"Barefoot Season" [Blackberry Island Series, Book 1] by Susan Mallery
My Book Summary : Michelle and Carly use to be best friends. That is up until their senior year of high school when a BIG secret came between them. However, the secret made them go from best friends to okay acquaintances, so what made them bitter enemies was when Carly's fiancé decided to sleep with Michelle two days before their wedding day!
Now its ten years later and things have really changed ....
Michelle just retired from the army (for which she has been enlisted into for the past ten years) and moves back to her hometown of Blackberry Island with plans of picking back up on her civilian life easily and running her families inn. If only, she didn't have to deal with her hip injury that she receive in Afghanistan not long before she got out of the army. The one thing she never expected was to see so many terrible changes to her inn or to see Carly not only working at the inn as the manager but also living in the owner's suite! Nevertheless, it seems that the troubles keep coming once they begin since not long after Michelle checks the inn's finances she is informed by the bank that her mother overindulged greatly while leaving the inn into an almost foreclosure setup. Therefore, even though Michelle would greatly enjoy in firing Carly from the inn for the sake of the inn she keeps Carly on board in hopes they can turn it around. Will they be able to save the inn before it's too late?
For Carly, the years that Michelle has been away haven't been the greatest. Now she's a single mother and she worked at the inn with the belief that she was one day going to be made a partner only to find out, when Michelle returns, that Michelle's mother (who said she would become a partner) lied to her. She would love to leave, but she doesn't have enough saved up for her daughter and her to go anywhere good. Plus, she LOVES the inn, which has been hers to improve over the years, and she doesn't want to give it up if she doesn't have too. So, once Michelle and her agreement is made they do what they can to salvage the inn while dealing with their own feelings for each other and their turbulent past. Will they be able to become best friends again or will they both be too stubborn to let past mistakes go?
My Book Review : 4.5 out of 5 stars, this is an emotional, compelling, and entertaining novel about two women who learn to deal with their past mistakes while trying to accept their current realities and overcome their adversity with each other to become best friends again. I truly got wrapped up in this novel with its multiple twists and intriguing storylines. It made me wish that Book 2 of this series was already written so I could start reading it now! The characters were fabulous!!
About the Characters:
• Michelle: Army vet and owner of her family's inn. Tough. Has PTSD but doesn't want to go to any support group for it. She's Jared's roommate.
• Carly: Manager of the inn. Very girly. Is scared of water--swimming or getting to close to it--even though she lives on an island. She's Gabby's mother.
• Gabby: She's 10-years-old and gets along with almost everyone and everything. She's Carly's daughter.
• Damaris: The cook at the inn. Has worked at the inn and known Michelle since she was 16-years-old. Is more of a mother figure to Michelle than Michelle's own mom is to her.
• Jared: Rents out a room in his house to Michelle. Use to be a sniper but now he owns his own boat tour company on the island.
• Sam: Michelle's ex but now her full-time friend. He's interested in dating Carly.
• Ellen: Works at the bank and is in charge of making sure Michelle pays her mortgage on time. She wants revenge on Carly for something Carly did to her in high school.
I'm very curious to see where this series will be going especially in comparison with Miss Mallery's Fools Gold Series. I say that since this novel isn't written in the same way as the Fools Gold Series (meaning it's more about the female characters--Michelle and Carly--instead of any romantic entanglements they might get into) making me wonder if Michelle and Carly's story will be continuing in the next book (and if they'll still be the main characters) or if it'll be someone else on Blackberry Island. I can't wait to find out!
I recommend this novel and series to anyone who's a fan of Susan Mallery or to whoever enjoys dramatic novels that have great female leads that has some romance included.
My Previous Review(s) for this Author : Tempting | Accidentally Yours | Falling For Gracie | Chasing Perfect | Having Her Boss's Baby | Only Mine | Only Yours | Only His | Only Us: A Fool’s Gold Holiday
Author's Series Extras : Blackberry Recipes | About Blackberry Island
Author's Book Trailer :
Book Teaser(s) :
"You don't know how I feel."
"I know you've never once even tried to kiss me. While you are quite the gentleman, at some point, shouldn't passion have taken over?"
He twisted the shop rag he had in his hands. "I wanted to give you time."
Some of the tension seemed to fade away and he sighed. "Okay, yeah. That's a long time. For a while I thought we'd, you know, go that way, but then it never happened."
"For a reason. I think we're great friends. I want that. I want you around. But go on a date. Get laid. It's time."
The corner of his mouth turned up. "Interesting advice coming from you."
"The virgin slut? Yes, I know." ~ within Chapter 13
"It was me."For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Susan, then please check out her website. To find out more about the town of Blackberry Island then click here.
"I'd wondered who'd massacred the garden."
"I was pissed and I hate the daisies."
"They can be annoying."
Michelle sighed. "This is where you tell me I'm crazy."
"You're not. Is that disappointing to hear?"
Michelle considered the question. "I can't decide." ~ within Chapter 24
While researching the book, Susan Mallery was incredibly moved by the bravery, heroism, and strong sense of service displayed by the veterans and active duty troops she interviewed. Here are links to three organizations where you can say thank you!