This author sure knows how to pack emotion, tender moments, and passion within the pages of each book she writes. I loved this book. It was compelling and interesting. I appreciated how there were so many lessons about secrets, forgiveness, and knowing God in a personal way inserted into the story line. I also loved how the author showed that a relationship with the living Savior does change the way someone lives their life and eventually people who long for similar peace will seek the same relationship.
The romance was delectable. I adored the hero. He was very heroic and delightful. The way he sacrificed his time to help Madison was admirable. I loved how he taught her to swim so she wouldn't be so afraid to be on the water. The tension was tastefully written, but palpable and intense at the same time. There was true love going on within the pages of this book. It flowed smoothly and naturally and I had a hard time putting it down once I got wrapped up in the story.
Come and get lost in Denise Hunter's new book. You'll experience the love of family, and the loss of one parents. Some aren't as fortunate to grown up in a close caring family, like the main character here, Beckett O'Reilly..his Mom left when he was young, and his Dad turned to drink. He did have a calming influence in his life with his Grandfather. Don't think he would have made it without him and his finding God through him.
Then there is the opposite side of the spectrum in Madison McKinley, her parents and siblings all rally around her. She does have her demons, she lost her twin, her brother at age 17, and has recurring nightmares about his death, which happened ten years ago.
Madison has decided the one way to stop those nightmare is to win the town's annual regatta. This plan puts both Beckett and Madison on the same path. They seem like they don't like each other. Beckett, because of his up bringing has very low self-esteem, and Madison feels she is unlovable with all of her heartache.
Will Madison be able to conquer her demon and begin to trust God? Will Beckett find peace and his own self-worth?
Follow this town and families on their journey to find peace and salvation.
I received this book through Litfuse Blogger Book Program, and was not required to give a positive review.
Denise is a master of creating characters and stories that I enjoy. Hers are always romance focused, and I am swept into a world where you know the hero and heroine can get together even though you know they should. This is also a story laced with the thread of regret over the past and forgiveness. You can't move into the future without confronting your past and extending forgiveness to yourself and others. This is a perfect summer read. I can't wait to return to southern Indiana in a future book!
If you're looking for a book that will sweep you off your feet this summer, Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter is the perfect choice! The plot intrigued me before I ever began reading the book. It just seemed like a unique mix of "issues" and challenges for two people to overcome. As I began reading, though, it sucked me in and I did NOT want to stop reading!!
Beckett was a little ... dreamy, shall we say? Sure, he's got this "bad boy" persona left over from high school, but he's misunderstood by a lot of people. When he offers to help Madison, I just knew I was in for a treat. I think it was about the time he began teaching her to swimâ€”and so patiently!â€”that I knew we had a real "hero" on our hands!
Madison was an interesting character. I liked her right off the bat and really felt sorry for her at times. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a sibling, much less a twin. She's tried to move past it, but hasn't really been able to overcome her grief. At times she grated on my nerves because she was so judgmental and a little harsh. But there were other moments when I really connected with her. As I kept reading, I realized that the author really did write Madison well ... even when I was annoyed with her, there were reasons for her behavior/attitudes, and I ended up really liking her.
As you might be able to tell, the characters really drive this book. They made the story for me! The romance was perfect. Plus, there's a great family dynamic that I'm hoping we get to see more of in the rest of the series.
By the end, Barefoot Summer had me itching for a lazy day at the lake (or on the river), which makes this the perfect book for summer! [5 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.
"Life is filled with difficulties. This isn't heaven. We have these big mountains, set right in front of us, and we have no choice but to climb.
Her mom looked down, took a long moment, then squeezed Madison's hand. "When you were a little girl, you didn't like going barefoot, you remember? You had such tender feet."
"The grass tickled, and the sticks and rocks hurt."
"Even that time we went to Lake Michigan, you wore your sandals on the beach except when you were on your towel."
"The sand was hot."
"You remember Michael though?" Mom laughed. "Mercy, I couldn't keep that boy in shoes. It was all I could do to make him keep them on at church. I'd come into the nursery and there his socks would be, all balled up in the corner, and him running around barefoot."
Madison smiled at the remembrance. "We were different as day and night."
"But still so close." Mom tucked Madison's hair behind her ear and looked at her knowingly. "Sometimes we have to find the courage to take off our shoes and feel it all. Even the bad stuff."
"Sometimes those negative feelings are so strong, they're overwhelming, and it's easier to just not deal with them. But they always come out one way or another. You've always been afraid of feeling, Madison. But death is part of life. Not my favorite part, not by a long shot. But God does not owe us ninety years on this earth. Life is a gift, however long it lasts. It's God's to give and take away as He sees fit. We go through life thinking we're entitled to our ninety, but we're not entitled to anything. All we can do is trust that He knows what He's doing. That He has a plan for all of us, and that no pain He allows in our life will go unused. I supposed realizing that has given me a measure of peace." (pg 235-236).
In the latest novel from best selling author Denise Hunter, Barefoot Summer, takes the reader in the life of Madison McKinley who lost her twin brother ten years ago when he drowned. Now plagued by unrelenting nightmares, Madison feels that the only way she'll find peace is to fulfill her brother Michael's dream to be the youngest winner at the town's annual regatta. But to do that, she'll have to conquer her fear of water and her fear of Beckett O'Reilly, who's the only one who can teach her to sail.
But Beckett O'Reilly has his own secrets he's been carrying around for years. One that started at a high school dance and has impacted the lives of the McKinley's to this day. If only he can find a way to dig deep inside and tell Madison what she needs to gain perspective in her life, but these days all she is doing is harboring a deep grudge inside against God for taking her brother away from her. If only he could find a way to help her find God and allow Him to heal the broken pieces in her life.
I received Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. Too often our fears of failure will hold us back from what potential God has planned in our lives. Too many times, we'd rather run and hide than face things head on. I love how Denise Hunter incorporates that into the first book in her Chapel Springs Romance series. It seems that despite all outward appearances in both Madison and Beckett, there lies deeper secrets that they both will have to come to terms and deal with. But are Beckett and Madison the only ones who are keeping secrets? You'll have to pick this novel up to find out! A perfect summer read and one that offers a powerful message between the cover. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and even includes a discussion guide that is perfect for book clubs.