lives, he must make some hard decisions.

Some reviews of Barefoot have been negative because some feel that the characters are unsympathetic.  While this works in Silver Girl, it does not really work here.  While I loved reading Vicki’s story and was anxious to know what would happen to her, I could not find myself wanting to read about Melanie, Josh, or especially Brenda.  However, as is always the case with Hilderbrand, she is a wonderful storyteller, and any book written by her is worth your time.