Barefoot Season

Barefoot Season - Susan Mallery Barefoot Season (Blackberry Island) by Susan Mallery

Normally Ms Mallery writes romance. I’ve read many things by her and liked them but was never really blown away by them; at least until today when I finished this novel. While the main characters may end up with their ‘happily ever after’ like any other romance, the road to the HEA is not what a romance reader is used to. Actually, I think it is selling this book short to classify it as a ‘romance’. It is so much more and so much better than a traditional romance and I will be recommending this book to anyone and everyone! Based on the premise of this novel I think it will appeal to both men and women who appreciate a finely told story.

Michelle is finally coming home after 10 years serving in the army. Wounded and shaken, she is coming back to claim her inheritance, an inn that had been left to her by her father. She is also coming back to some very unpleasant surprises; ones that in her fragile condition she may not be able to handle.
Carly, once Michelle’s best friend and now an enemy of sorts, has always thought that part of the inn was going to be hers. After all, she has worked there for ten years and Brenda, Michelle’s mother, who was running the inn, promised her a percentage of it supposedly in lieu of a larger salary.
Now they find out the inn is in horrible financial trouble and must work together if they want to save it.

Really, what this story is all about is so many different things. It is complex and filled with irony. Small town gossip that will never die is just the tip of the iceberg. Michelle has PTSD and is not coping with it very well. Mostly she is using alcohol to help. Everyone knows she needs help but of course, Michelle is resistant. This was very powerful stuff. The tumble, however briefly into the abyss made me look at the female part of our service people in a whole new way. This book really grabbed me by the throat and would not let me go until I finished it. Ms Mallery did some very fine research (see the acknowledgments) and it shows.

This is a highly recommended book and I think you will enjoy not only what it has to say to us about letting go of the past, but the humor that underlies the horror of what Michelle has gone through and will continue to go through. That bit of humor made this an easy book to get lost in.